Friday, December 13, 2013

If ye love me keep my commandments...

Tip of the Tongue Theology

By Todd Lockwood

And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Luke 14:25-35 

Jesus had just ended his stay at the house of a Pharisee and there went great multitudes with him. Surely they marveled at the wisdom and the ways of the kingdom of God that he taught during his visit. Their ears were inclined to hear more of what he had to say but Jesus wanted to make sure that their hearts were inclined as well. Jesus turns to them and shares that they must be willing to forsake their family as well as themselves to become his disciple. Why did Jesus say this? Looking to what he says after this will shed some light as to why he said this. Jesus shares two examples of situations where someone must count the cost. In the first example one must have sufficient funds to complete a building and in the second one must have a sufficient strategy and a wealth of soldiers to defeat an army. If these were examples to help them understand his initial statement, what correlation was Jesus trying to make? Jesus is sharing how there are sufficient needs required for different situations to share that there is also a sufficient need to be his disciple. He wanted people to understand not just that lacking sufficient needs will lead to an unfinished building and a military defeat but that it would not allow them to be his disciple. What is the sufficient need to be his disciple? Jesus shares throughout this passage that one must hate their family and life, bear their cross, and forsake everything to be his disciple. At the surface, it may seem that if someone is able to accomplish all these that they would be considered his disciple. I would argue that there is more to it than that. If someone decides to do all these things to follow Jesus, I think it is safe to say that that person loves Jesus more than anything. The willingness to do all this to follow Jesus comes after the filling of the heart with the love of God. Thus, these are just the outward signs that someone loves God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. Jesus, in saying what he said, was testing them to see if they loved God more than anything! This is the sufficient need to be a disciple of Christ and the obedience that follows is the outworking of that love.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments."
John 14:15