Thursday, March 11, 2021

2021.03.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 14:25–35

Read Luke 14:25–35

Questions from the Scripture text: Who went with Jesus (Luke 14:25)? To whom did He speak? What seven people does He say you have to hate (Luke 14:26)? In order for what? What must a disciple bear (Luke 14:27)? Whose? What kind of project does He use as an illustration (Luke 14:28)? What must a builder do first? Or else what will result (Luke 14:29-30)? What other situation does He use as an illustration (Luke 14:31)? What would the weaker king do (Luke 14:32)? What does planning ahead look like if you’re going to follow Christ—what must you do (Luke 14:33)? Otherwise, what will you be like (Luke 14:34)? What use will such a disciple be (Luke 14:35)?

Jesus is worth everything. That’s the claim that He’s making in Luke 14:25-26. There are great multitudes, but He’s not interested in throngs of groupies. He’s going to gather to Himself a multitude that no one can number, who know Who He is. And that’s the point of Luke 14:26—quite stunning, really, to religious-minded Jews who know Deuteronomy 6. Jesus claims to be the proper object of our keeping the first great commandment.

To paraphrase both that text and what Jesus is saying here: “I, Yahweh your God, I am one. You shall love Me with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” 

This means that even those who have the greatest claims of love and law upon us may be those whom we must diametrically oppose in this life and those for whose torment and condemnation we will praise the justice and holiness of Christ in the next. 

It won’t do for us to dilute the intensity of His challenge by appealing to all the ways that we are to love enemy, neighbor, and family in this life. Those things hold true, but they are second-great-commandment loves. And you’re only obeying the second if you’re doing so in obedience to the first. 

Alas, that is quite shocking to our remaining fleshliness just to think about, and utterly intolerable to the unbeliever who has nothing but his fleshliness. Now, imagine that you’re an unbeliever who has a form of religion that vehemently holds onto your intellectually-acknowledged deity’s absolute uniqueness (think, for example, of the way fundamentalist Muslims purport to think and act). 

How stunning to those multitudes of Jews this claim must have sounded, coming from the Son of Man at the front of the crowd. And if it’s not stunning to us, then either we’re completely missing Who Jesus is claiming to be, or we’re not meditating enough upon it.

And Jesus may cost you everything. Speaking of “hating your own life” (Luke 14:26), Jesus’s infinite worth is the only way that the cost-benefit calculation that he urges in the rest of the passage can work. 

Crucifixion (Luke 14:27) was so barbaric that it was illegal to do it to a Roman citizen. The degree of torture and shame involved would send shivers down the spines of Jews who had seen someone carrying his cross, as they contemplated it being themselves in that place. 

So, stick that on one side of the equation, and suddenly it becomes mathematically necessarily to value the Lord Jesus as being of infinite worth to you. Otherwise, you won’t be willing to suffer humiliation on the order of an architect whose greatest project became a monument to his humiliation (Luke 14:28-30) and to suffer slaughter on the order of someone who marched double-time to face off against a force that outnumbered him two to one (Luke 14:31-33).

Saltiness (Luke 14:34-35) in the Christian life, then, has at its heart to believe that Jesus is Yahweh, and to think about Him and feel toward Him and submit to Him as worth so much that you would be willing, for His sake, to suffer the greatest humiliation or pain imaginable. 

Without this at its heart, your Christianity isn’t even good enough for the compost pile (Luke 14:35). And those who think they are Christians, but have not this view of Christ’s worth willfully put themselves in the deadliest of spiritual conditions (Luke 14:34). Better not to think that you’re “salt” at all than to have the name but not the flavor!

Are we ready for Jesus to cost us everything? He might! So let us assess that readiness by considering how much we consider Him to be worth now, ahead of time, before any such day of reckoning comes.

How does Christ’s worth to you show in your life right now? How do you feel when thinking about suffering humiliation or torture for His sake?

Suggested Songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH187 “I Belong to Jesus”

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