The last lecture

In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33

One of the things Jesus talked about on his way to Jerusalem to die was what it cost to be a disciple. And the cost, he warned his followers, is very great. He said the price of discipleship is that you must be willing to leave your parents, take up a cross and forsake everything.

Actually, he didn’t say you have to be willing to do it. He said you had to actually do it. “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” But one of the theme ins Christ?s final lectures might surprise you. He talked about money.

Now of all the gospel writers, Luke was the most interested in what Jesus had to say about this topic. Perhaps this is because he was a doctor, a person of means himself. And perhaps it was because his immediate audience, people like Theopolis, were also wealthy.

In the conversations Luke records during Christ’s final days, Jesus was often talking to the ruling class, the Phraisees and others trying to trick him and ensnare him. It is in this context that he tells them to pay their taxes, because Caesar’s image is on the coin.

But he was often also talking to his own disciples, who were people with means. Matthew was a tax collector. And although we sometimes think of Peter and the others as poor fisher folk, they were in fact independent business men in a thriving industry. Peter’s mother-in-law, for example, had a home big enough for all of them to stay at once.

In fact, Jesus and his disciples were surrounded by wealthy benefactors and Jesus himself was probably middle class, with a father who was a carpenter in a time when the Romans were busy building near his home town of Nazareth and where there was plenty of work to be had. Jesus himself probably had a Game-Boy.

So he knew what a distraction and a temptation money could be and would be, for his disciples?who were immediately after his death, as you recall, back out on their boats. And he knew what a distraction and temptation it would be for us.

So he talked about money. A lot. Check back to see what he said.

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