Mustard Trees, Leaven, Hate What You Have.

Mustard trees and leaven again, here's the verses - Is there anything to knock the study on he same content in Matthew and Mark's gospels?

For your reference;

-- Click To Expand/Collapse Bible Verses -- Luke ch13:v15-21
Luk 13:15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
Luk 13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
Luk 13:17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
Luk 13:18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
Luk 13:19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
Luk 13:20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
Luk 13:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (KJV)

Nope, nothing wrong at all with the previous study. The reliance of people on their leaders for instruction had left the people with hard teachings, hard burdens with little or no relief, and the whole community led by these traditions far from the heart of God. Initial assumptions before the understanding of the kingdom of God comes, is "leaven" and pollutes sound doctrine - one must be careful to examine all teaching.

Now for some newer content not examined in the previous pages - at last! Jesus' teaching on why one must hate his family, all that he has, and his own life. Seems a tall order, but Jesus is not without extending us the same graces he had, and teaching us of the problems we would face at home or in our community.

For your reference;

-- Click To Expand/Collapse Bible Verses -- Luke ch14:v26-35
Luk 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Luk 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Luk 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Luk 14:29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Luk 14:30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Luk 14:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
Luk 14:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
Luk 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Luk 14:34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
Luk 14:35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (KJV)

I really enjoyed delving into in this passage. Jesus' narrative had just finished the parable of the lord who sent his servants out to find guests to furnish his prepared supper - after all those invited had made their excuses. Whilst the parable is great news; Jesus, unwilling to leave people uninformed of the trials they could face educates the crowd in this respect. In particular reference to the first barrier new converts (or those weighing it up) face - their families and close friends or colleagues' disapproval. Jesus' words are explicit. I'll recount my own experience when I first took my starting orders from God... I can appreciate that things are a lot harder for many people in states not so Christ-friendly (rather liberal societies) and certainly a great deal harder for those in the time of the early church.

The first thing that went through my mind after I began to see the gospels as true, was my family. Not being committed christians, (but perhaps a little more inclined than just an entry on a certificate somewhere) - I worried that if I were to persuade them to take up Jesus as their God it would be a miracle in itself and far too hard for me. Persuading people in the street -complete strangers worried me less as I firmly held that they (family) would not take me seriously. Some are not ardently opposed to the idea that God exists, but that he is any necessary source of morality, or that they have done anything wrong requiring salvation. Favouring atheism over any religion merely because of science, or natural history, (with them) I felt that I was as without honour as Jesus was with his former neighbours.

I thought of the cost I could face dedicating my life to changing this situation. Not in terms of what it would take to succeed, but that I could waste my entire life not doing so and looking back, had spent my life in a profitless undertaking. Thinking that I would be ridiculed or set up as some example of idiotic shame (and I have been by others periodically) for my faith: The cost of this in foresight was bearable to me, but I considered weighing it up - I thought I would be of more help to others (strangers) and had to set aside my family for my own sake (v 26).

I decided I had to follow Jesus into death still believing to gain my eternal reward. (v27) By realising in the case of family I could not imagine the cost; I left it up to God to use someone else for the task, and as then and still now I pray for them. Whilst I built my tower of faith in front of others, (perhaps you) I can safely avoid any mocking (self inflicted or otherwise) that I am a failure with respect to my family, because I am not building that tower which I am pretty certain would have been smaller than I should aim to make it. (v29-32)

Whilst leaving Jesus in charge over my family, and leaving it to strangers whilst I went to church (though I am now no longer a churchgoer) and talked to neighbours, friends and whoever would listen about the gospel, In trusting some other servant of God to reach my family I reckoned that I could quite happily follow Jesus into death, where I am sure he may pull me out of that particular pit. (v33) It is not also unsurprising that I had to make a similar decision leaving my church.

If I tried as hard as I could with my family, I would lose a some of them for good in this life I'm sure. Still, some are churchgoers and even read the bible. Some do not go to church but also read the bible - Some, I have given bibles and they have assured me they'll read them - Others I hope will never think mistakenly that I consider them a lost cause or a waste of time, or that I hate them for being 'disgusting and damned sinners bound for hell...' If they honestly thought that was my opinion then they shouldn't complain because they don't believe in the God of the bible.

I would literally wear myself down trying to gently influence them, or convince them or barring some miracle (which shouldn't be included in this sentence) persuade them all to Christian faith. I would be pretty despondent from failure with my own faith after many years of failure. What if I just gave up altogether? Or, perhaps more dangerously in the wider view, lost all passion for my faith? (v34-35)

Jesus' disciples had left all, their wives, children and employment to follow Jesus; There is no evidence in their case they were advised never to look back to rejoining their families by Jesus telling them to "hate them" to give them a reason to continue spreading the good news of the gospel over family life. Jesus simply required of his chosen that they love him more, to the point that faced with a choice, they love Him only in such matters. The strength of the family unit has been and always shall be the bedrock of a moral civilisation, and also biblical Christianity. When all family bonds are severed by a higher authority, marriage repealed and children seized and re-educated by the state, these societies do not last forever. There is only one example of any such thing happening that is approved by God; marriage itself, and this is not a severing of bonds, but a joining.

Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (KJV)

Jesus was not instructing his disciples to destroy the purpose of man that builds stable society (v26), but he was advising that if people consider "what the missus will think now I am Christian, since she is an atheist,. (boy my life will be hell!)" when they are converted, unless they put Jesus first, and everyone else equal last, they can not follow Him in good conscience. - better still, don't consider anyone else at all - just you for Christ. In choices of God versus anyone, including family it is the case that family matters as nothing.

You can't put off God because of what anyone you know will think of you. If you come up against this family opposition in any way other than imagining it, and compromise continually - then you have missed the point of this passage. In revelation Jesus charges;

Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (KJV)

I would rather be hot or cold myself; If I were hot with my family I would eventually become lukewarm, but if I let Jesus use others, They can remain hot because they are many. Likewise I can remain hot towards others - because I can move on after rejection without breaking my own heart.

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