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Luke 14 25-33

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Luke 14: 25-33

16th Sunday after Pentecost

“Parable of the Cost”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The text for today’s meditation is taken from the Gospel of Luke, the 14th chapter starting at the 25 vs., and reads as follows: NKJ Luke 14:25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it --  29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. 34 " Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 "It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

Intro.: How much does it cost?  It is a familiar question we have all asked at some time in our lives.  Whether it’s a product or a service we want, in the grocery store, at the car dealer, a new business deal or a new home, the bottom line is that we need to know the cost.  After we discover the price we check our pockets and consider our resources and ask ourselves an even more important question: “ Can I afford it”.  “Can I afford it”

            Jesus Spoke these words, recorded in Luke, to a large crowd of people, many of whom where on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration (this was the holiday they celebrated to remember when the Jewish people were released from their slavery to Pharaoh and Egypt).  The people didn’t know that Jesus was making his final journey to Jerusalem, a journey that would take him to the cross.  Many of the people following him heard and liked what he taught.  They saw the love he had for all people, especially the weak and poor, and the outcasts and sinners.  Jesus accepted them and more importantly he offered them forgiveness.  It is these people that Jesus directs to count the cost of following him …the real cost of discipleship.  

I.      The Cost.

Jesus, in these words, talks about the cost of following Him.  Jesus lays it out for us.  The price tag is clear.  He pulls no punches. 

Read V.26 (silence)

Read V.27 (silence)

Read V.33 (silence)

II.   Does he really mean what he says?

We might say, wow!  Jesus, are you kidding?  What do you mean by these words and who can pay such a high price?  How can I hate my father and mother and family?  After all, didn’t you tell me in the fourth commandment that I should honor my father and my mother?  How can I hate myself, when you have taught me that I should love other people as I love myself?  Do you really expect me to bear a cross?  People have been known to die.  And finally, do you really expect me to give up everything I have?  Should I become a monk and swear a vow of poverty?  These words of Jesus are harsh and they are complex. 

Indeed he does expect his followers, his disciples, us, to hate and love their families and their own lives.  He expects them to bear a cross, to die, and rise again.  Even if his followers should be blessed with material wealth, he expects them to be poor.  

III.  Who can pay?

A)   We are not able to pay -  Jesus makes us uncomfortable with his words.  They demand something from us.  They are the words of law.  Who can pay the cost he asks?  Our first instinct might be to minimize the impact of his words.  We might say, “He didn’t mean hate.  He meant dislike”.  We would be wrong in doing this.   We might attempt to do as we are told: reject our families, our lives, bear our cross, live in poverty for Jesus sake.  As we feel the weight of his words upon our shoulders, we may feel that we are being crushed with impossible tasks.  When we can bear the load no longer, this is where we find the Gospel (the Good News).  We look to Jesus for help.  It is only when we concentrate on Jesus that our burden becomes light. 

B)   The parable of the cost -  As Jesus speaks about the cost of discipleship, he tells two parables.  One is about a man building a tower and the other is about a king fighting a war.  The first parable is about how foolish it is for a man who doesn’t figure out how much it will cost to build a tower.  Jesus doesn’t want us to see if we have enough to finish the job of building a tower.  He want us to see that we are bankrupt and totally unable to build or even lay a foundation.  To build such a tower we need to look to Jesus.  Jesus talks about himself as the cornerstone of the temple.  The foundation of our tower of faith in Christ on which God builds.  Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower.  The righteous run to it and are safe.”  What is the name of the Lord?  Jesus.  Jesus is our tower and he is our foundation.

Jesus’ second parable tells us about a king that has to count the cost of going to war.  He must decide whether he can win or not.  Obviously a king with ten-thousand men can not beat the king with twenty-thousand men.  This parable reminds me of  an Old Testament king named Hezekiah.  He was a godly king who ruled in Jerusalem. One day he was faced with a terrible situation.  A great king named Sennacherib from the Assyrian nation had conquered all the nations and cities around Jerusalem.  Sennacherib sent men to Hezekiah ordering him to surrender.  He mocked Hezekiahs God.  Our God.  And he said that God had no power to save Hezekiah.  Hezekiah didn’t go out to battle and he didn’t surrender.  He went into the temple to pray and he directed his people to pray.  He looked to God and God heard his prayer.  That night God sent his angel to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 (men).  Sennacherib retreated. In this parable about the king, Jesus is making sure that we know who is paying the cost of discipleship.

III. The price had been paid

A)   Jesus paid the price.  Jesus’ words give us reassurance.  He didn’t just pay the price for our eternal salvation.  He paid the price for our lives right now.  He purchased us with his own blood.  Rev 5:9 says “ with your blood you purchased men for God.”  He lived and died and rose from the grave so that we might be his disciples.  We in no way could pay this price.  But Jesus wants it to be clear to us.  Our life of discipleship was not cheap.  It was bought with the precious blood of God.

B)   Through Jesus we can bear the cost.  When we look to him we fulfill all the costs of discipleship.  When we count the cost of what he has done for us and look to him for our salvation we leave mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters behind.  We don’t give regard to our own lives.  Instead we see the life that Jesus purchased for us.  Looking to Jesus, we leave all our worlds possessions behind.  Jesus becomes everything that is important to us.  And in Jesus we have born the cross.  With him we have been crucified, died and buried.  In him we rise to eternal life.  The cost of discipleship is not ours.  The real cost has been paid by Jesus Christ.          

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