Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “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. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “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? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “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? 32 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. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Luke 14.25–35, NIV)
The cost of discipleship is large … it is your entire life.
Why do we react against the idea that we should “hate our own life?” Does Jesus really want us to hate ourselves? If not, what is he meaning here?
How would the people hearing Jesus’ message reacted to the idea of “picking up a cross?”
How are you being salt in the world in which you live?
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:51 , NIV)
“Mary treasured in her heart that Jesus was in his Father’s house and that he went back to Nazareth and was obedient. This has always reminded me as a parent to treasure my boy’s good choices and good behavior in my heart so on the days that maybe that wasn’t the case I could remember they were still growing in wisdom and stature.”
In what ways might it have been difficult for Jesus to be obedient to his parents? Do you think Jesus ever thought about doing something that might have gotten him placed in “timeout?”
In what ways are you intentional about begin obedient to your parents? To God?
If you are a parent, you have opportunity to nurture children to be obedient in some special ways. How have you attempted to do this?
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36 , NIV)
“Because it shows that you should be kind even if someone is mean.”
How has God shown mercy to you and others you know?
Why is showing mercy to someone such a challenge, at times? Why do you think the world advocates more a system of getting back at one another than one that seeks mercy?
What are ways you can show mercy to others today?
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” (Luke 9:18–20 , NIV)
Peter’s confession of Jesus as God’s Messiah was what we might call a game-changer. This one who was sent by God was the one to redeem the world … even if the way he went about doing so did not look exactly like his followers expected.
If Jesus was going to ask the same question he did in verse 18 to us today, how would we answer: Who do the crowds say that I am?
Why do you think people had such a difficult time understanding who Jesus was? Why do they still have a difficult time doing so today?
What does it mean for Jesus to be God’s Messiah?
One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.” (Luke 5:17–26 , NIV)
“I have always loved this story. What wonderful friends this man had. Friends that had faith that Jesus would heal him. Friends that went into action. It reminds me sometimes when our friends don’t have the strength to carry themselves we need to carry them in prayer and sometimes physically carry them. And hopefully we have friends that will do this for us.”
Think about a time when you were committed to do anything–anything–for a friend. What caused you to be focused on doing whatever was necessary for this friend, regardless the cost to you?
What could this paralyzed man offer his friends?
What remarkable things have you see God do today?
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36–37, NIV)
The point of our parable is not who is our neighbor, but how do we be a neighbor.
Why do you think this wise teacher of the law wanted Jesus to answer the question of how to inherit eternal life? In what ways do we ask similar questions?
As you think about what it means to follow Jesus, what are ways you try to justify yourself, that you are either following Jesus enough or that certain aspects of following him do not really matter all that much? How do we keep from doing this?
To whom can you be a neighbor today?
“ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ” (Luke 15:31–32, NIV)
“Luke 15 is an amazing passage detailing the importance of our seeking out those who are lost, yet also having comfort that we are God’s and do not have to fear the certainty of our relationship with him.”
When you read the three stories in Luke 15, what is similar and what is different? Why are these things important for our understanding the point of the chapter?
How do you think you would have reacted to the younger son who took everything and left if you had been the father? If you had been the older son?
Why do you think it is so easy for people to worry about themselves more than it is those who are lost?
“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ” (Luke 17:7–10, NIV)
“This section talks about the expectations we have for our obedience. We are to serve for the Lord without reward for correct behavior. We are to do right because it is right, not for some benefit.”
The image of a servant such as this may seem foreign to us, yet what expectations do we have of the people who serve us?
What are some ways you have acted simply because it was the right thing to do, not because it was because you were getting something for it?
Why is it so easy for us to assume we deserve something for simply doing what we ought?
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36–50, NIV)
How do we think about people who are “sinful?” Do we see people like Jesus does?
How do you think we would react if someone came into one of our times of worship whom we knew to be a “sinner?” Why do we tend to react in negative ways toward such people?
How have you been forgiven? How often do you stop to recognize–and thank God–for that forgiveness?
In what ways can we demonstrate love towards those who are seeking his forgiveness, even if they have lived lives outside of what we might consider “decent moral behavior?”
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10.2, NIV)
Do we include in our prayers a request for people to go and share God with those in the “harvest field?”
In your estimation, would you say the harvest is plentiful or sparse? What causes you to think this?
We at times will pray for specific individuals we want to hear about Jesus, but how often do we pray for the people who will take that message to those people?
Someone once said: Don’t ever ask God to do something you are not willing to have him do through you? How willing are YOU to be the harvest worker sharing Jesus with others?