Surprised to see the Gospel doesn't change...
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple. For which one of you when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
"Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
"Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle will not first sit down and take council whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace.
"So therefore, no one of you can be my disciple who does not give up his own possessions."
This was our sermon text this Sunday, and honestly I usually shy away from such texts for lack of understanding. But praise to God for Pastor Kozak, because this was one of the most encouraging piece of scripture I've read in a while.
It is truly frightening to read that I must hate my family (How could I, I haven't even met my baby?!), carry my cross (I've seen what that leads to, crucifixion), and give up everything I have (I just keep buying more!!) to follow Christ. The door to Heaven is very small indeed! Pastor Kozak counted the cost of building this tower for us on Sunday and I was left quaking in my pew. Then the veil was torn away with our dear Pastor's own confession, "No, I could never live up to these standards, I cannot defeat this army."
"Phew," I thought, "At, least I'm not alone! Now what? Where's the Gospel in this passage?" But it's there, and without Pastor Kozak's help I would have looked right over it. We have counted our cost, we have determined our small army tainted with sin can never defeat the huge army of God's perfect Law. So we've sent out our council, and the terms of peace have been waged. Christ the Savior is our terms of peace, he will take on our sin and suffer its consequence on our behalf and fit us through that narrow door. He is our mediator and our safety.
This is the sweet good news that rocks us to sleep at night, and penetrates all that gives me hope. Praise be to God for His humbling and defeat on my count, and His glory and victory over all I've (we've) afflicted Him with. "It is finished."
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"