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THE COST OF BEING A CHRISTIAN

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Prologue

After listen­ing to Jesus’ words to the invit­ees and their host (cf. Luke 14:1.7–14), one of the invit­ees sit­ting at the table with Jesus exclaimed “Blessed is the one who will dine in the king­dom of God” (Luke 14:15). Was this a eulogy, a mock­ery or a fanci­ful dis­trac­tion from the uncom­fort­able theme of caring for the poor and the infirm? Prob­ably, it was both. How­ever, such inter­ven­tion offered Jesus the chance for fur­ther cla­ri­fic­a­tion. ‘In the king­dom of God’ is a ref­er­ence to the eschat­o­lo­gic­al mes­si­an­ic ban­quet. In Jesus’ time, this was under­stood as a ban­quet in which only the pious Jews were qual­i­fied to par­take. Jesus used the story in Luke 14:15–24 to demon­strate that those who think such a ban­quet was meant for them will nev­er be part of it (cf. v.24). Instead, they will be replaced with the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame and the Gen­tiles (cf. vv.21 and 23). While the godly Jews rep­res­ent the rich, the ungodly Jews refer to the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame, and the Gen­tiles. Luke 14:15–24 is a fur­ther elab­or­a­tion and applic­a­tion of 14:1.7–14. It is on this found­a­tion and with this ori­ent­a­tion that we should approach this Sunday Gos­pel message.

The meaning of discipleship

Gen­er­ally, Dic­tion­ar­ies have dif­fi­culty defin­ing dis­ciple­ship. While some attempt to resolve this dif­fi­culty by provid­ing the mean­ings of dis­ciple, oth­ers present it as the state of being a dis­ciple or fol­low­er in doc­trines and pre­cepts. Per­son­ally, this defin­i­tion does not por­tray the Scrip­tur­al notion of dis­ciple­ship. Dis­ciple­ship does not con­sist in fol­low­ing doc­trines and/or pre­cepts. It is not the capa­city to for­mu­late philo­soph­ic­al and theo­lo­gic­al treat­ises on faith and on fol­low­ing Jesus. Dis­ciple­ship is not the test of ora­tor­ic­al ability.

The cost of discipleship

If for the crowd dis­ciple­ship is an ordin­ary accom­pa­ny­ing, a con­voy, for Jesus, it is some­thing extraordin­ary. It is a total com­mit­ment. It is a theo­lo­gic­al assign­ment and respons­ib­il­ity. To the crowd that enter­tained itself accom­pa­ny­ing Jesus, he turned and gave the vade­mecum for being a disciple.

If anyone comes to me without hating…, he cannot be my disciple.

If any­one comes to me and does not hate his fath­er and moth­er, wife and chil­dren, broth­ers and sis­ters, and even his own life, he can­not be my dis­ciple” (Luke 14:26; cf. also Matt 10:37). This is the first con­di­tion for

Epilogue

Dis­ciple­ship is a com­mit­ment and respons­ib­il­ity. He or she who accepts to become a dis­ciple should nev­er think of going back, no mat­ter the dif­fi­culties. This is what Jesus means when he says a dis­ciple must be will­ing and ready to bear the cross and renounce everything. It is not the cross of self-inflic­ted pains. It is not the search for suf­fer­ing. It is the cross of dis­ciple­ship. It is the cross of sal­va­tion. This for­ward-ever-back­ward-nev­er nature of dis­ciple­ship is sum­mar­ised in Jesus’ pray­er at Geth­se­mane: “My Fath­er, if it is pos­sible, let this cup pass from me, nev­er­the­less, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39).

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE:
SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the 23rd Sunday is found in
The Word of Life, vol. III, pages 496–509. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo
or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com
or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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