Luke 14:25-35

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

October 3, 2001


Jesus has been having a meal at the house of a prominent Pharisee. 

While there, He was challenged on His practice of healing people on the Sabbath.  Jesus challenged the people that they seemed to care more about helping their animals on the Sabbath than they did people. 

Jesus then talked to the other guests at the party, challenging their proud behavior as they fought over who would have the most prominent seat at the table.  He told them they needed to be humble.

Then Jesus challenged the host of the party and talked about inviting people to a feast who could not pay you back.

He also gave a parable about a great man who invited his guests to a feast, but instead of coming to the feast, the guests only gave excuses – Jesus was talking about how God had invited the Jews to His feast, but they were not responding by following Jesus.

As Jesus continued in His ministry, healing people and challenging the religious beliefs of others, the crowds that followed Him continued to grow.

:25-33 Count the cost

:25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,

there went … withsumporeuomai – to go or journey together; to come together, to assemble

multitudesochlos – a crowd; a throng; a multitude

he turnedstrepho – to turn, turn around; to turn one’s self (i.e. to turn the back to one; of one who no longer cares for another); metaph. to turn one’s self from one’s course of conduct, i.e. to change one’s mind

:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

hate miseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest

soul psuche – breath; the breath of life; the soul; the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.)

cannot be dunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

disciple mathetes – a learner, pupil, disciple

Don’t think of this word as describing some kind of “super saint”. Sometimes we can use the word “disciple” either to conjure up some kind of crazy person wearing long white robes, or some kind of awesome powerful person who performs miracles and calls fire down from heaven.

This is a very simple word. This is simply describing the person who wants to learn more about Jesus, a person who considers Jesus to be their teacher and model.


More than others

We can take this idea of “hate” towards people the wrong way. As we try to understand what Jesus is saying, we need to keep the rest of Scripture in mind. Scripture isn’t going to contradict scripture.
The Bible tells us we are to love one another

(John 13:34-35 KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {35} By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

(1 John 3:11 KJV) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

(1 John 3:16 KJV) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

(1 John 4:7-8 KJV) Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. {8} He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

(1 John 4:11 KJV) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

The Bible also tells us that if we “hate” people (same Greek word), then we must not be followers of Jesus.

(Mat 5:43-44 KJV)  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. {44} But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

(1 John 3:15 KJV) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

(1 John 4:20 KJV) If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

So what does this mean? It means that we must love Jesus and respect His leading above that of any other person. If we love or respect any other person above Jesus, then we are vulnerable because that other person can direct us in ways that are contrary to Jesus.
Jesus had just told a parable about a man who had invited people to a great feast and the excuses he began to receive from his invited guests. One of the excuses was that of family –

(Luke 14:20 KJV)  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

Jesus is now saying that if you love your wife more than you love Jesus, then you cannot be His disciple.


More than self

We are to love Jesus more than our own selves (life), more than our own emotional well being, more than our own comfort.
Here’s where things can get a little confusing.
When is Jesus telling me to do something, and when am I just telling myself that Jesus is telling me to do this?

I have known instances where very spiritually oriented people have chosen to disobey those who were in authority over them. And I’ve heard excuses like, “It’s okay that I disobey my husband because Jesus gave me permission to do that”. The circumstances I’m thinking of weren’t life or death issues. These weren’t issues that are clearly spelled out in Scripture like, “Thou shalt not steal”. These were simple little decisions.

There is a sense in which each of us is covered by a type of “umbrella” of authority.  There are people to whom we are responsible, and we are in a safe place when we obey those in authority.  When you step outside your umbrella of authority and decide to disobey your boss at work, your teacher at school, your parents, or your husband, you need to be very careful that your disobedience is truly let by the Lord an not just by your own “soul”.

The disciples disobeyed the authority of the Sanhedrin. But the Sanhedrin was telling them to stop doing something that Jesus Himself had ordered them to do. The Sanhedrin was telling the disciples to stop preaching the gospel. The disciples’ response –

(Acts 5:29 KJV) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Jesus wants us to honor Him above what makes us comfortable.

:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

bear bastazo – to take up with the hands; to bear what is burdensome

cross stauros – a cross; a well known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections.

afteropiso – back, behind, after, afterwards

cannot bedunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

disciplemathetes – a learner, pupil, disciple


More than pain (consequences)

We have this idea of the “cross” being simply some kind of symbol of Christianity. But as Jesus was speaking this to His disciples, this wasn’t what was in their minds. A cross was the cruelest punishment for the world’s vilest offenders. Jesus was aware that His message was going to offend people and bring responses such as torture and death. This is exactly what happened to His disciples.
We might say in our culture, “whosoever does not bear his electric chair …
From Fox's Book of Martyrs: (pg.6-7) – Persecution of Emperor Domitian –
“Among the numerous martyrs that suffered during this persecution was Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, who was crucified; and St. John, who was boiled in oil, and afterward banished to Patmos. Flavis, the daughter of a Roman senator, was likewise banished to Pontus; and a law was made, “That no Christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted from punishment without renouncing his religion.””
“Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him wth their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days after.”


Take Jesus seriously

What Jesus says is in the face of having lots of people follow Him. Jesus doesn’t just want lots of people following Him, He wants people who are willing to be disciples.
I think we need to be careful when we talk about Jesus to others.  Sometimes our hearts are so concerned that this person is saved, that we can tend to water down the gospel and sugar coat it instead clarifying what a person is choosing to do.

:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

intending thelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish

towerpurgos – a tower; a fortified structure rising to a considerable height, to repel a hostile attack or to enable a watchman to see in every direction

sittethkathizo – to make to sit down; to sit down

countethpsephizo – to count with pebbles, to compute, calculate, reckon; to give one’s vote by casting a pebble into the urn; to decide by voting

the costdapane – expense, cost

to finishapartismos – completion

:29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

is not ableischuo – to be strong; to be strong in body, to be robust, to be in sound health; to have power; to be able, can

to finishekteleo – to finish, complete

that behold theoreo – to be a spectator, look at, behold; to view attentively, take a view of, survey; to see

to mock empaizo – to play with, trifle with; to mock; from paizo – to play like a child; to play, sport, jest; to give way to hilarity, esp. by joking singing, dancing


People are watching

There are people that are observing you, knowing that you are a Christian.  They are watching to see if it’s just “another phase” you’re going through.

:30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

It’s a sad thing to see a building project that has started but sits unfinished.

This kind of thing will happen when the things discussed in verses 26 & 27 aren’t followed.

When you don’t love Jesus more than any other person, your own life, or your own comfort, you will find that you will run out of resources and you’ll want to quit, if not quit.

:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

to makesumballo – to throw together, to bring together; to bring together in one’s mind, confer with one’s self; to encounter in a hostile sense; to fight with one

warpolemos – a war; a fight, a battle; a dispute, strife, quarrel

sitteth kathizo – to make to sit down; to sit down

In both of Jesus’ examples, the person making the decision “sits down” and considers what he is about to do.

It is a wise thing to stop and slow down before you make big decisions.

consulteth bouleuo – to deliberate with one’s self, consider; to take counsel, resolve

This is what President Bush has been doing over the last few weeks, consulting before he makes war.

to meetapantao – to go to meet, to meet; in a military sense: a hostile meeting

:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

a great way offporrho – far, at a distance, a great way off

ambassagepresbeia – age, dignity, right of the first-born; the business normally entrusted to elders, spec. the office of an ambassador, an embassy

sendethapostello – to order (one) to go to a place appointed; to send away, dismiss

desiretherotao – to question; to ask; to request, entreat, beg, beseech

:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

forsakethapotassomai – to set apart, separate; to separate one’s self, withdraw one’s self from anyone; to take leave of, bid farewell to; to renounce, forsake

that he hathhuparchonta – possessions, goods, wealth, property

he cannotdunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

The person who has not done what Jesus says in verses 26,27 will be like the person who fails to complete the building project or who loses the war.

:34-35 Salt

:34 Salt is good:

goodkalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable

salthalas – salt with which food is seasoned and sacrifices are sprinkled

Salt is a flavor enhancer – it makes things taste good.

As Christians, we ought to make the things of God, we ought to help make life “taste good”.

Salt is a preservative.

The world around us stinks, but as Christians we add a preserving quality in the world.  We are what is keeping the world from totally spoiling.

Salt makes you thirsty

As Christians, we ought to make people thirsty for the things of God, thirsty for the Living Water.


Howard Hendricks writes,
I dare you to eat one pretzel. All I have to do is to pick up one of those things, and I’m hooked. The salt in that pretzel creates a desire for more. A number of years ago, when I was a student at the seminary, I was invited to preach in west Texas. You’ve all heard of Nowhere? Well, this was twenty-five miles beyond that. The teeming crowds were gathering—all seventeen of them. (I think it was Rally Day!) I preached with all of the fervor and passion of my heart. When I got through, this tall Texan came up and said, “You were wrong.”
“Well, sir,” I said, “I’ve been wrong on many occasions. Give me the information.”
He said, “In your sermon you made a moronic statement. You said you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. And that ain’t true, ‘cause you can feed him salt.”

-- Howard Hendricks, "Beyond the Bottom Line," Preaching Today, Tape No. 101.

:34  but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

lost his savourmoraino – to be foolish, to act foolishly; to make foolish; to prove a person or a thing foolish; to make flat and tasteless; of salt that has lost its strength and flavour

shall it be seasonedartuo – to prepare, arrange, with respect to food; to season, make savory

(Luke 14:34 NASB)  "Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?

:35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

landge – arable land; the ground, the earth as a standing place; the earth as a whole

the dunghillkopria – dung, manure

fiteuthetos – well placed; fit; useful


Saltiness comes from Jesus being first.

I think that’s the point here.  If we are to be salt in this world, it will never come unless Jesus is first in our life.
If we become more concerned about what people are going to think, about being afraid to talk about Jesus, how will we ever affect the world?

To sum it all up …


Strength comes from commitment

(Prov 24:10 KJV) If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
I don’t like this verse.  But it’s true.  When I’m going through difficult times and I faint or want to faint, my strength is small.  Solomon doesn’t tell us how to have more strength, he simply states the fact.
From our passage tonight, we see that our strength comes from our commitment to Jesus.

When I allow my love for other people to grow greater than my love for Jesus, when I become more concerned about what others will think than what Jesus thinks, I’m going to fail.

When I allow myself to be more concerned about my own “feelings” than serving Jesus, I’m going to fail.

Wild eyed fanatics –

Towards the end of World War II, the Japanese began a desperate attempt to stop the United States Navy.

Kamikaze is the Japanese word for “divine wind.” And divine the wind was in 1281 -- never was a typhoon more God-sent, if one were Japanese. The typhoon crushed the invasion fleet mounted by the ambitious Mongol emperor Kublai Khan (Marco Poli Kublai) in the wake of his conquest of China’s Sung dynasty. To take the wind out of the sails of the United States naval juggernaut, the retreating Japanese organized their own kamikaze — a suicide air force. Navy pilots slammed their bomb-laden planes—and themselves—into American ships in the Pacific. Twelve hundred pilots killed themselves taking out thirty four U.S. ships. (Beyond Trivia)


We now know another taste of what men can do who are willing to give up their lives for their cause.  Nineteen terrorists were willing to spend years training and burrowing into America.  They were willing to give up their lives for their cause as they hijacked and flew the commercial airliners into their targets.  I’ve heard numerous people on TV comment that the fact that these men are willing to die for their cause makes it so much more difficult to stop them.

It is incredibly sad that these men were willing to die for a cause that is based on hate.

Jesus desires that we be willing to die for a cause that is based on love.

The apostle Paul was one of the greatest examples for us to follow. At one point in his ministry, he began to receive warnings through the prophets that he was going to be arrested in Jerusalem. Many people told him that he shouldn’t go to Jerusalem, but Paul knew that Jesus wanted him to go. Paul said,
(Acts 20:22-24 KJV) And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: {23} Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. {24} But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

For Paul, his “cross” was the bonds and afflictions that were ahead. Yet knowing these things were ahead did not stop him from doing his ministry.  These things did not “move” him.  Paul had the strength to keep going because his commitment stayed strong.

(Prov 24:16 KJV)  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again