^C Luke XIV.25-35.
^c 25 Now there went with him great multitudes [he had hitherto spent but little time in Peræa, and the people were availing themselves of this opportunity to see and hear him]: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. ["Hateth," as used here, is an example of phenomenal speech, or speaking from appearances. In the cases supposed, the person would appear to hate those whom he abandoned for Christ. It is like repent, anger, etc., when spoken of God. To construe the passage literally as enjoining hatred would be contrary to the fifth commandment as re-enacted at Eph. vi.1-3 and Col. iii.20; and also contrary to our Lord's own example (John xix.25-27). Seeing the number of those adherents which now surrounded him, Jesus made use of this striking statement that he might startle each hearer, and impress upon him the wide difference between a mere outward appearance upon him and a real, disciple-like adhesion to him. The latter requires that we be ready to sacrifice all, even our animal life, in so far as it tends to separate from Christ -- Rom. xii.11; Acts xx.24.] 27 And whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. [Christ must be followed and imitated even to the extremity of suffering. The costliness of discipleship is illustrated in the two brief parables which follow.] 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? 29 Lest haply, when he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. [Discipleship is character-building, and shame awaits him who attempts to be a Christian and fails to live up to his profession. Unless his tower rises to the heavenly heights to which it aspired, it is but a Babel at last. The parable is not intended to discourage anyone from attempting to be a disciple. It is meant to warn us against attempting so great an undertaking with the frivolity of spirit and want of determination which insure failure.] 31 Or what king, as he goeth to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel, whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and asketh conditions of peace. [Is the adversary here God or the devil? As warring against God is no part of discipleship, it might seem that the conflict was with Satan. But the case supposed is that of a man who, after counting the cost, is about to decline taking up his cross -- about to rebel against the claims of God. But while in this rebellious state he sees a superior force coming against him. This superior force can not be the devil's, for Jesus could not counsel any to make peace with him, as the parable advises. The superior force, then, is God's, and the lesson here is that however fearful the task of being a disciple may be, it is not so dreadful as to fight against God. As soon as the hesitating man takes in his thought, he will immediately take up the cross which he was about to refuse.] 33 So therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. [The tower can not be built by him who spends his time or squanders his money on other enterprises, nor can the peace be maintained by one who does not fully renounce his rebellion.] 34 Salt therefore is good: but if even the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill: men cast it out. [Our Lord twice before used such language. See pp.234, 433. Salt is here used as a symbol of perseverance. The condition of those who begin the Christian life and fail to persevere is dangerous in the extreme -- Heb. vi.4-12; x.26-39.] He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. [See p.330.]