Jesus continues teaching in the synagogues and also he continues demonstrating the will of God and the goodness of God as people are healed and set free. And as he is teaching, he is also making disciples as he gives parables saying in Luke 13:18 “What is the kingdom of God like …”. The kingdom of God seems small in the eyes of the natural man, just as the mustard seed is, but there is a great yield that comes from it. As the crowds follow with him to Jerusalem, his message gets stronger as he says a disciple must, in Luke 14:27 “carry his own cross and follow” and in Luke 14:28 “count the cost”. But there is nothing we can leave behind that is as valuable as what we gain, the presence of the holy Spirit in our lives right now and eternal life with God to come.
The Kingdom of God
Jesus is teaching on the Sabbath and notices a woman, disabled. So, he does what he has been doing, declares her free. After healing her, he must rebuke the ruler of the synagogue. Then, Jesus goes on to present two parables beginning in
Luke 13: 18 “Therefore he said, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it?”
First he says in
Luke 13:19 “It is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his own garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky nested in its branches.”
Then he says in
Luke 13:21 “It is like yeast that a woman took and hid in three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”
People often overlook the kingdom of God as a small thing, something unimportant in the affairs of men. But the kingdom of God has tremendous impact on the lives of men. That impact may not be noticed at first, but in the end, everything is changed.
Enter Through the Narrow Door
Blessed Is The One Who Comes In The Name Of The Lord
Is It Permitted to Heal on the Sabbath
Everyone Who Exalts Himself Will be Humbled
The way of the world is different from the way of God’s kingdom. In the world, people drop the name of their powerful acquaintances to raise their stature in the eyes of others. But Jesus is teaching his disciples a different way. Jesus tells them in Luke 14:10 “recline at the table at the last place”. Jesus is teaching them that it is better that the host recognize you and invite you to come closer, this in Luke 14:10 “will be an honor to you in the presence of all”. For this to happen, you must have done something of value, something beneficial, something that blessed them or someone they know. But the one that “exalts himself” is boasting about who they know and what they might do and it is all for show with no substance. Jesus finishes this parable by saying in
Luke 14:11 “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Go Out Into the Highways and Hedges and Press Them to Come
Carry Your Own Cross and Follow Me
Again we find in Luke 14:25 “large crowds were going along with him”. This was coming to the time of the Passover and the men of Israel were to be in Jerusalem. In some ways, this was like the trips he would have taken as a child with his parents from Nazareth to Jerusalem and back (see Luke 2:41-52)1 where the crowd traveled together for several days. Now though, Jesus says something that is hard for us to understand because our English translation says “hate” in
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and furthermore, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple”.
If we consider what Jesus is teaching and read carefully from the original language, we understand that it isn’t hate as in despise but he is talking about taking a step in discipleship where “To come to Jesus is the initial step … Mt. 11:28 … complemented by coming after (ὀπίσω) … μισέω, ‘to hate’, is usually said to have its Semitic sense, ‘to love less’ … At the same time, however, it should be noted that the Hebrew sìānēʾ has the sense ‘to leave aside, abandon’”.2
The message is clear though, that to follow Jesus means putting the kingdom of God first. It means, not just counting the cost but taking on the fulfillment of the mission every day. So, “Just as one should not attempt a venture without having sufficient resources to complete it, but will need to put everything into it in order to be successful, so the disciple must be continually ready (present tense) to give up all that he has got in order to follow Jesus (cf. 9:23; J. Dupont*)”.3
But Jesus was not talking to them into joining his band of rebels who would overthrow the Romans, even though, “When he spoke to them of the kingdom of God, they generally assumed that he was talking about the resurgence of their own nation in a political sense, and that he himself intended to be the new King of the Jews, overthrowing the invader Pilate and the pretender Herod … Jesus was ‘calling not for spectators but for recruits.’ … to throw in their lot with him in commitment.4
- Luke 13:18-21 The Kingdom of God
- Luke 14:7-11 Everyone Who Exalts Himself Will be Humbled
- Luke 14:25-35 Carry Your Own Cross and Follow Me
- Luke 13:18-35
- Luke 14:1-35
- 1. Ritmeyer, Leen (April 8, 2017), Twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple at Passover, https://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/04/08/twelve-year-old-jesus-in-the-temple-at-passover/
- 2. Marshall, I. H. (1978). The Gospel of Luke: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 592). Exeter: Paternoster Press.
- 3. Marshall, I. H. (1978). The Gospel of Luke: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 594). Exeter: Paternoster Press.
- 4. Wilcock, M. (1979). The Savior of the world: the message of Luke’s gospel (p. 147). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.