During Jesus’ ministry on earth, he shared his infinite wisdom with mankind in a way that is easy for our feeble minds to understand. To do this, he told stories or parables, things that the hearer would have to meditate on in order to understand their meaning. Many heard his parables and didn’t understand as they didn’t meditate on them. They were blinded- hearing they did not hear and seeing they did not see, in fulfillment of the prophecy. The same is the case today. It is more important than ever, to meditate on the words, teachings, parables and guidelines that Jesus presented. Today I’d like to talk about Luke 14:15-35. In this text, Jesus in parable expresses the frustration of the Father who has invited many to come to the ‘wedding feast’, yet for a number of different excuses they wouldn’t come:
“And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” ~ Luke 14:15-20
You can see here a list of excuses that were given for why these people wouldn’t accept the invitation to the great supper. One bought a piece of ground and had to go see it, another had some work to do with his oxen, and yet another got married and felt their affairs with their wife were more important than going to that great supper. We can see Jesus describing many ‘worldly’ concerns and affairs that have distracted men from going to this great supper. Because of this, the master of the house was angered:
“So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” ~ Luke 14:21-27
You can see here the anger of the master. Because of His anger, he declares that those that were invited (bidden) and refused to go, NONE of them will taste of His supper. Those that were originally invited, were the Jewish people, and many (not all) of them refused the invitation. In their place, he tells his servants to invite the poor, maimed, blind etc to the supper. These are those that daily Jesus approached to feed, heal, and mend. They were afflicted in life, and he came to give them rest and to allow them to live life more abundantly. Then there was still room left, so he instructed his servants to go and invite anyone that will listen to the supper- go to the highways and hedges, so that His house can be filled. Jesus here speaks of the invitation which is now extended to the Gentiles (all men). Then he tells us the requirements of coming to His supper- by saying that if any man come to him and hate not his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and his own life CANNOT be His disciple. The word “hate” used in this text comes from the Greek word “miseó” meaning- hate, detest, love less, esteem less. 3404 miséō – properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another. Jesus is saying that if we love our father, mother, wife, children etc. and even our own life more than we love Him, we CANNOT be His disciple. If we choose anything before Him, we are not worthy of Him. This is a radical statement, but falls in line with all of his teachings. We seek the Kingdom of God first. Everything else is second. Then Jesus continues to encourage us to “count the cost” of being His disciples:
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” ~ Luke 14:28-35
Jesus encourages us to consider the cost before we embark on discipleship. He uses the example of someone that builds a tower and declares that this man surely considers whether or not he has enough to finish the task before he starts it. He uses the example of a king making war against another king. That king must consider the cost and consider if his 10,000 men will be able to successfully battle the other king with 20,000 men. In both of these examples, the cost of action is considered and weighed BEFORE embarking in action. Jesus wants us to also consider the cost of being His disciple BEFORE embarking on that path. He tells us that if we are not willing to forsake ALL THAT WE HAVE, we cannot be His disciple. This is the cost. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to lose all that I have, all of my possessions, my family, my worldly goals and desires, my lusts, etc. in order to be a disciple of Christ?” Being a disciple means that we do what Jesus did, and that we walk as Jesus walked. We know all too well, that Jesus spoke the truth in love regardless of whether it would sting the hearer. He told the truth because he loved all men. Because of this, he was persecuted, cast out of many cities and meetings, he was beaten and eventually killed. Even in all of that, he loved his enemy and prayed for those that persecuted Him. We are now to walk as His disciples making our lives look like His. If we allow any lie to prosper in our presence, we lose our flavor and savour/saltiness, and can no longer be used by our Father in heaven. These are all things to weigh BEFORE becoming a disciple of Christ. People will think you are a fool, ignorant, a trouble maker, even evil for declaring biblical truths that do not change just as the Father does not change. You may lose business, friends, family, and everything in this world that many hold dear- including your life. Where do you stand today? The path is narrow. Have you counted the cost of becoming a disciple of Christ?