“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:33
This verse is the third reason in this passage that Jesus says prevents one from being His disciple. The first is in verse twenty six where He demands supreme love. Since we are commanded to love our spouse, our parents, our children, other Christians and even our enemies Jesus is surely not saying that we should actually hate them. What He is saying that if we really are a disciple of His our first and greatest love will be easily seen to be Him (cf. Revelation 2:4). An aspect of this love will be to love others as we are often told but it will leave an observer in no doubt that He has the absolute pre-eminence. Anything else is idolatry and rebellion against the first commandment (Exodus 20:3; Matthew 22:37)
The second reason that prevents a person being a disciple of Jesus is that they have other loyalties. Jesus demands supreme loyalty. Anyone who has ambitions of their own has not taken up their “cross.” Taking up one’s cross means to die to one’s own ambitions and will. Not my will but His will is the way of life. It is possible to give the appearance of dying to self without giving loyalty to Jesus. It is cloaked in terms like, “I am doing this for Jesus.” No, you are doing it for the praise of others and the feeling that you are doing good and merit Jesus’ “Well done.” I have heard many testimonies of people who started out this way only to realise later that the Lord was withholding blessing because their motive was wrong.
The third reason why a person may not be a disciple of Jesus is that they are held captive by materialism. The wealth is not the issue but the attachment to it is. Even a relatively poor person can be held captive by material possessions. Jesus came to set the captive free so a disciple is one who is experiencing supreme liberty by not being held captive to temporal possessions or the admiration of others. It is this liberty that makes him free to obey Jesus in any matter. When one knows this liberty in Jesus Christ he will not be held captive to anyone or anything else and is therefore His disciple.
The three excuses for not attending the wedding in the parable preceding this passage (vv 18-20) seem to parallel the three reasons for refusing to be a disciple of Jesus. They all had other priorities that might be considered legitimate and reasonable but they all displaced supreme love and loyalty for Jesus and liberty in Jesus. The things that prevent a person being a disciple may not be evil or wrong in themselves but they become that when they displace Jesus as Lord. We need to be careful that we do not deceive ourselves on any of these points and thereby disqualify ourselves from being a disciple of Jesus. We do want to be profitable servants of his so let us serve with Jesus following His direction and lead and not trying to do something of our choosing for Him.