Be a Peace Maker, Not a Peace Keeper

Were You There

A sermon idea based on Luke 14:25-33.

Luke 14:25-35 NRSV

[25] Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, [26] “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. [27] Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. [28] For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? [29] Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, [30] saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ [31] Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? [32] If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. [33] So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

Angle

The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

Truly following Jesus will require committing ourselves to an ethic and way of life that is bound to divide us from our surrounding culture, but the end result of seeing the rule of God’s kingdom extended around us is always worth it.

Anchor

Information about the text that matters to the message…

We live in a world that operates on a system of values foreign to the values taught by Jesus and modeled within God’s kingdom rule. To live so counter-culturally will definitely cause apprehension by other people who don’t know or understand the Way of Jesus, the Way of love.

Jesus wanted this to be very clear, and for us to continue to follow him knowing the cost.

It’s likely Jesus was continuing to demonstrate the difference between the Way of Love and the way of empire. The way of empire is to conquer and subdue, valuing power over people. The way of love is to serve and value people more than power.

We’re attracted to power. Whole civilizations can fall under the spell of those who promise power to those who want it. So to choose to follow Jesus in the ways of love, nonviolence, and self-sacrifice for the redemption of others is strange and odd. At times, it seems downright offensive.

But this is the Way. And it is the way that is worth following because it brings us and our surroundings into alignment with God and his heavenly rule.

Application

The big call-to-action in the message…

Are there ways in which you’ve held onto the old and selfish ways of thinking instead of letting go to completely follow the example and teachings of Jesus? Consider the cost of totally committing your life to him and then take the next step of surrender.

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About the Cover Art: Wesley, Frank, 1923-2002. Were You There? (Left panel), from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.