Luke 14 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“Now the great crowds were traveling with Him. So He turned and said to them: ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, and even his own life – he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.’” Luke 14:25-26
I have been in the music business for almost two decades. During that time, I have traveled all over the world and performed concerts in all 50 of the “United” States…over 1000 concerts. From this unique vantage point, I have observed many different types of “Christian” congregations, and their perceived requirements for salvation. Some believe a person must simply believe. Others require believers to be baptized. Sill, others demand a follower speak in strange tongues. The list goes on.
I have never seen a congregation that required, as a sign of authentic faith, their members to take up a cross. But this is exactly what Yeshua is saying is a non-negotiable, pertaining to true salvation. He says, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” If most “mega churches” emphasized this teaching, they would be destined to become “mini churches”, overnight.
So, what was Yeshua getting at?
He wasn’t telling people to become sadistic, unloving, ungrateful, or ungracious. He was teaching those following Him around the cost of discipleship. Nothing, not even love for father, mother, or even one’s own life, is to take precedence over loyalty to G_d. We must renounce all that we have, acknowledging that if G_d is to be foremost in our lives, then possessions and even social relationships, must be secondary to Him.
Yeshua’s challenge would not be foreign to the average religious Jew. Remember what happened on the day the law was given by Moses. In response to Israel’s worship of the golden calf, Moses saw that the people were out of control.
“And Moses stood at the camp’s entrance and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.’ And all the Levites gathered around him. He told them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Every Man fasten his sword to his side; go back and forth through the camp from entrance to entrance, and each of you kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’” Exodus 32:26-27
The Levites obeyed the command and 3000 men fell dead that day. Because of their self-less faith, the Lord chose the Levites to be His priests.
Obviously, Yeshua is not commanding His followers to kill people!! Rather, He is emphasizing how important it is for us to follow Him above all other relationships. Being a follower of Messiah means more than merely acknowledging some Biblical facts about Yeshua. It means we should make Him the center of your life and not allow anything (or anyone) to come between you and your relationship with Him.
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Sunday, June 16, 2013