Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 197 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Luke 14 today and our focus is on The Cost of Following Jesus + Rewards in Heaven and Not on Earth. + Does Jesus Want Us to Hate our Fathers and Mothers? . We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Ouch. Luke 14 doesn’t just sting – it kind of hurts. It hurts the first world understanding that many have of following Jesus merely for forgiveness, entrance into Heaven and blessing. You won’t find many preachers talking the way Jesus does on Sunday morning, because Jesus pulls no punches at all at the end of this chapter. Before we get there, we have Jesus’ teaching on humility, which is very practical, and also very eye opening.

First, Jesus says don’t take a place of honor when you are invited to an event or party – instead, take the lowest place, and when you do, the one who invited you will elevate you in front of everybody. On the surface, this seems quite cagey of Jesus – almost like a sort of party lifehack, but I think this goes well beyond just giving some party advice. Notice how Luke frames this teaching of Jesus: it is a PARABLE – that means a story with an illustration, and often a deeper meaning. In this case, Jesus is giving a practical application of a spiritual reality that He has taught on otherwise, and God the Father vocalized in the book of Exodus:

11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11

The story Jesus tells – a parable – is an illustration of this principle, and doesn’t merely mean take a low seat at a party you are invited to, but live your life in such a way that you are humbling yourself in every situation – not being presumptuous or entitled, but walking in humility. That is the Jesus way.

His next teaching also seems like a parable. On the surface, Jesus teaches us to invite people to a party who can’t invite us to a party and feed/entertain us. What an unusual teaching at first glance, but the point of it is focused on eternal reward, and I think that this teaching is also a parable, and the point of the parable is beautiful and important: Do good, give, include, befriend and invite those who can’t pay you back in any way. Give yourself on behalf of those kind of people. This seems like tough practical advice to follow, but Jesus gives an eternal reason for doing so: When we serve, invite, befriend, help and include those who can’t pay us back, we are storing up treasure and rewards in Heaven – where they will never decay or fade away. Let’s read our passage and then consider the cost of following Jesus:

Why is Jesus talking about us hating our fathers and mothers – doesn’t He otherwise teach us to love, honor and obey our fathers and mothers? Of course He does – so what gives here? I think we are dealing with yet another parable – a teaching that goes beyond the surface to illustrate an important truth. Pastor Tim Keller gives us an excellent and succinct explanation:

He turns to a crowd and says, “If anyone wants to have anything to do with me, you have to hate your father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister, and even your own life, or you cannot be my disciple.” That’s what it means to follow. Hate? What? Of course, because Jesus actually says a number of places you’re not even allowed to hate your enemies, then what in the world is he talking about here with “father and mother and …”?
Here’s what he’s saying. He’s not calling us to hate actively. He’s calling us to hate comparatively. Here’s what he’s saying. He says, “I want you to follow me so fully, so intensely, so comprehensively, so supremely, so emotionally, so enduringly, that all other attachments in your life look like hate by comparison.”…Jesus says, “If you ever say, ‘I’ll follow you if …’ what’s on the other side of that if is your real master, your real goal, and I will not be a means to an end. I will not be used. If you’re going to follow me, I must be the goal.” Jesus is saying, “Don’t come to me because I’m relevant. Don’t come to me because I will make you a better person. Don’t come to me because I will make you happy.”
“Oh,” he says, “I will be the most relevant. I am the most relevant, I’m the most fulfilling, and I’m the most bettering thing, in the universe, but I won’t be to you if you come to me for those things. If you come to me to make you better, I can’t make you better. If you come to me to make you happy, I can’t make you happy. Come to me because I’m your true King. Come to me because I’m the true King you’ve been looking for in everything else. Come to me because I am all a burning joy and strength. Come to me because I am your true Lord, your true Life, your true Way, your true End.”

Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).

Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church, A Church in Salinas, California.

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