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Jesus turned and said …

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If someone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own self, he is not able to be my disciple. Whoever does not take up his own cross and come behind me is not able to be my disciple. For … … … So therefore, every one of you who does not renounce everything that possesses himself is not able to be my disciple.” (Luke 14: 25)
It’s around AD 30 and “great crowds” accompany Jesus in what is today called Israel. 

Even when politicians, today, have “great crowds” of followers on Twitter or elsewhere, they still try to please them.

Not so, this Jesus. Instead “he turned and said…”. He said things which must have been a real turn-off to his followers.  

But are these statements really, truly, what Jess wants? Maybe the final sentence in bold above contains a clue to the thinking behind them.

What “possesses” yourself? Your father? Your mother? Your wife? Your children? Your brothers? Your sisters? Yourself? “So therefore, every one of you who does not renounce everything that possesses himself is not able to be my disciple.”

A careful reader may have spotted the “For … … …” in the centre of the extract above from Luke’s first-century biography of Jesus. And may (rightly) ask what reason Jesus actually gave for his strong words before and after.

He gave two reasons. First reason: “For who among you, wanting to build a tower, does not first, sitting down, count the cost, whether he has enough to fulfilment? If not, having put down his foundation and not having been able to finish, everyone seeing it may begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began himself to build and was not able to finish.” Self-assessment is vital before tryng to persuade Jess that we're alright - we've got it all together. Veneering will be useless.

Second reason: “Or what king, going out to overthrow another king in war, will not first, sitting down, deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him coming against him with twenty thousand? And if not, the other being still far away he, sending out an ambassador, asks for peace.” If the king’s requirements are too much for us, we need to find an ambassador to send to him on our behalf seeking peace between us. Whom shall we send?

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (From Mark’s 1st century biography)

Sinner Syvret

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