Luke 14:32
Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
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(32) Desireth conditions of peace.—Literally, the things that make for peace. The phrase is the same as that in Luke 19:42, “the things that belong unto thy peace.” Are we to see any special significance in this addition to the general teaching of the previous verse, and if so, what is it? The answer seems to be that what our Lord teaches is the necessity of thoroughness in what we do. If we cannot make up our minds to the cost involved in warring against the world and its evil, we had better come to terms with it, and live in such peace as we can thus gain. If we shrink from the thought of fighting against God, we had better accept His conditions of peace. The worst folly of all is to enter into the conflict with a wavering will, not caring to know what “the things belonging to our peace” actually are, or to endeavour to stand apart in an impossible neutrality. Taking the highest application of the parable, He who spoke it had counted the cost, and therefore carried on the war with evil to the last, and would make no terms with it.

14:25-35 Though the disciples of Christ are not all crucified, yet they all bear their cross, and must bear it in the way of duty. Jesus bids them count upon it, and then consider of it. Our Saviour explains this by two similitudes; the former showing that we must consider the expenses of our religion; the latter, that we must consider the perils of it. Sit down and count the cost; consider it will cost the mortifying of sin, even the most beloved lusts. The proudest and most daring sinner cannot stand against God, for who knows the power of his anger? It is our interest to seek peace with him, and we need not send to ask conditions of peace, they are offered to us, and are highly to our advantage. In some way a disciple of Christ will be put to the trial. May we seek to be disciples indeed, and be careful not to grow slack in our profession, or afraid of the cross; that we may be the good salt of the earth, to season those around us with the savour of Christ.Or else - If he is not able. If he is satisfied that he would be defeated.

An ambassage - Persons to treat with an enemy and propose terms of peace. These expressions are not to be improperly pressed in order to obtain from them a spiritual signification. The general scope of the parable is to be learned from the connection, and may be thus expressed:

1. Every man who becomes a follower of Jesus should calmly and deliberately look at all the consequences of such an act and be prepared to meet them.

2. Men in other things act with prudence and forethought. They do not begin to build without a reasonable prospect of being able to finish. They do not go to war when there is every prospect that they will be defeated.

3. Religion is a work of soberness, of thought, of calm and fixed purpose, and no man can properly enter on it who does not resolve by the grace of God to fulfil all its requirements and make it the business of his life.

4. We are to expect difficulties in religion. It will cost us the mortification of our sins, and a life of self-denial, and a conflict with our lusts, and the enmity and ridicule of the world. Perhaps it may cost us our reputation, or possibly our lives and liberties, and all that is dear to us; but we must cheerfully undertake all this, and be prepared for it all.

5. If we do not deliberately resolve to leave all things, to suffer all things that may be laid on us, and to persevere to the end of our days in the service of Christ, we cannot be his disciples. No man can be a Christian who, when he makes a profession, is resolved after a while to turn back to the world; nor can he be a true Christian if he "expects that he will" turn back. If he comes not with a "full" purpose "always" to be a Christian; if he means not to persevere, by the grace of God, through all hazards, and trials, and temptations; if he is not willing to bear his cross, and meet contempt, and poverty, and pain, and death, without turning back, he "cannot" be a disciple of the Lord Jesus.

28-33. which of you, &c.—Common sense teaches men not to begin any costly work without first seeing that they have wherewithal to finish. And he who does otherwise exposes himself to general ridicule. Nor will any wise potentate enter on a war with any hostile power without first seeing to it that, despite formidable odds (two to one), he be able to stand his ground; and if he has no hope of this, he will feel that nothing remains for him but to make the best terms he can. Even so, says our Lord, "in the warfare you will each have to wage as My disciples, despise not your enemy's strength, for the odds are all against you; and you had better see to it that, despite every disadvantage, you still have wherewithal to hold out and win the day, or else not begin at all, and make the best you can in such awful circumstances." In this simple sense of the parable (Stier, Alford, &c., go wide of the mark here in making the enemy to be God, because of the "conditions of peace," Lu 14:32), two things are taught: (1) Better not begin (Re 3:15), than begin and not finish. (2) Though the contest for salvation be on our part an awfully unequal one, the human will, in the exercise of that "faith which overcometh the world" (1Jo 5:4), and nerved by power from above, which "out of weakness makes it strong" (Heb 11:34; 1Pe 1:5), becomes heroical and will come off "more than conqueror." But without absolute surrender of self the contest is hopeless (Lu 14:33). See Poole on "Luke 14:28"

Or else, while the other is a great way off,.... Upon his march, with resolution to come up and give battle, though as yet at a distance:

he sendeth an ambassage; or men, with an embassy to him:

and desireth conditions of peace; greatly to his disadvantage and reproach: so to give out, and leave off fighting with sin, Satan, and the world, and make peace with them, is shameful and scandalous; but on the other hand, such who have engaged in this war, should pursue it with rigour and courage; considering that God is on their side; that Christ is the captain of their salvation; that the Spirit of God that is in them, is greater than he that is in the world; that angels encamp around them; that it is a good cause they are engaged in; that they have good weapons, the whole armour of God provided for them; are sure of victory, and shall at last enjoy the crown of life, righteousness and glory.

Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
32. desireth conditions 0f peace] This is sufficient to overthrow the interpretation which sees Man and Satan in the warring kings. Another view is that it implies the hostility of man to God, and the urgent need of being reconciled to Him (e.g. Bengel says on the word ‘king,’ “Christiana militia regale quiddam”). That however is never a calculated hostility which deliberately sits down and expects to win the victory; otherwise it would be a good inference that “a Christian’s weakness is his strength.” It is a mistake, and one which often leads to serious errors, to press unduly the details of parables; as when for instance some would see in the 10,000 soldiers a reference to the Ten Commandments. The general lesson is—Do not undertake what you have neither the strength nor will to achieve, nor that in which you are not prepared, if need be, to sacrifice life itself.

Luke 14:32. Ἐρωτᾷ, he beggeth) The king finds it an easier matter to prevail on himself to expend [to expose to the risks of war] an army, than to beg a peace. This begging of peace, therefore, expresses the hatred of one’s own soul, wherewith one, having utterly denied self, gives himself up to dependence on pure and unmixed grace. We may also, by changing the figure, understand peace as the avoidance of hatred on the part of his own people, which is a bad kind of peace.[152]

[152] In this view faith will constitute “the good fight,” which ought to be persevered in, and no false compromise be made with the spiritual enemy without for the sake of escaping hatred at home, i.e. among one’s friends, or for the sake of indulging self, in the indulgence of the indolence as to the spiritual fight, so natural to us: this would be saying, “Peace, peace, where there is no peace,” Jeremiah 6:14; Isaiah 57:21.—E. and T.

Luke 14:32Asketh (ἐρωτᾷ)

On a footing of equality: king treating with king. See on Luke 11:9.

Conditions of peace (τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην)

Lit., this looking toward peace: preliminaries. Compare Romans 14:19, things which make for peace (τὰ τῆς εἰρήνης, the things of peace).

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