IV. The Repudiation of the Son of Man by Men, Luke 9:51-19:27.
I. Instruction in the Light of Rejection, Luke 12:1-19:27.
8. Concerning Inflexible People; Healing on the Sabbath, Luke 14:1-6.
9. Concerning Inflated People; Humble Yourselves and be Exalted, Luke 14:7-11.
10. Concerning Invited People; Do Not Invite with Expectations of Repayment, Luke 14:12-14.
11. Concerning Indifferent People; Rejection of Jesus’ Invitation Means Exclusion from His Kingdom, Luke 14:15-24.
12. Concerning Incompetent People; Be Ready to Give Up Everything for Christ, Luke 14:25-35.
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12. Concerning Incompetent People; Be Ready to Give Up Everything for Christ, Luke 14:25-35.
This is the fifth and final lesson in this chapter. After recording Jesus’ teachings on the free invitation to the Kingdom of God at the banquet of the leading Pharisee, Luke now turns to another time and place where Jesus taught on the responsibilities and importance of discipleship. Here, we see that even though salvation is free, discipleship is costly. This is an important balance that the believer must understand. Salvation does guarantee heaven for those who believe in Jesus, but it also calls for complete commitment to Jesus in this life, not to secure your position in the Kingdom, but to express gratitude for that position that was freely given to you.
In this section, we will see that following or being a disciple of Jesus requires four significant costs:
1) “Hate” our family and ourselves, vs. 26.
2) Bear our own cross, vs. 27.
3) Count the costs of following Him, vs. 28-32.
4) Renounce all that we have, vs. 33.
Therefore, to be disciples of Jesus we need to give Christ priority over all other things including relationships and our plans, vs. 26-32, which will lead to the mental, if not physical, sacrifice of our possessions, vs. 33.
Luke 14:25, “Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them.”
In this scene, Jesus is at a place where a “large crowd,” POLUS OCHLOS, “were going along with Him,” SUNPOREUOMAI AUTOS. We noted SUNPOREUOMAI in Luke 7:11, as it is used only there, here, and Luke 24:15, along with Mark 10:1. It means, based on the context in each verse, “go with, come together, or assemble.” It has the connotation, like in Mark 10:1, that people were “flocking” to Jesus.
With the large crowd around Him, He “turned,” STREPHO and addressed them with the following principles and examples. Even though many people were “following” or “crowding” Jesus at this time, He stopped to make the point that not everyone was a disciple of His, and what it took to be one.
Luke 14:26, “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.”
This verse sometimes is misunderstood by the reader to think we actually have to “hate” our family in order to have a relationship with Jesus. This is not true in the carnal sense of hating someone. In our culture today, hate is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury; extreme dislike or antipathy.”
In our passage, the context comes from the ancient Near Eastern use of the word. Here, the Greek Verb MISEO means, “to be disinclined to, disfavor, or disregard,” in contrast to giving preferential treatment. Therefore, “hate,” meant a matter of priorities.
This is the same context as in Mat 6:24; Luke 16:13, that say, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
In addition, this context is used in John 12:25, which is similar to the last half of our passage “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” This principle is also noted in Mat 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33.
Luke 9:24, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”
So, what Jesus is doing, is giving us two major reasons people have for not committing themselves to Him: 1) Love of family, and 2) Love of self. Naturally, we are to love our families and ourselves according to Scripture.
Therefore, this does not mean we have to “hate” our family, were we hold malice, bitterness, or anger toward them. Here, and elsewhere in the Bible, it means, “to love less.” Such was the feeling of Jacob for Leah in comparison to his wife Rachel, Gen 29:31. The issue is one of priority more than feeling. Also compare Esau “despising of His birthright,” Gen 25:29-34. He did not hate it; he just did not prioritize it.
In that context, Jesus Christ must come first in the life of His disciples. By “hate,” Jesus means to make those other things such a distant second in priority relative to Him where it seems you hate them by comparison. It tells us that no one who follows Jesus with divided loyalties and halfhearted effort can successfully be His disciple, James 1:8, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
So, the principle is that we do not place our family or ourselves above our relationship with God. In other words, for the Christian, the family cannot be an idol. We care for our family, yes. We provide for them as a demonstration of faith, 1 Tim 5:8. But discipleship will call you to reprioritize the family in ways completely contrary to the world’s system. Remember, the third “worldly” excuse of the previous section where a man said, “He married a wife,” and for that reason He could not accept the invitation to the banquet. That man was placing his family / wife above his relation with God.
With the first class “if,” EI, statement, “if and it is true,” this passage says that when someone places their family relationships over their relationship with God, then “he cannot be My disciple,” OUK DUNAMAI EIMI EGO MATHETES.
Now by implication, when there is MATHETES it indicates there is also a DIDASKALOS or “teacher.” As such, the learner-teacher unit is a relationship in which knowledge, tradition, behavior, and/or values are transferred from the teacher to the pupil. Therefore, if the believer puts others in front of or in place of their relationship with Jesus, they will “not be able,” OUK DUNAMAI, to learn from Him and therefore do not have the necessary means, power, or strength to be His disciple.
Here, the list of relationships includes, “father (PATER) and mother (METER) and wife (GUNE) and children (TEKNON) and brothers (ADELPHOS) and sisters (ADELPHE), yes, and even his own life (PSUCHE).”
Mat 10:37, “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.”
“Jesus would not have discouraged the act of following; He did, however, challenge the motivation.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary)
Therefore, to emphasize that point we could say, Jesus is not discouraging the act of following Him, He is challenging the motivation for following Him! And that is what we need to check with our hearts. Take a good long look introspectively to understand what your true motivation is, and then work on it to let God refine it / purify it for you!
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Luke 14:27, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
We already noted this principle in Luke 9:23; as it is also used in Mat 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34.
Luke 9:23-27, “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God”.”
“Carry his own cross,” uses the Present, Active, Indicative of the Verb BASTAZO βαστάζω that means, “pick up, lift up, bear, carry, or sustain, with the Noun STAUROS, “cross.”
Since Jesus died on the Cross in the payment for the penalty of our sins, this cruel instrument of death has become a symbol of Christian faith. This does not mean that we are to be crucified like Jesus was. Rather, it means we fulfill God’s plan for our lives as Jesus did, where God’s plan for His life was to go to the Cross, cf. Phil 2:8; 1 Cor 1:17.
Phil 2:8, “Being found in appearance (SCHEMA, “form, outward appearance,) as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” This was God’s plan for Jesus’ life here on earth.
1 Cor 1:17, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.” This was God’s plan for Paul’s life here on earth.
Interestingly, this lesson, as did the one in Luke 9, came before He would be hung upon the Cross. Even though it may not have made much sense at the time, subsequent to His crucifixion it would be quite clear.
Jesus is our example of fulfilling God’s plan for our lives that we should observe and learn from. Heb 12:2, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Luke 22:42, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
“And come after Me,” KAI ERCHOMAI OPISO EGO. This means we follow Jesus. It is the principle of learning from the Teacher, so that His knowledge is transferred to us. This means we learn Bible Doctrine / God’s Word / the mind of Christ and apply it in our lives daily. “No one could hear these words without an awareness that in order to follow Jesus he must be ready to surrender all selfish and self-seeking interests and be willing to accept any and all sacrifices that might come.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
“The Lord’s call includes a commitment to the kingdom cause that’s as selfless and complete as His own. In a practical sense, discipleship requires placing all other goals, objectives, plans, and personal desires under those of the Father. The truly committed follower releases their own will while embracing the Father’s will. Later, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus would prostrate Himself before His Father and pray, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary)
The one who does not learn from Jesus’s words and apply it in their lives “cannot be My disciple,” OUK DUNAMAI EGO MATHETES. This is the double emphasis from vs. 26, and will be repeated again in vs. 33. Therefore, we have a mandate as believers in Jesus Christ to be His disciples, which means we need to show the world who Jesus is, just as Jesus showed the world who the Father is. The world can best see the Cross of Christ when it sees His disciples not only willing to preach Christ, but to live a life of total commitment to Him daily.
Therefore, discipleship means personal, passionate devotion to the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a vast difference between devotion to a person and devotion to principles or to a cause. Our Lord never proclaimed a cause; He proclaimed personal devotion to Himself. As such, to be a disciple is to be a devoted bondservant motivated by love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many who call themselves Christians are not truly devoted to Jesus Christ. They may admire, respect, and revere Him, but they do not truly love Him because they do not even know Him.
- We cannot love Him on our own. No one on earth has passionate love for the Lord Jesus unless He has His Word resident in his soul as given to him by the Holy Spirit.
- The only One who truly loves the Lord Jesus is the Holy Spirit, “Because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us,” Rom 5:5.
Therefore, to be a disciple we must be filled with the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18, and have God’s Word resident within our souls, which we apply daily, Rom 12:2. This also calls for consistency in our daily walk, just as Jesus Christ was always consistent in His relationship to God the Father. So too, must the Christian be consistent in his relationship to the life of the Son of God in him.
As such, the taking up of our cross does not mean the stoical bearing of some heavy burden, hardship, illness, or distasteful situation or relationship. Instead, it is giving over to the freedom from sin Christ won for us upon the Cross. Every believer is thereby freed from all bondage, but every believer is not aware of this liberating truth. Consider yourself to be dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, and live that way each day. When you do, the closest relationships in your life should not come in conflict with your relationship with Jesus Christ and His Word.
“Self,” will not follow Jesus, yet when you take up your own cross, it results in death to “self,” which also means an awareness of the newness of life we have in Christ Jesus. The disciple is one who is free from the old self, the old sin nature, and free for the new man to flourish. We need to understand that bearing our cross does not refer to the trials and tribulations we call “crosses,” but to the daily giving up of self and the self-life. This is “dying to self,” which should mark us as much as it did our Lord. We especially need this type of heart in times of prosperity more than in adversity. Without which the fullness of the blessing of the Cross cannot be disclosed to us.
1 Peter 2:24, “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
Rom 8:13, “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Phil 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Our work as His disciples is to disciple others’ lives until they are totally yielded to God. One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives which have been simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God, we must reproduce our own kind spiritually.
Oswald Chambers noted, “Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he “followed Him at a distance” on dry land (Mark 14:54). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.”
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Next, we have two analogies for determining the cost of discipleship, i.e., carrying your cross daily. The first analogy is building a tower.
Luke 14:28, “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?”
In the ancient world, a “tower,” PURGOS, was commonly constructed in vineyards for protection and as a place of dwelling during the harvest. An unfinished tower would imply inability and ineptness in both the management and defense of property.
“Building,” OIKODOMEO, “build, erect, edify, or encourage,” is analogous to building up your soul in the spiritual life with the Word of God. We sometimes call this building the “Edification Complex of the Soul,” (ECS). It means to grow spiritually through the intake and application of Gods’ Word / Bible Doctrine. We do this by taking in the Word consistently; brick by brick, layer by layer.
Jesus tells us that when building the spiritual life, we “first,” PROTON, need to “calculate” PSEPHIZO, “count, calculate, or figure,” (which is only used here and Rev 13:18, for determining or realizing what the number of the Beast is), the “cost,” DAPANE, “cost or expense,” (only used here in the NT), “to complete it,” EIS APARTISMOS, “completion, finishing, or perfection,” (which is also only used here in the NT).
Rev 13:18, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
During the Tribulation, it is going to mean both physical and spiritual “life or death” for someone to receive the mark of the Beast. If they receive it, they will maintain their physical life, but will forfeit their spiritual life. If they do not receive it, they may forfeit their physical life, but will receive and maintain their spiritual life for all of eternity. Therefore, it is imperative for the people of the Tribulation to “calculate or figure out,” what the mark of the Beast is, so that they can gain or maintain their spiritual life.
Calculating the cost of discipleship, which is analogous to “carrying your cross,” in vs. 27, is an important aspect of whether you obtain discipleship or not, with its subsequent spiritual growth. In other words, we have to think about what things, people, events, etc., in this life we can consider as loss, (or of lesser value than Jesus), so we can go forward in God’s plan for our lives. Jesus is stating that in the human realm, great people and leaders think like this all the time, especially when starting a new venture. Many “costs” go into the construction of a building: the purchase of the land, architectural plans, digging the foundation, securing building materials, furnishings, etc. As such, we too need to perform this same kind of analysis regarding our lives, when we follow Jesus as His disciples. Paul thought like this in, Phil 3:4-8.
Phil 3:4, “Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”
Luke 14:29, “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him.”
Here, we have the consequences of not calculating the cost of being a disciple of Jesus.
“Laid a foundation” is TITHEMI AUTOS TEHMELIOS; the latter we noted in Luke 6:48-49, its first application and only use in the Gospels.
Luke 6:48-49, “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” Cf. Mat 7:24-27
In that parable, the man did not calculate the importance of the foundation of His soul, which, if you are going to have a solid one, is Jesus Christ. This man built his house on a worldly sub-foundation called “sand” here, which caused the whole building (ECS) to fall down. He did not calculate which one was the best sub-foundation to build upon.
1 Cor 3:10-11, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
If we do not calculate the cost of following Jesus, (which not only includes loss of things in this world but the trials and tribulations that come with being a Christian inside of Satan’s world), we will “not be able to finish,” OUK ISCHUO EKTELE, “to finish or complete,” only used here and vs. 30. Here, it means you will not be able to see it through to “completion” because of poor planning.
As a result, “all who observe it,” PAS HO THEOREO, “begin to ridicule him,” EMPAIZO, “mock, ridicule, or scorn,” which is only used in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and typically for Jesus being “mocked,” Luke 18:32; 22:63; 23:11, 36.
Interestingly, while Jesus was finishing God’s plan for His life, the Cross, the people of the world / Satan’s cosmic system were mocking Him. Yet, that did not hinder or deter Him from completing the plan of God for His life, after He had calculated the personal cost to Himself, Heb 12:2, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Therefore, if we do not finish the race that God has set out for us, we will be ridiculed, which means we will find shame at the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ, 1 John 2:28, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
1 Cor 9:24-26, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
To be disqualified in the ancient Olympic Games, meant to have public humiliation, shame, and disgrace. That is what Paul was saying he would not have at the BEMA Seat, because he ran the race, (God’s plan for his life), as he should have, having calculated and accepted the cost of doing so. So too, should we, Heb 12:1!!
Heb 12:1, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Luke 14:30, “Saying, ‘This man began, ARCHO, to build, OIKODOMEO, and was not able, OUK ISHUO, to finish, EKTELEO’.”
The ridicule or mocking here, is stating the actual facts, nothing is made up or falsified. Unlike the mocking of Jesus, who was actually completing God’s plan for His life and being falsely accused and mocked, the one who does not finish the race will be mocked for the truth and actuality. In other words, nothing is falsified or made up. It will be the truth plainly stated and therefore a fair, just, and righteous judgment.
That will be the case for those who stand before the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ for both those who did and those who did not calculate the cost of being a disciple of Jesus and finish the race, 1 Cor 3:14-15.
1 Cor 3:14-15, “If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
Having your “works,” (i.e., human good deeds), “burnt up,” will result in loss of rewards for all of eternity, which will cause shame at the BEMA Seat of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, we have to calculate what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, so that we can be the best one we possibly can be. We have to calculate; Will I persevere until the end no matter what? Will I deny self in order to serve Him? Will I serve Him no matter the family pressure? Will I endure hardship like a good soldier for the sake of knowing Him? “The point is not to count the costs and turn away if it’s too costly; it is to count the costs and embrace them because it is worth it.” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
As we have stated, “salvation is free, but discipleship is costly.” Therefore, discipleship requires placing all other goals, objectives, plans, and personal desires in lesser priority than the Father’s goals, objectives, plan, and desires for your life. If you do that and continue to run the race because you have calculated the cost to do so, then you will be His disciple.
“Jesus offered two analogies to illustrate conscious, eyes-wide-open commitment. Both depict people making all-or-nothing decisions before proceeding. Jesus didn’t want foolhardy promises; fickle disciples do more harm than good to the cause. No, He wants only those who take on the hardships with a reasonable understanding of the cost.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary)
Therefore, Jesus is not teaching that we have to be perfect in order to be saved. Salvation is a free gift by grace. In addition, the Portfolio of Invisible Assets, including the spiritual gifts He gives us, are the resources that make it possible and enable us to be what He calls us to be. Remember, we do not fix our faults so that we can earn His favor. Instead, we turn to Him so that He can begin the work of renovation He desires to work in our lives, Rom 12:1-2.
Rom 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
In actuality, a disciple of Jesus Christ is a learner who is under constant renovation! “I often joke with my classes that if there is any doubt renovation is needed, all I need to do is ask their spouse or roommate! A good disciple recognizes that renovation is never done. He or she also recognizes that sometimes renovation means tearing down before building up something fresh and new. The rebuilding that God does is not always easy or pleasant, but like the goal of renovation, what emerges is much better than what was there at the start. The hope of such transformation is what makes discipleship worth the journey.” (NIV Application Commentary)
In the two analogies for determining the cost of discipleship, (i.e., carrying your cross daily), the second analogy is the cost of going to war. Just as the first analogy of building a tower used a business analogy for the building up and protection of your soul, this analogy of warfare speaks to the protection of your soul inside the Angelic Conflict.
Luke 14:31, “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?”
In this analogy, the first “king,” BASILEUS, represents the believer who is a member of the Royal Family of God.
“Sets out to,” is the Verb POREUOMAI that means, “to go, depart, travel, etc.,” in the Present, Middle Deponent, Nominative. It speaks of our “meeting,” SUMBALLO, our adversary, “another king,” HETEROS BASILEUS. Here we have the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of SUMBALLO that only Luke uses in his gospel and in the book of Act, which has several meanings from, “to ponder,” Luke 2:19, to “confer or converse,” Acts 4:15; 17:18, to “help,” Acts 20:14, or “dispute or quarrel,” as here. Its main meaning is to engage, either positively or negatively.
Here, it is in the negative realm as the engagement is “in battle,” POLEMOS, “war, battle, fight.” In the Gospels, it is used for the prophecies of the end times with “wars and rumors of wars,” Mat 24:6; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:19, then it is predominantly used in Revelation for the Fallen Angels of the Tribulation who make war against mankind, Rev 9:7, 9; 11:7; 12:7, 17; 13:7, 16:14; 19:19; 20:8. Therefore, we see this analogy as warfare against our great adversaries; Satan and sin, which we battle with every day. As such, we are talking about the Angelic Conflict that we are a part of as believers in Jesus Christ.
The wisdom factor here is to “first sit down and consider,” PROTON KATHIZO and the Future, Middle Deponent, indicative of the Verb BOULEUOMAI that means, “deliberate, consult, consider, to take counsel or advice, to plan or plot, to resolve or decide, and to determine or purpose.”
Prov 20:18, “Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance.”
In the sense of “consult,” you are seeking out the Word of God resident within your soul by the power of the Holy Spirit to determine a solution. The thing you are deliberating in your mind is “whether or not you are strong enough,” EI EIMI and the Adjective DUNATOS from the Verb DUNAMAI, which comes to mean, “having power, mighty, capable, or possible.”
In that self-deliberation, you are considering the strength and power you have, “ten thousand,” DEKA CHILIAS, “to encounter” HUPANTAO, “to meet, come against, or oppose,” “the one coming against him with twenty thousand,” HO ERCHOMAI EPI AUTOS META EIKOSI CHILIAS. Here, the believer is outnumbered two to one.
The fact is, a smaller army can win a war against a much larger force, but it takes planning, training, motivation, and courage. The king in the smaller army had better be sure he has all these factors in his favor and has planned out his strategy accordingly.
Being outnumbered 2 to 1, may seem like a daunting task. But, when you have Jesus on your side, which means the filling of the Holy Spirit with the Word of God resident within your soul, it is not. When you have the power of God in you, the odds are always tipped in your favor, and you will be victorious. Yet, if you do not have the Word and Spirit within you, you will be defeated experientially.
Notice here, the enemy is coming against you and is invading your territory which you must defend. By analogy, this is Satan and sin attacking your soul at opportune times. These are the “flaming missiles of the evil one” from Eph 6:16. That is why we have been given the “full armor of God,” so that we can “stand firm,” when we pick it up and put it on. That means we are to take in the Word of God daily and consistently and be filled with the Holy Spirit. So, before you go out to do battle with Satan and Sin, first determine if you have enough power, (i.e., the Word of God and the Holy Spirit ruling your soul), to defeat the enemy. If you do, then engage. If you do not, then seek out God through His Word to strengthen you!
Luke 14:32, “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.”
“Or else,” DE EI OUK, “but if not,” tells us that this is analogues to the believer who realizes they do not have enough power and strength to defeat the enemy, (i.e., not enough Bible Doctrine in the soul), Here, we are also to use wisdom in discernment to determine if we have enough Bible doctrine in our souls to defeat Satan and sin. This is key for the new or spiritual immature believer.
“While the other is still far away,” ETI AUTOS EIMI PORRHO. PORRHO, “far away or far from,” is only used here, and in parallel passages of Mat 15:8; Mark 7:6, which is a quote from Isa 29:13.
Mark 7:6, “And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me’”.”
In our passage, it means, “Before the next bout of sin or sin temptation comes your way, you are to prepare for when it does.”
“He sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace,” APOSTELLO PRESBEIA EROTAO HO PROS EIRENE. In human terms, this is asking for a settlement to be made with the enemy. But in the spiritual realm, there is no settlement with Satan and Sin, (unless you desire to fall into carnality, reversionism, or apostasy). In addition, they will never have terms of peace with you. But, there is a way to find peace and that is through the person and work of Jesus Christ as found in His Word. Therefore, to have “terms of peace,” means to have Bible Doctrine / God’s Word / the mind of Jesus Christ, resident within your soul as you build the ECS and gain Mastery of the Details of Life and have a Relaxed Mental Attitude in all situations. When you do, you will be at peace in all situations of life, even when the enemy is coming at you full on.
Therefore, Jesus is emphasizing the need for the disciple, those who are following Him, to consider what is involved in going to war against Satan and the ways of the world. These two parables together teach us that discipleship involves both building and fighting for the management, protection, and experiential victory of your soul. Anyone desiring to follow Jesus should consider carefully the requirements and consequences of doing so. You need to be aware of the resources which are available to you and be ready to use them, Eph 6:10-18. Unless you are willing to “count the cost” and commit everything to Christ, you are apt to fail in the endeavor.
Luke 14:33, “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”
Here, for the third time in this lesson, Jesus emphasizes that the commitment He requires is not easy and has a cost, as the conclusion reverts back to being a disciple, MATHETES, of Jesus Christ. He has said we must have in lesser priority our loved ones and ourselves to the degree that we do not let them hinder us from following Him. Secondly, we must carry our own cross: Walk daily in God’s Plan for our lives. And now, Jesus adds that we must forsake, renounce, and cease depending on what we have. The point is to avoid an emotional attachment to money or possessions. It is a matter of priorities!
To be a disciple, we must “give up all our possessions,” APOTASSO PAS HO HEAUTOU HUPARCHO. The key word here is the Present, Middle, Indicative of the Verb APOTASSO that means, “say farewell, withdraw from, or take leave from.” So, you can see that it has both a mental and physical connotation of departing from something or someone. It is used seven times in the NT. For six of them, it concerns “saying farewell or taking leave.” But, in our passage, it means, “to renounce,” and signifies the mental separation from something; that being our “possessions,” HUPARCHO, “all that we have or possesses.” Notice that this word is a compound word from HUPO, “from which something comes,” and ARCHO, “first,” in rank or rule.
Therefore, this means you have to be willing to mentally give up that which has first rule over the mentality of your soul, whether it is things or thoughts. As such, you do not have to literally sell or give away all your material possessions. But, you do have to have the mental attitude that those possessions are not priorities in your life, and Jesus is. This reinforces the pervious message of “hating,” MISEO, “making as a lesser priority,” your family than Jesus is in your life, vs. 26.
“Such requirements, when followed, will do away with all halfhearted service to Christ, and cause His disciples to surrender to Him their possessions, desires, plans, ideals, affairs, and interests. This does not mean that Christian’s are to sell everything they possess in order to live for Christ. Neither does it mean that one should withdraw from the world. Such actions miss the point of Christian living entirely. What Jesus is calling for is that we so commit ourselves to Him that we become spiritually and mentally free from worldly-mindedness, frivolity, covetousness, and selfishness. Then we are free to serve Him without reservation.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary).
The “all,” PAS, in this passage, means every thought and every material thing in your life. Therefore, Jesus must be the priority in your life if you are going to be His disciple. As such, we must gain control over our Old Sin Nature, (OSN), the “old man,” so that it is not ruling our souls. We overcome the OSN by means of the Word of God resident within our souls plus the filling of God the Holy Spirit. With these two power options simultaneously working within your soul, you will make Jesus a priority, as He is the Word of God. An added benefit from doing this is the great relationship you will have with Jesus, along with the relaxed mental attitude and peace within your soul, as you come to master the details of life, have love for God, Man, and your spouse, and share in the happiness of God, (+H). Therefore, in terms of your possessions, commit them to God’s service, whether they remain in your possession or not. Hold everything very loosely!
Luke 14:34, “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?”
This principle is used in Mat 5:13, right after the “Beatitudes,” that speak of how the disciple of Jesus should think and operate, so that they can be blessed as “lights of the world,” and Mark 9:50, which teaches about how to overcome false teaching and false doctrines in our lives, so that we can continue to be effective witnesses in the spiritual life. In our passage it also has to do with being a disciple of Jesus Christ, as we just learned.
“Salt” is the Noun HALAS that is only used here and in Mat 5:13; Mark 9:50; Col 4:6. It is used as an analogy to the believer, as in Mat 5:13 and Mark 9:50, and as a characteristic of the believer who speaks with grace.
Col 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
In our passage, salt is “good.” This is the believer who is a true disciple of Jesus Christ. “Good,” is the Adjective KALOS that can mean, “beautiful, good, excellent, advantageous, or noble.” In classical Greek, it originally denoted that which was “useful, suitable, or functional.” Over time, it developed moral and ethical nuances in addition to its earlier definitions. In Luke’s use, it represents that which is useful as a disciple of Jesus Christ with high moral and ethical character because of the Word of God resident within the soul due to the construction of the Edification Complex of the Soul. When we build up our soul with the Word of God and apply it, we are then useful as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Yet, if our salt “becomes tasteless,” it means the believer is not operating as a disciple of Jesus, and is not having an impact on the world around them. It is the Greek Verb MORAINO, μωραίνω in the Aorist, Passive, Subjunctive that means, “make foolish, become foolish, make tasteless, become tasteless, or insipid.” Both forms of the definition are in view, as when the believer does not become a disciple of Jesus, he or she becomes foolish and operates as a fool inside of Satan’s Cosmic System. It is used only in Mat 5:13; Luke 14:34; Rom 1:22; 1 Cor 1:20.
This word is used for the fool, the unbeliever, who rejects God’s Plan of Salvation and instead worships human, physical, and/or material things in idolatry. Rom 1:22, “Professing to be wise, they became fools (MORAINO).”
1 Cor 1:20, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
The Passive Voice; says that the believer receives this action, because they did not build the tower of their soul, (ECS), and did not guard their soul to be victorious inside the Angelic Conflict. They did not build their soul with the Word of God.
The Subjunctive Mood; goes with the “if” statement, EAN, which makes this a “Third Class if statement,” “Maybe you will or maybe you will not.” Here, it has the emphasis that depicts what is likely to occur in the future; what could possibly occur, which is losing your “saltiness,” that means you “become tasteless.” In other words, you do not become a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Our Lord then states the tragic logic, “with what will it be seasoned?” This uses the Future, Passive, Indicative of the Verb ARTUO, ἀρτύω that means, “season (with salt).” It is only used in Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34; Col 4:6. Therefore, if salt loses its particular flavor of saltiness, how would it regain its flavor? The answer is, “It cannot.” In other words, this is a warning to believers that if you do not become a disciple of Jesus, how can you be effective witnessing the gospel of Jesus Christ to others? The answer is, “you cannot.”
“The salt signifies the influence which a life consecrated to God brings to an otherwise barren world. Salt which is mixed in the food cannot be seen, but one can taste it. Such is the case with the salt of the earth. Often the influence of a Christian may reach far beyond that which is seen or heard.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
“The Christian life is to be lived in the world where it can bring seasoning to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Salt was a precious commodity in the time of Jesus. Jesus shows how the Christian is to use his influence to improve the quality of living for all men, just as salt draws out the best in food to which it is applied. When Christians fail to influence others to live a more dedicated life, they fail in one of their greatest opportunities and responsibilities. No Christian should allow careless or worldly living to lessen his witness for the Lord. Just as salt itself cannot be seasoned with anything, there is nothing that can make up for the Christian’s losing his influence on others. There is nothing greater than salt to which the salt itself could be subjected for seasoning effect. There is nothing greater than Christianity to which the Christian can turn to have his withered witness renewed.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Luke 14:35, “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
The stark reality of salt that has lost is savory is that “it is useless,” is the Present, Active, Indicative of the Verb EIMI with the Adjective EUTHETOS, εὔθετος that means, “fit, suitable, or usable.” This linked to the negative Adverbs OUTE, “neither – nor, and not.” This tells us that the believer who does not become a disciple of Jesus is useless to the Father for any service. EUTHETOS is only used in Luke 9:62; 14:34; Heb 6:7.
It is used in the negative sense of not being a disciple in Luke 9:62, “But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”.”
It is used in the positive sense for being a disciple in Heb 6:7, “For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God.”
In our passage, it is also in the negative sense of choosing not to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. When a believer or unbeliever chooses not to be a disciple of Jesus, it results in consequences for others, which is further emphasized here in two ways: “Useless either 1) for the soil or 2) for the manure pile.”
“For the soil,” EIS GE, “land, earth, ground, soil, region or territory,” may indicate this person will not be a good witness to their fellow countrymen. But, in ancient times, conquering armies would spread soil on the ground of their enemies so that nothing would be able to grow. In this analogy, it means that the disciple also has a role of reproving and rebuking their fellow countrymen, which they would not be able to perform if they did not become a disciple of Jesus.
“For the manure pile,” EIS KOPRIA, “dung, manure, manure pile.” It is only used here and Luke 13:8 for a form of “fertilizer.” Here, salt was used as a preservative for the manure, so that in the future it could be used for fertilizer. Therefore, it speaks of the future impact the disciple would have on their fellow countrymen to teach them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Word.
In addition, we have the personal consequences of not being a disciple of Jesus, “it is thrown out,” AUTOS EXO BALLO. This reminds us of the casting out of the unbeliever into the “outer darkness,” (i.e., the Eternal Lake of Fire), for not believing in Jesus Christ as their Savior, Mat 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; cf. Mat 13:50; John 15:6.
Mat 8:12, “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Mat 25:30, “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
But, in our passage, we are talking about “being cast out” in reference to a believer who does not become a disciple of Jesus Christ. For that believer there are consequences of the three stages of Divine discipline, 1 Cor 11:30, where the third stage is God taking them home under the “sin unto death,” discipline, “sleep.” Because they are useless for discipleship, God may remove them.
Our Lord then finishes this discussion with “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” It uses the Verb AKOUO twice. First in the Present, Active, Infinitive, “to hear,” and then in the Present, Active, Imperative of Command, “let him hear.” AKOUO does literally mean “to hear a sound,” but also is used to mean, “learn.” Therefore, our Lord is giving an imperative to learn from these object lessons.
Our Lord used this phrase quite often to draw the listeners’ attention to the subject He was speaking about, so that they learn and believe, cf. Mat 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8; 14:35; Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6; 13:22; 13:9.
“Some Christians today are guilty of the sin of sermon listening. They listen to what God’s Word tells them, shake the preacher’s hand and tell him it was a good sermon, and then go out and forget what they heard. Jesus emphasized the fact that such a response to what He has said will not do. There must be a total commitment to Him and obedience to His Word.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary).
“Therefore, Jesus offered two analogies to illustrate conscious, eyes-wide-open commitment. Both depict people making all-or-nothing decisions before proceeding. Jesus didn’t want foolhardy promises; fickle disciples do more harm than good to the cause. No, He wants only those who take on the hardships with a reasonable understanding of the cost. Following Jesus requires we renounce everything we have: our relationships, our desires, our lives, our possessions, everything. None of it will have a hold on us, only Christ. None of it will command our top loyalty, only Christ. None of it will keep us from serving Christ. To follow Jesus as a disciple means we exchange the entire world for that kingdom to come:
- Am I willing to place in less priority all other relationships to receive the love of God in Jesus Christ?
- Am I willing to die to my own desires and plans to live by God’s will for me?
- Am I willing to surrender all my possessions to receive God’s kingdom? “
(Christ Centered Commentary)