The Cost of Discipleship-Luke Fourteen
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
---- LUKE FOURTEEN
Gathering around the table to eat often brings good fellowship and it also builds good memories. Most of us have many pleasant recollections of good times around a table at Thanksgiving or Christmas time. The events of Luke 14 begin around a meal table. "Jesus went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day." Sadly this time around a meal table was a most unpleasant occasion. It was not a time of friendly conversation and laughter. It was a time of treachery as the self-seeking Pharisees tried to trap Jesus. Jesus silenced these men by asking, "Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?" Jesus revealed that these men were really hypocritical in their thoughts and actions. They were not keeping the Sabbath in the way they wanted others to keep it. He also rebuked the people at the table because they tried to get the chief seats at the table. He taught them that a person is exalted by humbling himself. Jesus also had a message for the host. He had only invited those who might repay him. Jesus said he would be rewarded by God when he invited those who could not give anything in return. In that group would be the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. One present at the meal said, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." It was very disturbing to these Jews when Jesus told a parable that they had been invited to God's table but they made excuses and did not come. Then He said that "none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." Luke 14 closed with a brief discussion about the cost of discipleship. Your allegiance to God must be complete; your allegiance must be total; your allegiance must be constant. You must give up everything you have to follow Jesus. Count the cost before you begin the journey.
Healing of a man on the Sabbath -- Luke 14:1-6: Jesus accepted an invitation from a leader of the Pharisees to have a meal at his house. The meal was on the Sabbath day. Jesus came under careful scrutiny as they watched to see what He would say and do. They desired to find some fault with Him. A certain man came before Jesus who had the dropsy. Dropsy is swelling in the arms and legs cause by heart trouble. The problem was very apparent to all. Jesus asked the Pharisees, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" These were legal experts of the Law of Moses but they did not say a word. They did not answer Jesus’ question as to whether it was allowable to heal on the Sabbath or not. They simply said nothing. Jesus took hold of the man, healed him and sent him away. He knew the Pharisees did not consider it lawful to heal on the Sabbath Day. He asked those religious leaders, "Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?" His question silenced them and left them with nothing that they could say in rebuttal.
The parable of the Wedding Feast -- Luke 14:7-14: Jesus observed how those who were bidden were interested in the chief seats. He put forth the parable of the wedding feast to again teach them the principles that had been taught in Proverbs 25:6-7. Solomon wrote, "Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen." Jesus said, "When you are invited to a wedding feast, don't sit in the best place. Someone more important may have been invited. Then the one who invited you will come and say, "Give your place to this other guest!" You will be embarrassed and will have to sit in the worst place. When you are invited to be a guest, go and sit in the worst place. Then the one who invited you may come and say, "My friend, take a better seat!" You will then be honored in front of all the other guests. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored." Jesus not only had a word for those attending the feast but those who gave the feast. He told them that they should not just invite their rich neighbors and others who could repay them. He instructed them to invite the poor or infirmed who could not repay them. He gave them the promise that if they did this "God will bless you and reward you when His people rise from death."
The parable of the Great Supper -- Luke 14:15-24: Jesus mentioned "the resurrection of the just." This prompted one who was present at the meal to say, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." Jesus gave the parable of the great supper in response to his statement. Jesus said, "When the supper was ready, he sent a servant to tell the guests, "Everything is ready! Please come." One person after another declined the invitation, offering feeble excuses. One had bought a field, another had bought some oxen and another was just married. The servant told his master what happened. The master became so angry that he said, "To his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind." After this there was still room. The master said, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." The promise of the kingdom had been given to the Jews but they had made excuses and rejected it. In John 1:11-12 we read, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." The parable indicated that failure to respond to the Lord Jesus leads to eternal loss.
The cost of Discipleship -- Luke 14:25-35: Large crowds often accompanied Jesus as He traveled about. Jesus taught the cost of discipleship saying, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Choosing to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ required greater love for Him than for any family members. Jesus said, "You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life." Jesus' disciples must even be willing to face death for His cause. The cost of discipleship could be stressed no stronger than when Jesus said, "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:27) Choosing to become a disciple of God's Son demanded counting the cost. A man who was building a tower would calculate the expenses less he not be able to finish the work and thus make himself look foolish. A king going into battle would decide if he should fight or if he should seek terms of peace. Jesus summed up the cost of discipleship saying, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Jesus' disciples must be a force good. He used salt to illustrate that point. Luke 14 closed with the great statement, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Jesus taught with authority about His kingdom. Do you believe in Him? You can enjoy redemption through the blood of the Lamb and also forgiveness and hope in the kingdom of God that was preached by Jesus. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (John 6:44-45), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:36) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) Obey God then teach others about Jesus before it is too late both for you and for them. (Acts 2:36-41)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA