Luke 14:25-33

Counting the Cost

14:25 Now large crowds were accompanying Jesus, and turning to them he said, 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 14:27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 14:28 For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and compute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 14:29 Otherwise, when he has laid 10  a foundation and is not able to finish the tower, 11  all who see it 12  will begin to make fun of 13  him. 14:30 They will say, 14  ‘This man 15  began to build and was not able to finish!’ 16  14:31 Or what king, going out to confront another king in battle, will not sit down 17  first and determine whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose 18  the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 14:32 If he cannot succeed, 19  he will send a representative 20  while the other is still a long way off and ask for terms of peace. 21  14:33 In the same way therefore not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions. 22 

sn It is important to note that the following remarks are not just to disciples, but to the large crowds who were following Jesus.

tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

tn This figurative use operates on a relative scale. God is to be loved more than family or self.

tn Grk “his own soul,” but ψυχή (yuch) is frequently used of one’s physical life. It clearly has that meaning in this context.

sn It was customary practice in a Roman crucifixion for the prisoner to be made to carry his own cross. Jesus is speaking figuratively here in the context of rejection. If the priority is not one’s allegiance to Jesus, then one will not follow him in the face of possible rejection; see Luke 9:23.

tn Grk “and come after.” In combination with the verb ἔρχομαι (ercomai) the improper preposition ὀπίσω (opisw) means “follow.”

tn The participle καθίσας (kaqisas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

tn The first illustration involves checking to see if enough funds exist to build a watchtower. Both ψηφίζω (yhfizw, “compute”) and δαπάνη (dapanh, “cost”) are economic terms.

tn Grk “to complete it, lest.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation and ἵνα μήποτε ({ina mhpote, “lest”) has been translated as “Otherwise.”

10 tn The participle θέντος (qentos) has been taken temporally.

11 tn The words “the tower” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

12 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

13 tn Or “mock,” “ridicule.” The person who did not plan ahead becomes an object of joking and ridicule.

14 tn Grk “make fun of him, saying.”

15 sn The phrase this man is often used in Luke in a derogatory sense; see “this one” and expressions like it in Luke 5:21; 7:39; 13:32; 23:4, 14, 22, 35.

16 sn The failure to finish the building project leads to embarrassment (in a culture where avoiding public shame was extremely important). The half completed tower testified to poor preparation and planning.

17 tn The participle καθίσας (kaqisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

18 tn On the meaning of this verb see also L&N 55.3, “to meet in battle, to face in battle.”

19 tn Grk “And if not.” Here δέ (de) has not been translated; “succeed” is implied and has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Grk “a messenger.”

21 sn This image is slightly different from the former one about the tower (vv. 28-30). The first part of the illustration (sit down first and determine) deals with preparation. The second part of the illustration (ask for terms of peace) has to do with recognizing who is stronger. This could well suggest thinking about what refusing the “stronger one” (God) might mean, and thus constitutes a warning. Achieving peace with God, the more powerful king, is the point of the illustration.

22 tn Grk “Likewise therefore every one of you who does not renounce all his own possessions cannot be my disciple.” The complex double negation is potentially confusing to the modern reader and has been simplified in the translation. See L&N 57.70.

sn The application of the saying is this: Discipleship requires that God be in first place. The reference to renunciation of all his own possessions refers to all earthly attachments that have first place.