Lectionary Reflection: Luke 14: 25-33 Entertainment Tonight

Why am I a Christian?  Why are you?  Why is anyone?

They say that Jesus was very attractive.  He had huge crowds that followed him around.    He was like a rock star of sorts, I suppose, an Israeli idol if you will.  People followed him for all sorts of reasons, and not always the right reasons. 

I am one of the few I know who never wondered why shows like Entertainment Tonight and Hollywood Insider are so popular.  Long ago they were called the jet set.  Then it was Beverly Hills 90210.  Then the Hiltons and the Billionaires Boy’s Club and Hollywood actors have always been welcome.  It is the in crowd, and while most of them move with the herd like cattle, it is the in thing to do.  I am sure some people followed Jesus because it was the in thing to do.

I know Betty goes to church for the social network and her husband Bob goes for the business network.  They have admitted as much and see nothing wrong with that.  In fact, Bob was raised Methodist, but there is a competing insurance man who has been a long term member there so the prospects aren’t as good.

Then there were those who only followed Jesus for what they could get out of it; the miracles and healings and feedings.  This much is fairly well documented.  What you might not know is out of all of the people who come down front during a Billy Graham crusade, few become regular church goers.  I had the privilege of working on the Philadelphia Crusade some years ago.  I feel many people just go for the experience.  It is something to tell the grandkids.  There were a half-million kids at Woodstock, but I bet it would be easy to gather a million names of people who claimed to have been there.

Then there were those, I imagine, who followed this holy man so their children could have good moral and educational inspiration.  Brenda brings her kids to Sunday School and, to be fair, she does stay now and then for church.

 Then there were those attracted to the entertainment value, like going to a mega-church.  There was not much to do back then, you know, no TV, radio, video games, computers, iphones or internet…

Then…  Well, Bill come to church because his grandparents helped found the church…

I suppose there are as many wrong reasons for following Christ as there are people.  Broad is the way, you know.  Narrow is the way to salvation, and Jesus said as much.

Here, Jesus is headed for Jerusalem.  He knows the cross is ahead and he is determined to finish the course set before him.  I imagine he was a bit put off by all the people following him for all the wrong reasons, and while what he said was not necessarily meant to turn people off, he knew it would.  Still, he said it because it was worse to let these many followers with the wrong reasons live in their happy self-deluded illusion.  He said, this is the truth of it:

God must come first.  My children are precious to me beyond my calculating.  (I have 4).  I would die for my children, but God must come first.  Children second.

Then he said, don’t even start to follow Christ unless you are prepared to invest everything you have got, because it is going to take your all and then some.  Ooo, big surprise?

Then he said, don’t even start to follow Christ if you are going to quit the minute you see the odds are against you, because if you follow Christ, the odds in this world will be against you.  Ooo, another big surprise?

Look, I understand why people are attracted to shows like Entertainment Tonight and Hollywood Insider, what I don’t understand is why people claim the Bible is hard to read and understand.  It seems perfectly clear to me.

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