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? — Luke 14:27-28
The skyline of Washington D.C. is low and sprawling by design, so that from a number of vantage points near the Potomac River, one can see several of the nation’s most notable landmarks. The capitol building, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and many other important buildings are all within a few miles of each other. The easiest landmark to see, however, is the Washington Monument: this majestic 555-foot pillar commemorating the first president of the United States of America is the tallest stone structure in the world.
The grandeur of this monument can be seen from all around, but a closer inspection reveals a detail that might otherwise be overlooked: the stones in the lower third of the tower are of a different shade than those of the upper two-thirds. This is because the monument was built in two separate phases.
Construction of the monument began in 1848, after $87,000 had been raised for the project. The Washington National Monument Society knew it didn’t have enough money to complete the structure, but was counting on more donations coming in. Six years later, however, funds ran out and construction slowed to a halt. After the Civil War, interest in completing the project grew, and construction began again in 1879 — this time with marble from a different quarry. The monument was completed in 1884, and at the time, it had a consistent color from top to bottom. Gradually, however, the marble in each section weathered differently, producing the two distinct colors seen today.
In our focus verse, Jesus indicated that following Him is like building a tower. Before beginning construction, a wise builder will consider the total cost and ensure that he has sufficient funds to complete the project. Jesus was emphasizing the requirements of discipleship: complete renunciation of all that hinders total commitment to Him. To follow Christ is costly! We must live a surrendered life, yielding full control to Him. We must value Jesus above all else, including family, friends, and possessions. The rewards of a victorious Christian life are certain to outweigh the sacrifices, but if we have not considered the cost in advance, we may not be prepared to complete our spiritual “structure.” That could result in eternal loss!
Have you counted the cost of true discipleship? Are you fully committed to the Lord today? If you are, He will help you reach the eternal goal.
In today’s text, Jesus taught those around Him about true humility, the Gospel call, and the cost of discipleship.
Chapter 14 begins with Jesus eating a meal on the Sabbath in the house of a ruler among the Pharisees. When the text says those at dinner “watched” Him, the original Greek indicates a malicious intent. The Pharisees were trying to find something to accuse Jesus of, and, feigning friendship, had likely invited Him to dine with them for that very purpose. When a man with dropsy approached, Jesus asked if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. The Pharisees held their peace, knowing they could not answer in the affirmative if they were to accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath. Jesus performed the miracle, and they had to remain silent again — this time because He had provided reason against which they could not argue.
In verses 8-11, Jesus told a parable about humility to those at the table, and in so doing, rebuked them for the behavior He had just observed. He went on to say in verses 12-14 that men should invite the poor and maimed to dinner, rather than their friends. Jesus was not forbidding the entertainment of friends, but rather was calling out the practice of hosting others for reasons of pride or in the hope of gaining something in return.
In verses 15-24, we read the Parable of the Great Supper, which holds both a prophetic and a spiritual meaning. Prophetically, it refers to the offer of the Gospel to the Jews, and, after their rejection, to the Gentiles. Spiritually, this parable is a warning to people of every generation. Those who refused the initial call to the feast made excuses to perform activities which, in and of themselves, were not evil. The problem was that they allowed these things to take precedence over the call of God. This parable is a reminder to put and keep God first, and to extend the Gospel message to everyone — even those who seem unlikely to receive it.
In verses 25-35, Jesus was no longer at the Pharisee’s house, but was addressing “great multitudes with him.” He took this opportunity to teach about what true discipleship entails. The word “hate” in verse 26 does not mean that one should actually despise his family and friends, but that a disciple must love Jesus more than his family and friends.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VI. The instruction of the Son of Man
D. Instructions concerning the Kingdom of God
2. Instructions concerning the nature of those in the Kingdom
a. Instructions before the religious leaders
(1) The cause of their exclusion (14:1-24)
(a) Blind traditions (14:1-6)
(b) Lack of love (14:7-11)
(c) Prejudices (14:12-24)
(2) The invitation extended (14:25-35)
The cost of discipleship is great, but the rewards are far greater.