Tue Jun 27-The Complexity of Following Jesus

Luke 14:25-35 (CEB)

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said, 26 “Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever doesn’t carry their own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 “If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the cost, to determine whether you have enough money to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when you have laid the foundation but couldn’t finish the tower, all who see it will begin to belittle you. 30 They will say, ‘Here’s the person who began construction and couldn’t complete it!’ 31 Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand soldiers could go up against the twenty thousand coming against him? 32 And if he didn’t think he could win, he would send a representative to discuss terms of peace while his enemy was still a long way off. 33 In the same way, none of you who are unwilling to give up all of your possessions can be my disciple.

34 “Salt is good. But if salt loses its flavor, how will it become salty again? 35 It has no value, neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. People throw it away. Whoever has ears to hear should pay attention.”


Luke separates the scripture above from the previous section with a change of scene, but important connections remain. The parable of the great feast in the first half of chapter 14 raised the possibility that one’s possessions and family network could keep one from joining the feast. In this scripture section, both are listed as impediments to authentic discipleship. Radial allegiance appears to be necessary.

The scripture you are reading probably reminds you of the scripture you heard discussed this past Sunday in Pastor Joe’s message from Matthew 10:24-39. Both scriptures have the capacity to challenge and disturb us.

Biblical Interpretation is a great skill, especially when we encounter a scripture that is challenging or uncomfortable. We can shed light and get new understanding by remembering the following: (1) the text arises from a specific social & historical setting, (2) the reader likewise reads from their own setting & experience, and (3) additional related scriptures may help support and expand our understanding.

Here are some things to consider when you read and ponder this scripture:

  • Does it seem surprising that here “hating” is what qualifies one to be a disciple?
  • Did you notice that the six types of people named (father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters) cover almost every family relationship?
  • The word “Disciple” is a common word – but are there differences in the ways that people use it?
  • Is a Disciple a member of a new community, a new way of understanding our identity, or something else?
  • If one’s identity is tied to the community, how hard would it be to identify as part of the community if you already feel deeply connected elsewhere?
  • Both analogies presented in verses 28-32 are negative consequences of committing without thinking through all the implications of the commitment. For us, a parallel might be the press of time and other responsibilities that distract us.
  • Looking back at the first part of chapter 14, can you imagine the dramatic inclusiveness pf verses 16-24 offending those unable to give up old ways of thinking? 
  • Would poor people or the rich and powerful be more likely to surrender all that they have?

After I took the time to ask myself the questions and ask the Holy Spirit to open my heart and mind I set it aside. Later I started thinking about how the scripture could be interpreted and realized I was feeling more at peace and less threatened. 

The Christian experience is about being in relationship with God, falling in love with the Lord Jesus Christ. Discipleship is a love relationship, and Jesus is saying that our love for Him must be so great that by comparison any love for anybody else would appear to be hate. Paul wrote that “in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). The First Letter of John says, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

by Clarence Beverage

For Pondering & Prayer

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for placing such a challenging scripture before us. Readings like this can be uncomfortable but You promise that when we seek to understand, growth will occur and we will come ever closer to You.. Amen.

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