The turnout for Jesus’ “evangelistic campaign” was impressive. But Luke informs us that Jesus didn’t follow-through with an invitation. Instead, the paragraphs we look at today record His in-your-face “disinvitation”!
Jesus sensed a superficiality about the enthusiastic crowds. So He urged them to turn back if they weren’t prepared to go deeper. This is sobering stuff for believers of our generation as our culture shifts from tacit support of Christian values to barely concealed hostility.
Interact with God’s Word
- Why do you think Jesus’ popular following made him uneasy?
- Why is enthusiasm alone inadequate to support long-term discipleship?
- How would Jesus’ hearers have understood carrying their own cross?
- Have you seen a disciple who began well throw in the towel? What happened?
- What costs should a Christian be prepared to pay?
- Do Jesus’ demands strike you as extreme? As unreasonable?
- What would make a believer—like leached-out salt—blend in and lose his distinctive flavor?
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God for strength to move beyond a surface comfort with your Christian sub-culture to a rock-solid commitment to Christ that will hold up under attack.
25 Great crowds were following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me.
28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if there is enough money to pay the bills? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of funds. And then how everyone would laugh at you!
30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and ran out of money before it was finished!’
31 “Or what king would ever dream of going to war without first sitting down with his counselors and discussing whether his army of ten thousand is strong enough to defeat the twenty thousand soldiers who are marching against him? 32 If he is not able, then while the enemy is still far away, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace. 33 So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.
34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for fertilizer. It is thrown away. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!”