THE DEMANDS OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP

Now]large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 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. 27 Who ever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 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? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 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? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends [c]a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. (Luke14:25-33NASB]

In introducing the previous post (95 theses) I mentioned the importance of paying attention to the original Greek text (in the case of the New Testament) to be sure of understanding a particular verse or passage. The above teaching of Jesus is such an example which for illustrative purposes I have quoted from the New American Standard Bible. For Jesus assuredly did NOT say or mean that His disciples should HATE their parents, spouse or children, or anything like it. Of course, Jesus will have spoken in Aramaic but Luke’s account, like the rest of the New Testament is in Greek and He reported the Master as saying that His would-be disciple should μισέω their relatives. Μισέω can mean “hate” but it is also used in the comparative sense of elevating one person or item above another, and that is surely the case here. The disciple’s devotion and obedience to Christ must indeed be greater than that which they apply to their family commitments or  personal life plans – but that is very different from hating those things. [An interlinear translation per se will not necessarily identify these distinctions – further study is needed such as provided by Bible Hub HERE]

The final verse (33) may also perturb many when Jesus says (in most English translations) that we cannot regard ourselves as His disciples unless we give up all our possessions. Actually, that is not so far from what the Greek relays – ἀποτάσσω  literally means to bid farewell to or at the least to keep a loose hold on. This was the rich young ruler’s problem that I commented on in an earlier post (re: the camel and the needle). It is simply not possible to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and a materialist, at which point many may well utter with Jesus’ original twelve “Who then can be saved?” Jesus’ response was that such an undertaking was impossible apart from God’s enabling grace, and such is the case.

But the main point I want to make from this passage is the major theme of my theses and book – that very few people globally and historically have been enabled to serve Christ in such a way or have even been informed or understood that such was required of them. For Christian discipleship is not what determines where the soul goes when it leaves the body or whether a resurrected body will play any part in God’s eternal kingdom. That is determined by what is innately known and thoroughly achievable (Mt25:31-46). And thanks to the Passion of God’s Son it is not a matter of an accumulation of works or a perfectly lived life but the evincing of an underlying faith or faithfulness towards the innate light of Christ (cf. Jn1:9NKJV) through the exercise of a compassionate humanity.

However, the kind of self-sacrificing discipleship Christ is calling for in the above passage is indeed the requirement for those who are to share His inheritance and be His corporate Bride through eternity. And  as Jesus says, such a commitment needs to be carefully weighed up like a King about to go to battle or someone wishing to build a tower – which would hardly be the case if it pertained to our immortal souls avoiding Hell or gaining  Heaven. Exactly how this fits in with everything else the Bible teaches is explained in my book – free PDF available HERE.