March 28, 2011

Monday Mini-Sermon

What does it cost to follow Jesus? 
Luke 14 focuses on a disciple’s need for singleness of purpose. Early in the chapter (verses 1-24), Jesus is teaching mostly during meals, a common setting for exploring the nature of his mission. In a parable about a banquet, Jesus showed the risks of competing allegiances. Now Jesus turns his attention toward his followers, stressing the cost of discipleship. Jesus offers an invitation to everyone, but each person must consider what it takes to be a follower. What does discipleship require? Being a follower of Jesus means giving all, getting past competing demands of family approval (14:26), the ties to possessions (14:33), and even risking life itself.

Would-be disciples may feel torn because of other concerns. Jesus is advising followers to consider carefully or they may end up never completing what they started. The cost may be too high. The examples show the need to think ahead to avoid the humiliation of making big decisions on impulse.

Disciples who can’t follow through are like salt that has lost its taste; it ends up being worthless (verses 34-35). In the first century, the sodium might leach out of impure forms of salt, making it flat or stale, thus useless as a seasoning. Uncommitted disciples have lost their essence. Jesus’ conclusion reemphasizes the demanding nature of what it means to be his follower. “Let anyone with ears to hear, listen!”

- Michael McKeever, Excerpted from a Gather 'Round Bible insight for teachers