Lu 14:16 Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 "and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' 18 "But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.' 19 "And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.' 20 "Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' 21 "So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' 22 "And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' 23 "Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 'For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'" 25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- 29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. 34 "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 "It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
This is not your typical Good Friday text, but I chose it because it contains some very valuable reminders for us about what the cross means for our own lives. We know what it meant for Jesus. It meant a slow, painful death.
A death where all the wrath of God against sin was poured out on Him. Good Friday should be a very somber occasion for Christians as we see the high price of our sin. God so loved the world that He allowed His only Son to die in our place. He got what we deserved.
Jesus paid the price for our sins and forgiveness and eternal life are freely given to all who receive Him. “But as many as received Him, to them he gave the right to become children of God.” (Jn 1:12)
In our text, this eternal life is likened to a great supper. This is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and there has never been or ever will be a Feast such as this when Jesus comes back for His church. And all you have to do to be a part of this magnificent feast is believe and be baptized.
The baptism part is simple enough. In baptism, all the benefits of Christ’s life,death, resurrection, and ascension are conveyed to the baptized. It’s the “belief” part that gives most of us trouble.
We don’t want to admit it, but most of us have this foggy notion of belief. We think our mere acknowledgment of the existence of God is enough. But hey, here’s what James had to say about that notion:
Jas 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!
We incorrectly reason that as long as we are basically good people who attend church on a regular or semi-regular basis, we will be just fine on Judgement Day. Again, hear the corrective Word of Scripture on that school of thought:
Isa 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
The fact is, that belief must encompass a complete selling out to Jesus. A complete forsaking of the things of this world for the sake of following Him. That’s the point of His parable.
It’s not that we have to give up the buying and selling of property, or putting our new lawn tractors to the test, or ignore family matters...it’s just that these things must never become more important than Jesus.
After Jesus tells this parable of spurned invitation, He goes on to explain just what it means to accept the invitation. One of the strongest love bonds in the universe is the affection that one has for their family. Father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters.
And Jesus is asking us here to push that affection and all other affections into second place when compared to our affection for the things of God. If we don’t, he flat out says......you cannot be His disciple.....you cannot be a believer.
But that’s not all! He goes on to say that we must put an even stronger affection aside.....namely our love of self. He says, “and whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
Now we may try to sugar coat this, but c’mon. On this day, when we focus in on the cross of Christ....what are we focusing on? His death! The cross is an instrument of death! And when you bore the cross in Jerusalem in the days of Christ...you were a dead man, plain and simple.
So we must all revisit our baptism on a daily basis and reckon our “selves” dead. We must bear our cross throughout the days of our baptized lives. We must have more affection for Jesus and the things of God than we have for our own flesh.
We must be willing to start every day and live everyday with the prayer of Romans 12:1,2 on our lips:
Ro 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This is the cost, all true disciples must count, because it’s the only thing that will get you through this battle we call life. It’s the only thing that will carry you through to the other side. It is the forsaking of all earthly things....that is, putting them in their proper place in respect to God, that constitutes true belief.
Jesus concludes this section with something that at first glance seems out of place. He says:
Lu 14:34 "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?
35 "It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Doesn’t this reference to salt belong in the beatitudes of Mt 5:13
Mt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
When Jesus first spoke these words about salt He said “You ARE.” Not you could be or should be, but you are. In other words a true believer will be salt. And if you are not salt, you will be thrown out. Only good for the dunghill.
He emphasizes the importance of this truth by saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear. In other words....this is vital information for all who would call themselves believers.
The reason Jesus brings this matter of saltiness up in this portion of Luke is so we can understands what it means to be salty. And here’s the main thing the Holy Spirit wants us to learn from this passage:
“The flavor of a Christian is found in his forsaking all.” The flavor (the proof of discipleship and belief) is found in putting Jesus and God above all things. Possessions, family, and even self!
On this Good Friday....look again at the cross. Think of all the things that Jesus forsook in order to make it possible for you and I to receive eternal life. His obedience to and trust of the Father all the way to the cross was proof of this forsaking.
You and I know that it was our sins that put Him on that tree, and we definitely should reflect on that truth on Good Friday, but we also need to examine our own saltiness. Have you forsaken all? Does Jesus hold the number one position in your heart, or have you allowed earthly pleasures, family, and even self to supplant Him on the throne of your heart.
Don’t let the benefits of His death, delivered to us in baptism be wasted because of any unsaltiness on our part. When we close our service tonight, we will have a time of silent reflection. During this time, I would ask that we would consider one thing.
Look upon the cross and hear Jesus say to you and I, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” As we ponder those words, may the Holy Spirit convict us of our sins. May we repent of any lukewarmness in our hearts, and finally, may we be convinced of the depth of His love for us.
For it is our grasp of His love that will enable and empower us to live for Him. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.