So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me. - Luke 14:33
Jesus undoubtedly had mass appeal. There was something magnetic about his personality, his teaching, and particularly his miracles. His popularity served to get his message out to vast numbers of people, and his presence among the people promised blessing previously unknown. But the pathway to blessing led through the valley of submission to his lordship, and the people didn’t all want to follow it. As Jesus spelled out the ramifications of his lordship, the people began to realize the far-reaching consequences of following him.
Jesus used no slick sales techniques that promised the earth at bargain prices. Instead he offered abundant life on the basis of acknowledging that he is the Lord and Savior. “No one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me” (14:33). In response to Jesus’ love, which knows no bounds, his people should love him unequivocally. And if he, in his capacity as Lord of their lives, requires his people to release what had been exclusively their own, they should gladly relinquish their rights and acknowledge his right to direct what is in fact his own.
It is precisely because Jesus’ words are so uncompromising that some people feel uncomfortable actually telling people what Jesus said. Our culture specializes in the “soft sell,” the presentation that minimizes the product’s drawbacks. The soft sell trumpets words like, “free,” “no obligation,” “return if for any reason it does not meet your needs,” and “no payment until 2010.” Such techniques are the norm, so some people believe that no one would respond to the Master’s tough-love approach. But in this they are quite wrong. There are innumerable people who rejoice in a challenge and thrill to the possibility that they could actually be different and make a difference. Jesus was not only interested in saving people from a wasted eternity—he was committed to making their wasted lives count. He had come to change the world, and the words he spoke would resonate with potential world changers.
Salty talk, this! But Jesus knew that sugarcoated talk never made salty saints.
For Further Study: Luke 14:25-35
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