Like the rat-a-tat-tat of a machine gun, Jesus told four parables in one blast.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, CSB).
“For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish’ ” (Luke 14:28-30, CSB).
“Or what king, going to war against another king, will not first sit down and decide if he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If not, while the other is still far off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace” (Luke 14:31-32, CSB)
“Now, salt is good, but if salt should lose its taste, how will it be made salty? It isn’t fit for the soil or for the manure pile; they throw it out. Let anyone who has ears to hear listen” (Luke 14:34-35, CSB)
“Now great crowds were traveling with him. So he turned and said...” (Luke 14:25, CSB)
... this is what it means to be a true disciple. A true disciple follows Jesus, all the way, regardless the cost.
Speaking in exaggerated, hyperbolic language, Jesus says that a disciple will love God more than he loves anything or anyone. He doesn’t really mean that we are to hate dear old dad and mom. The fifth commandment is: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12, CSB) and we are commanded to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, CSB) and even “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, CSB).
A true disciple doesn’t build half a tower. He doesn’t quit when he’s half done.
And a true disciple doesn’t fight half a battle. He fights to win!
And pure salt never loses its saltiness. Diluted, impure salt isn’t “fit for the manure pile!”
Is Jesus saying that salvation costs everything? Well, it cost Jesus everything. But the price is paid in full! “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
Discipleship costs everything. “Every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33, CSB).
Hum... Am I a true disciple?