- Name, Lk 14:25-35 // PRAY
- Main points are also my outline – As disciples of Christ we must - 1. Count the cost, and 2. Know the cost
- As a result of exegting this Parable it is my hope and my prayer that we would all allow the implications of this parable to inform not only the way we live, but also what we preach for the rest of our lives – that none of us here would ever “soften” Jesus’ message as He DEMANDS it
- That we never allow ourselves to dumb down the power and the call of the cross – and its implications for our lives and for the lives of all those God entrusts us to minister to and with
- SET stage – Jesus is on way to Jer – leads to
- Before our current parables JC just finishing addressing Pharisees in the Parable of the Great Banquet – in vv.15-24 – where he exposes their presumptuous attitudes – Just because they are invited to God’s party – doesn’t mean they will actually come – because they haven’t made it a priority – but God longs for His house to be filled and so assures the social outcasts that they are welcome and so they are the ones who actually enter
- Teaching here continues into our current parables, which sees a change of setting and audience in v.25 – where large crowds are following
28"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'
31"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
- As Disciples of Christ we must count the cost
- This is a little odd, because in the last parable – JC says it’s the poor, lame, sick who will enter the kingdom – but now we have these crowds who are most likely poor, lame, and sick following them, but he turns and tells them these parables?
- Does Jesus not want ANYONE to follow Him? First the religious elite wont be let into the kingdom because they haven’t prioritized, then he warns the crowds that they gotta think about it – not very encouraging
- However – the way Jesus starts the parable in v.28 implies that we is about to say applies to everyone – for no one would build a fortified tower without first counting the cost
- Or only a fool would
- Same thing in v.31
- Yet I think the key/one way to understanding this first parable is @ end v.28 – where the builder has to see if he has enough money and presumably resources to build
- But think of the audience again – large crowds –they DON’T have the money nor the supplies – and may I suggest – neither do we!
- We may think that we do – because we were saved at some conference or retreat – said a prayer - we heard the Gospel a million times and we have acquired tools through seminary and church services to be Jesus’ disciples – we are qualified and capable to follow Jesus
- Again - May I suggest – that these things –although good things – are the wrong currency
- Jesus is not looking for a few good capable people, but is looking for anyone who is willing to admit that they don’t have what it takes to be His followers – a true disciple of Christ is one who sits down counts the cost and realizes that they cant do it – they cant follow Jesus the way Jesus wants them to follow – think of the 12 – all a bunch of screw ups and you know what – I AM TOO! Every time they do something stupid – I sympathize with them – and think – man, I woulda done something WAAYYY dumber
- It is with those kinds of people though that Jesus knows are more willing to follow Him because they are willing to admit their need for Jesus
- Which I think is a key difference between Peter and Judas – that in the screw ups one turned to Jesus, and the other turned inward to himself – which ended up destroying him
- – and so Jesus graciously and lovingly warns any would be disciple that things are not going to be easy
- It’s not about how many people follow Jesus – but that they are dependant on Him
- Right here this informs what we are to preach because – we to have to warn would-be disciples – that this journey to Jerusalem is NOT going to be easy
- It is like a parent sending their child into the mission field – they might not come back – are you ready for that – have you counted what that will cost - Emotionally, physically, etc
- Yet, there is another aspect to this parable – the fact that if you start the project and don’t finish – you look plain stupid – which is kind of ironic because no matter what you do you will look like a fool (come back to this in point 2)
- Some commentators believe JC is playing off of Lk 13:4 – where the tower fell and killed 18 ppl –
- The point is – that if you don’t count the cost and you start down the path to Jerusalem – and you spend the money on seminary – and all of a sudden decide it isn’t worth it – you become the town joke vv.29-30
- Disservices to the faith – when pastors get involved with hard communities, difficult and annoying congregations, and say – screw it, its not worth it! And give up…because that WILL happen
- I wish I could go into detail about the pastors I have known who did not ocunt the cost of the stresses of following Jesus fully – lets just say – one is being sued for sexual misconduct, the other left the faith, and the last one has just recently been charged with sexually abusing a minor
- They let the stresses get to them – they thought they had the foundation in place and ready – the tools to finish – all by themselves- but they didn’t and they got themselves into A LOT of trouble
- So I think a good question to ask now is – how do we finish? How do I not only count the cost but finish the building – how do I finish following Jesus?
- This is where the second parable kicks in
- To situate it historically though – some commentators belevie that Jesus is again playing off something that has happened during His ministry – making the parable more potent for His audience
- pointing out when Herod Antipas recently went to war with a nearby Roman Vassal, but lost his entire army–
- Although most commentators don’t site this – if you look up this event in Josephus’ Antiquities 18.5 - you see that this event took place during Jesus ministry and was right at the time herod killed John the Baptist – can you figure out why Herod went to war?
- Well it had to do with the fact that he was already married to the daughter of the king of the nearby Roman Vassal, but wanted Herodias who convinced him to divorce her – he kept it a secret, but his wife found out – so she ran back home to daddy – daddy gets PISSED and goes to war – something Herod was NOT ready for – NOT only that, but Herod had moles in his army who sold him out –so clrealy he didn’t count the cost of getting this divorce and it lead to him losing his entire army - which is just plain embarrassing. He lost his men, over his lust – on top of all that, the war could have been easily avoided if he had worked towards terms of peace – but he didn’t
- Which is eerily similar to the parable –
· Look at v. 31 and notice that this king only has ½ the men compared to the other king – so the other king is much stronger
· Then in v.32 – we see that no matter what the first king decides – the other, stronger king is a coming – and fast approaching, but is still a ways a head – so there is an immanent threat, but there’s still time to do something about it
· So the decision here is not only do you have to count the cost of war – which is exponentially higher than being ridiculed – because now everyting you own is at stake and so are peoples lives as well as your own!
· The main decision in this similar but not identical parable is – can you afford NOT to surrender?
o Put it another way – what Jesus is really saying – “do you feel lucky…well do ya”??
· Whether you like it or not – the stronger king is on his way – what do you do? Because there is a cost no matter WHAT you decide
· Look at v.32b – where the weaker king SHOULD send a delegation for terms of peace -
o This phrase does not mean that there will be a compromise – but it alludes to the fact that the weaker king FULLY surrenders
- it is not a negotiation - but an image of absolute surrender – because the weaker king has nothing to offer if he realizes he cant win!
- So Jesus – how do we become your followers – well count the cost, and surrender because you can’t finish without me
- This reminds me of Jeremiah 27 – not that I think Jesus is alluding to this – but the situation is the same – Israel was to surrender completely to Babylon – but false prophets were proclaiming that Israel would not have to and that all will be alright
- But God says –NO WAY – everything will be given to Nebuchadnezzar by me – so save yourself the trouble and you will be able to stay in the land if you surrender – if you don’t surrender – well – lets just say it wont be pretty
- This is a similar situation isn’t it? If we do not surrender and rely SOLELY on the invading King – we will be destroyed – but if we rely on Him – then we will be assimalted into His reign
- This is NOT easy though – its going to be tough – because what is Jesus calling us to in our surrendering?
- Seond point
- As disciples of Christ we must know (and always remember) the cost
- SO what does it cost Jesus? Look at vv. 26-27, 33-35
26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple…
If you have not asked for terms of peace…33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
34"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
- Very simply – it costs EVERYTHING –
- The idea behind “hating” is more like Mt’s account in Mt 10:37 – the idea is to love less also see Gen 29:31, Ex. 20:3&5; Ro. 9:13
- But Jesus lists off family, ones own life to the point of shaming oneself on a cross – i.e. being ridiculed ANYWAY – and if that wasn’t bad enough then in v. 33 the renouncing EVERYTHING – even if you have very little – give it all up!
- To draw this out – Jesus is saying in renouncing family – a Jewish one
- Renouncing (1) The Jewish family provided status. To be a child of Abraham was a privilege, but it was also being God’s chosen people – which meant salvation
- Being a physical decant meant being included into the kingdom – now Jesus says – forget your family ties! THIS IS HUGE for them
- Lord demands that His disciples must “hate” their family He means that they must give up their dependence upon family, and must depend totally upon Him. To be His disciple is not only to love Him more than anyone or anything else, it is to depend upon Him. Independence of God is at the core of sin, and dependence on Him is at the core of discipleship.
- I think Jesus makes it very clear
- Again – this is a harsh reality – but in the context of Jesus’ life His grace is so very evident in that He has not called us to something that He was not willing to go through Himself
- because he went before us and provided us the path
- Even greater though – is that Jesus has not only paved the way and set the example, but He PAID IT ALL – He did all the work by conquering sin and death –
- But never forget to follow Jesus on His journey – to be His disciple – is to ultimately walk with Him to our deaths
- Jesus warns us out of love – and He is so very gracious in that He has already died and paid the price, but if we are to be “salt” – that is – if we are to be of ANY USE for Kingdom purposes – we must renounce all
- Let’s not miss this – because if we count the cost, but do not depend on Him – then we become useless
- If we do not even count the cost – again – useless
- If we do not surrender EVERYTHING and RENOUNCE all that potentially comes before our devotion to Him – useless
- Brothers – let’s not miss this – because I don’t know about you – but I feel pretty useless as it is sometimes – but Christ has offered all of us the opportunity to be used by Him for His glory – and we should ask ourselves daily – “is it worth it”? Can I afford not to join myself to Him?
- At the same time let us never forget that although we may be useless and may screw up, and forget to count the cost at times and look ridiculous – we are still assimilated under His reign – if we have surrendered then what else can we do?
- These parables scream out – be ready – because it’s going to hurt like hell – but it’s not hell, hell is much worse
- So be ready, because it is worth it to follow me and don’t worry – I will take care of you because I’ve been there and done that!
Conclude with Ps 32:8&10 – he will teach us, and counsel us, he will watch over us for his unfailing love is with those who trust in Him
May we the church who have ears to hear, hear and understand what the Lord has spoken