Today’s Reading: Luke 14:7-35 (additional reading: Psalm 80:1-19 & Proverbs 12:27-28)
The following are actual responses from comment cards given to the staff members at Bridger Wilderness Area in 1996:
- Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill.
- Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the areas of these pests.
- Please pave the trails…Chair lifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them.
- The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals.
- A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call…
- Escalators would help on steep uphill sections.
- A MacDonald’s would be nice at the trailhead.
- Too many rocks in the mountains.
These comments and complaints indicate that the people who made them do not really understand what it means to stay in a “wilderness area.” They were looking for something convenient and comfortable, but not truly a wilderness experience. In a similar way, many people today do not understand what it means to be a genuine Christian. There are multitudes that often follow Jesus or claim to be a Christian but they do so on their terms and not his. They do not truly comprehend the biblical definition of discipleship.
Because of this ignorance there are many who consider themselves to be followers of Jesus who are not, even though in many ways they do look like followers of Jesus. They go to church, have a profession of faith, read their Bibles, pray, even give in the offering, but they are not the real deal or at least are not living and thinking like the real deal. Jesus confronts this problem in our text today. He makes very, very clear what it means to be a Christian, and therefore there is no reason for anybody to be ignorant or self deceived.
A disciple is a true follower of Jesus Christ. In other words, what we would call a “Christian.” If you are a Christian, you are a disciple; if you are not a disciple as Jesus defines it then you are not a Christian. These two terms (Disciple and Christian) mean the same thing.
Jesus words in verse 27, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” could also be phrased as “Anybody who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be a Christian.” That phrasing somehow gets our attention more and clarifies the seriousness of the issue or subject Jesus is teaching about.