Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Jesus was speaking to a large crowd that travelled with Him, saying that there would be sacrifices necessary if they were to be true disciples. It was a hard lesson but one they needed to hear in order to understand what was being asked of them. Jesus tells them honestly that it will not be easy.
He tells us that there will be opposition from the world when we try to change our hearts and lives. Others may not be willing to make the commitment necessary to follow Jesus, and there will be pressure from them for us not to change either. Jesus wants us to be prepared for the fact that our friends and even our own families may argue against us becoming disciples.
Jesus also knows that the strongest opposition we face may be from within. Changing our world is hard; changing ourselves is harder still. Old patterns and behaviors are often so familiar they resist reforming. He tells us very plainly what is required to be part of His work, giving up our own selfish ways and hearing what God intends for us.
Loving Lord, we are weak in spirit, wanting to follow You but unable to give up the things of this world. Strengthen us with Your love that we may be freed from our willfulness and follow You in faith. Amen.