Today, we dive into Luke 14-16. Jesus illustrates and explains in so many ways how important His believers are to Him. And He goes on to remind us that it is not the most independently righteous He tends to the most. He has a very special place in His heart for the humble servants, the grateful givers, the lost, the least, the last, the sinful... all of us, who even though we mess up, turn to Him for the forgiveness and love we truly need in our lives.
The scripture that catches my attention today comes up when Jesus talks to His disciples about the "cost" of following Him. Yes, Jesus is talking to Peter, Andrew, James of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Thadaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. He is also talking to us who believe. What He says is, at first glance, shocking. He is very blunt.
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple...
33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
For sure, this is one of those Bible scriptures that cannot be read literally. We have to think like Jesus, who purposefully and effectively talks in parables and answers with symbolism. We know Jesus is not telling His followers to hate their families and never see them again. That just would not make any sense. Jesus is all about loving our families and our neighbors, and we can validate that over and over again throughout the Bible.
I found a great explanation on these verses from a blog called Tough Text Tuesday by Pastor Mark Driscoll. Basically, I think Jesus wants us to know what we are getting into when we choose to follow Him. It is not without cost, and we should consider the cost so we make an informed decision. It requires us to let go of life as WE KNOW IT. Following Jesus changes us, and it changes our relationships. Jesus wants to be our number one priority in this life. I think the language is strong here because Jesus wants to stress the importance of our relationship with Him once we accept Him as our Lord and Savior.
Taking up the cross is a heavy responsibility AND full of blessings.
What do you think that means for your life? Can you relate? What are your thoughts on this scripture?
A prayer for today-
Thank you for my relationship with You. Thank you for always being there, for listening, guiding, and encouraging me. Help me grow closer to You. Show me how to let go of the things that keep me from Your perfect will for my life. You are my Rock and my Redeemer.
In Jesus' name I pray,
Love of Christ,