33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” (From Luke 14)
The cost of discipleship … Jesus suffered on a Roman cross until dead so that we could choose to live. It’s a choice.
I see this story from Luke much like any story from the Bible. My brain begins to create a drama. The camera fades in to show us this Jesus character doing some amazing, even supernatural things. In fact he makes our modern Penn and Teller look like armatures.
The crowd that has witnessed all of this is beginning to grow and they are excited. Of course there is no TV, no professional commentator who describes the action. When Jesus healed the woman who was bent over with a back problem, you could even hear a few in the crowd say, “We healed that woman.” This people were avid fans, huge fans of Jesus, but they were still only spectators and not participants.
These were real groupies. If there were camera’s back then they would want to get a picture with Jesus and an autograph. In our time television could have make a fortune from these fans, all ready to buy souvenirs. But Jesus doesn’t want fans. He wants disciples. A disciple is a student who learns from the teacher then put the teacher’s teachings into practice themselves. That’s what Jesus has wanted from the beginning. At this point in Luke, he knows that he is headed for Jerusalem where he will be humiliated, mocked, and executed on a Roman cross. From the beginning, Jesus has needed disciples to continue his work after his death.
So Jesus tells a story, a parable, about a banquet. The king invites people to join him at the banquet. But they begin to send back excuses as to why they can’t come. Of course the point is that he needs people who will be close to him and become his disciples.
So now Jesus has to be blunt. Through today’s gospel lesson, he sternly warns that if we can’t make Jesus the priority and put everything else after him, we can’t be disciples. All we would be is spectators, groupies. The cost of discipleship … Jesus suffered on a Roman cross until dead so that we could choose to live. It’s a choice. Just like is was with Adam and Eve. The first humans could choose to follow God’s way and live. Or they could follow the human way and die. Adam and Eve died. And today we have the same choice.
Let’s face it, we all have heard and made excuses for various things. My second job out of college was teaching at Ingleside, Illinois. Within a few days of the start of school, I became friends with three other guys. We did a lot of things together.
Ron Koules, who later became an actor, had a classroom close to my band room. When he would come to my room after school saying, “Dyer, you won’t believe this,” I knew it would be good. Sometime he would show me a note that he had intercepted. It was funny how those middle school boys, trying to be ornery, could misspell so many body part words. But my favorite homework excuse was from a boy who didn’t bring his homework to school. “Mom was so proud that I finished my homework that she put it on the fridge.” Every teacher has heard homework excuses. Every boss has heard work excuses. And the beat goes on in probably every part of life. But from today’s lesson, we know that Christmastime meek and mild Jesus isn’t meek and mild when it comes to discipleship. The busyness of today’s world is no excuse for discipleship. The world is a mess and needs the Kingdom or the reign of God to increase in our church, our community, and our world. Even though the words of the lesson are about hating family and giving up positions, Jesus doesn’t expect that. He expect those parts of our live to come after our loyalty to him. That makes our lives better.
The cost of discipleship … Jesus suffered on a Roman cross until dead so that we could choose to live. It’s a choice between heaven and death. The Good News from this story…We can choose to live.