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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

BUILDING A TOWER or MAKING WAR

Luke 14:25-27 And there went great multitudes with Him: and He turned, and said unto them, if any man come unto 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. (Also Read verses 28-33)

At this time in Jesus' ministry on earth, multitudes would follow Him wherever He went preaching the word of God, and confirming Himself as the Son of God through miracles and wonders. No doubt many that made up these multitudes were there just because they were curious about observing His miraculous works. Some came, especially from the Jewish leadership, to find reasons to discredit, find fault, and accuse Him of blasphemy and other reasons to have Him imprisoned and put to death. Some came, no doubt, simply because friends, neighbors and other members of their family were there or had told them about Jesus. There were even some in His audiences that accepted Him as the Messiah, sent from God, to bring salvation to the world. Obviously, the multitudes in His audiences had many different reasons they were following Jesus. Realizing these differences, Jesus tells them what would be required for them to be a true follower - a disciple that would believe the messages He taught, teach them to others, and faithfully follow Him through all the trials and tribulations that must be faced in the future. The lesson text, as well as the two parables that follow, were given in order to find those willing to be true disciples of Jesus.

The lesson text tells us, to be a follower of Jesus, we must hate all members of our family to the same extent that we hate our own life. Hate, as it is used here, means to love less. Hate, taken literally in this instance, would defy other passages in God's word that tells us to honor our parents, love family, friends, neighbors, and even our enemies. In other words, to faithfully follow Him, we must love Jesus more than we love, either ourselves, or any member of our families. No doubt Jesus' disciples then, as well as Christians today, are constantly faced with similar decisions.

What would you do if your father or mother would "disown you" and take away your inheritance if you became a Christian? What choice would you make if your wife or husband threatened to leave you if you chose to be baptized into the body of Christ? What if your children, uncles, aunts or any other close relative would ridicule and berate you if you chose to become a Christian? What if you had to give up your job, your friends, or your current manner of life in order to conduct your life in accordance with the will of God? These are decisions that had to be made by disciples during the ministry of Jesus, and must be made by Christians today. You will serve the one you love the most. To serve Jesus, you must love Him the most and yourself, your family, your friends, and all others, you must love less. It may "cost" much to serve Jesus. It may cost us a well-paying job; it may cost us the love of certain members of our family; it may cost us a long, treasured friendship. Jesus wanted His disciples at that time, and He wants you and I today, to count the cost of serving Him. Are we willing to pay the price to complete the commitment we make to serve Him for the remainder of our lives?

This great cost is demonstrated in two parables. Verses 28 through 30 tells us of a man planning to build a tower and how necessary it is to know how much it will cost to complete it. An unfinished tower, one that is only half built, is of no value, and will never serve its intended purpose. To know you have sufficient resources to complete the tower should be assured before you start construction. If not, failure is almost sure. The cost would be great if an army of 10,000 faced an enemy having 20,000 soldiers. Defeat is almost certain, and the cost would be the loss of many lives. Such is the thought in the second parable in verses 31and 32. A king with a much smaller army should take all options into consideration, even, as this parable suggests, negotiating peace to avoid conflict. To faithfully follow Him, Jesus tells us two things that are necessary. We must bear His cross as we follow Him (Vs. 27),and must put Him first in our lives by placing all others second, and ourselves last (Vs. 33). Our own will or the wills of others must never influence us and cause us to compromise His will in our lives. Only in obedience to His will, can we find salvation in heaven. The cost is great, but the reward is much greater!