67 Stand on the guard post

Luke 14:25-35
Habakkuk 2:1-3
T If we aim to be disciples of Jesus

A text of this morning begins, "Now great multitudes were going along with Him." (25). The place name of this scene is not written down in the Bible, but probably, it will say that the party of Jesus has begun to go around towns villages of Perea. This district is located in the east bank of the Jordan; it is not so wide, and the East-West width is around 20 kilos, however, the south end and the north end is long with approximately 100 kilos, and the south end originates to the middle of the Dead Sea and the north end spreads to the north of Samaria district. However the most is in the desolate highlands approximately 1,000 meters and has a little rain, and the cultivation of an olive and the grape is carried out in the middle zone of a mountain, and in the lower part there is the wheat field; but, it is not the environment where a person can live. The place a person can live is only the place along the Jordan. Because an area to the Dead Sea is the wasteland, it seems that a party of Jesus has gone north along the Jordan. Because there is it at 17:11, "And it came about while He was on the way to Jerusalem, that He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.", this patrol to towns villages of Perea seemed to be the last trip to Jerusalem.

It is thought a large number of people who accompanied Jesus were disciples who followed from Galilee, and the people who became newly disciples; and most of them were sympathizers of Perea. Jesus said to them. "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (26)

This is very violent remark. Especially, when we hear it, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife...", we seem to reject it unintentionally; but, originally, this "hate" has a meaning of "avoid" (Deuteronomy 21:15) in the Old Testament that it became the model, and Aramic has a meaning of "to love more fewer". Would it take consideration into such nuance? A certain Japanese Bible chooses soft way of speaking "abandoning". Because they thought that Jesus cannot say in such a cruel thing, people seemed to suppose the real intention in various ways; but probably we must hear it, "hate", literally here, without weakening the meaning of a word, and doing a strained interpretation. If we aim to be disciples of Jesus, we must pay such a sacrifice, He is expecting that we hear it..

U Build the tower

Jesus is going to go through Perea now. It ticked away one step of the way to the cross which approached close. "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (27); this may put the martyrdom of disciples on top of His own cross. Because originally the cross was an execution method of Rome for the grave offense criminal, we can hear these words point to hardship, the martyrdom that the disciples may receive. The word "his own cross", it is felt such nuance. When the time of the church comes, the martyrdom of disciples would come rapidly because they become independent evangelist. Disciples were questioned whether they have such readiness or not. While taking into consideration the times of the Acts that it becomes the reality, would Luke write this article? Persecution becomes fierce, and disciples become a martyr in sequence... Such times last after the Acts. Because Luke saw the curtain of such times opened out, he would write this message for the encouragement to all foreigner churches which born in sequence.

Two examples to continue asked about the stance of such disciples again. "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'" (28-30), "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace." (31-32)

"A tower" is the lookout tower in the corner of the castle wall which an ancient city state has set up. It was also a playmaker to ascertain quickly what kind of strategy of enemy developed on how much scale. Disciples who would take an active part at the work of missionary, they would enter the tower above all and had to investigate a policy to win for a fight of the faith. How? Habakkuk says it in this way. "I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved." (2:1) The thing we have to ascertain, it is an answer of the Lord for our prayer. It is asked whether you can build that tower. It will be able to say that the tower is a prayer and the trust to the Lord. If we can build the tower which is the big pipe with our Lord, to fight, Lord Himself participates in that war; therefor, we do not be afraid. Why the disciples of the early church were able to go out without hesitation like that? The tower was there..

V Stand on the guard post

This is the advice to modern us. If we hear it so, I think that two continuing conclusions will affect to our heart. It is from the first conclusion. "So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions." (33) "Give up all his own possession", it means that he does not depend on his property, and to depend on the Lord first. It is natural, but we often depend on our own belonging. Though the Lord gave us even it, but we forget it. There is it, "when he has laid a foundation", but will it point at the confession of faith? It may be said that it is a baptized stage. However, the fight of the Christian begins in there. After we win that fight, we become a recognized "disciples" by the Lord for the first time. Extremely important partner of that battle (enemy) is money; we want to remember it. The eye of Luke seems to be applied to the difference between sympathizer and disciple, here.

We will hear it from another conclusion. "Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (34-35) "If salt has become tasteless", it is strange as a way of speaking, but, original meaning points at "to lose the effect", it is the worthless state as salt. The salt was halite to produce from the Dead Sea outskirts, but it seemed that people used small amount of pure salt which was taken out from there for seasoning and corruption prevention of the food, and people sowed the low crude salt of the purity in a field and used to prevent the breeding of various germs. The part which could not distinguish a rock or a salt, was done to the road metal of the road. Matthew says, "trampled under foot by men" (5:13); it points at it. The things the Lord demanded from disciples, it will be the helpful way as pure salt and the crude salt. Because it is salt, of course, it helps seasoning of the food, but Luke seems to rather take the prevention of corruption seriously. Because, disciples who are going to be sent out to people with the Gospel, had to face a crime of the people (prisoner of the Satan, including me). They were suggested to enter the tower to get the answer of the Lord for their prayer, but at the same time, they would be going to carry the role of the prophet, to foresee even the movement of the world and of inside of the heart of people, and to give warning. Do we modern have the consciousness that we have been entrusted with such heavy ministry by the Lord? It is said "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (35); but we want to learn that to enter the tower is to listen to the word of God, and to reply to it.