Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 14:33

“So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” – Luke 14:33

Today we will be looking at what Jesus said about the cost of being a follower of Him.  First, Luke points out who He is speaking to.  “Now great multitudes were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,” Luke 14:25.  Jesus is going to share with them three basic conditions regarding discipleship. And these were not addressed to believers only to make them apostles, but also to unbelievers in order for them to understand what it means to be a follower. These three conditions are therefore conditions for salvation, not conditions for Christians to become a spiritual elite or to reach a new level in their Christian lives. 

Now, the first condition is found in the next verse. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26. The phrase, ‘comes to me’ means either to ‘seek salvation’, or  to ‘make a decision to follow Him’.  These are different from simply believing in Him but has the idea of also choosing to follow His ways.  He then tells them that if they do not hate their father or mother and mother, wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be a disciple.  He is not calling them to actually hate them, for that would go against what He said about the two great commandments. “And he said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39. Everything Jesus taught was about love for all, just as stated here.  We can look at Matthew’s version to get a better understanding of what is meant here. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37. Theologian Robert Stein puts it this way. “A person who commits himself or herself to Christ will develop a greater love for both neighbor and family, although at times loving and following Christ may be seen as renunciation, rejection, or hate if the family does not share the same commitment to Christ.”   It has nothing to do with them hating their family and friends, but loving Jesus more.  And as stated above, if they do not love Jesus more, they cannot be a disciple for when a difference arises between the two, they may not choose Christ’s way which would then make Him a disciple no more. 

Then He takes it one step further with the second condition. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27. He is saying to them if they are not willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, then they cannot be His disciple.  This does not refer to all earthly suffering, but specifically suffering for the cause of Christ.  Suffering for Him must take precedence over everything else.

They are then told to count the cost of discipleship. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down, and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace.” Luke 14:28-32. Note the words in verse 28. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?” He is telling them that before they decide to follow Him, count the cost to determine if we are able and willing to follow through.

And condition three is, are we willing to give up everything for Him. “So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” Luke 14:33.  Along with what’s above, we must be willing to give up everything.  Nothing and no-one should be deemed more important or desirable then Jesus and a life completely dedicated to Him. 

And we must ask these questions of ourselves and be willing to be honest with our answers.  Are we willing to do what Christ calls us to do even if it goes against family and friends desires?  Who’s commands should come first, Christ’s or others?  And this could lead to separation and rejection of us by them.  Would this be worth it to us?  If we cannot be fully dedicated to Christ, then we need to question whether we can truly be a disciple. And are we willing to give everything up for Him? I am not saying that we then choose not to be a disciple of His, but that we must look at where we are weak and decide if it is worth it, and then follow as you decide.  However, I can assure you that He is worth it, for Jesus loves us and wants us to live eternally with Him in His heavenly kingdom.  Would this be worth it?  It truly is.  So, I want to encourage us all to examine ourselves and make whatever changes are necessary.  As the Apostle Paul said, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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