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Luke 14:33

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Luke 14:33, ‘…any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.’

V.33 is the summarizing statement for vs 25-33…and these are hard words. ‘So every one of you who does not renounce / send away / take leave of all the things he possesses cannot be my disciple.’ Wow…cars, clothes, computers, mobile devices, money, home, food, appliances, education, privacy, security, health, etc. etc…..all things released….all things ‘sent away.’ Jesus actually says this. And it’s not a call to the ‘super disciples,’ this is the bare minimum….apart from this, no one can be His disciple.

Does this mean true disciples must literally get rid of everything they own? I don’t think so, at least not in every circumstance (clearly, there are times when this is precisely what Jesus demands, 18:22). We see disciples in Acts and the Epistles who still possess homes etc…which makes me think the point here is not to actually sell everything now, but to live as though all is already released, as though all is already given up, as though all is already sent away. To hold ALL with open hands…counting all things as loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil.3:8).

In this image, the disciple of Christ has been severed from his bonds to the world through his death and resurrection in Christ (imaged by his cruciform posture and the opening mouth of the tomb behind him). The cross-like pattern of his body also points to Christ’s call to take up the cross and follow Him, which ultimately means to live of life of Calvary-imaging, self-giving love, untethered to the ‘stuff’ of this world. And the commands in this passage—though they may sound stringent to our ears—are ultimately a call to follow JESUS, to be with JESUS, thus, the man’s head is haloed in a seven-fold vine branch, showing that his pursuit and joy and glory is found in an abiding union with Jesus Christ. The fruits on the branches are another reminder that the result of this world-severed abiding in Jesus will be works of Christ-like love in the world.

May we take these words seriously, and may the Lord Himself give us wisdom to know what obedience to them looks like in our particular context.