Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 06/09/2010 – 08:57
Year C (2009-2010)
Bible Book: Luke / Lukas
Verse:25 – 33
The Jesus of the Gospels is often a “different” Jesus than the one we meet on a Sunday morning, or in our Bible study groups, or even just talking about Him amongst friends. “Our” Jesus – think of Jesus in art illustrations – is usually a gentle man with a soft smile, holding a child or a lamb in his arms; loveable, peaceful face. Yes, sometimes we do prefer a more heroic Jesus to the romantic Jesus. We understand “the suffering Jesus” … but we will quickly remind ourselves that Jesus is the “strong one” … conquering everything.
Alas, the comfortable, “domesticated” Jesus we prefer to surround ourselves with, is seldom the Jesus we meet in the gospels. There He is portrayed as a provocative figure: a “trouble maker” who challenges the societal systems. He preferred the company of the marginalized; was viewed as a drunkard and a glutton. He called the who’s who harsh names. He was a provocateur! He asked the impossible from his followers!
Just look at Luke 12:51: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division”. Does it shock you? It should! It was intended to shock. What about the words of Jesus in Luke 14:25-33? It is understandable that discipleship implies sacrificing the sinful; lustful, negative things of life. But demanding the impossible – to sacrifice those who sustain us in life (our families and loved ones)? Is that not a brutal demand? Isn’t that why we spiritualize these words of Jesus? Make it softer, so that it is not too difficult to follow … because we don’t really think Jesus will ask such a thing of us.
Or does He?
Jesus asks two things from his followers: sacrifice whom you love and sacrifice what you have. It will come at a cost; therefore, the middle part of the text is important: count the cost. Be clear on what stands between you and following Jesus.
Why is this teaching of Jesus so important for 21st century Christians? As long as we love those closest to us the most, they will be prime receivers of our kindness. It will be difficult to care for the stranger and the marginalized if we view our own families and support systems as more important. To follow Jesus means to “open our arms”, therefore, letting go of those we prefer to embrace. Secondly, as long as we hold on to what we have, our consumerist culture will make us believe that we still do not have enough! How can you part with your belongings, if you believe you have to safeguard it? How can you be generous, if you believe in the myth of scarcity?
To think about or discuss: Can it be that as long as we “spiritualize” the “cost of being a disciple”, we do not have to put it in practice?
Author: R Bezuidenhout (Dr)