Journal Luke 14 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: Now great crowds accompanied (Jesus) and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost (whether or not he has enough to complete it)? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him saying: ‘this man began to build and not able to finish.’
Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down and deliberate whether he is able with 10,000 to meet him who comes against him with 20,000? And, if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
So, therefore: Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-33
Observation: Self-examination and evaluation against a standard. What a difficult issue to tackle. This may be the fertile ground to erect idols upon…just like Adam did.
Application: I perk up when I encounter the word “therefore.”
When I see it my reflex is to analyze what it is there for. Using the word therefore is like summarizing the statements previous in the text.
Sometimes the previous texts don’t quite make sense—like the sentences previous are referring to other passages, other principles, other non-related stories. But, instead of bemoaning that “the scriptures isn’t clear; I wouldn’t have written them this way…” it is our privilege to dig into the Word and dig the meanings, direction, and references out. Note: be aware that the Holy Spirit may not reveal or unfold things immediately. Sometimes other precepts, principles, and doctrine have to be in place as a foundation. Refer to Deut 29:29 for how the Trinity handles “secrets.”
The key in this section of scripture (Luke 14) is evident: “How can I be a disciple?”
The “therefore” tells me following Jesus and becoming a disciple
- Has to be more important than family;
- Has to bear a cross;
- Has to self-evaluate and count the cost;
- Has to see if the battle is worth it to engage in.
I can only think in a hushed voice: “Who then can be saved?” Why do I think that? Because each of these four points I can be in internal conflict with at many times during my life—scratch that: many times during the day. Who, then, can be saved? Or am I fooling myself and stomping around in self-righteous, self-justified, Pharisee-shoes? What confession and repentance is adequate to handle this?
This is where the Gospel comes into play. The good news of the Gospel is that everyone has sinned (in Sin) and everyone falls absolutely short of the Holiness of God. Having a clear-eyed grip on what I deserve (my un-holiness vs. His Holiness) keeps it real—I deserve God’s Wrath.
Then acknowledging that the Son accepted, welcomed, endured God’s entire Wrath—meant for me—clears my head in a dumbfounded sort of way. I should be stricken with tears and mouth shut in terror and awestruck joy (a dichotomy only found in the Bible I would bet). Candidly I am not. With shame I confess that I usually am numb to thinking and reacting this way due to the cares of the World. Phooey.
But while I in faith acknowledge what He has done for me without one single iota of anything I could possibly contribute, being responsible I respond. I press into the stuff Jesus calls me to. When I fall down I get back up and try again—knowing that I am being powered by the Holy Spirit.
Pursuit. Persevering to the End. Persistence in chasing Jesus: these and other descriptors are there to describe disciples. Take advantage of the gifts of Grace that God has given in His Word and in the local church. The End of all things is at hand…
Prayer: Father, thank You for loving me, caring for me—even when my warts are on full display. I don’t want to be a Pharisee—keep me from this attitude and keep me on the narrow road of righteousness. Help me avoid temptation. Make the Gospel hammered in my mind. AMEN.