3rd Sunday of Hatour – Following Jesus

“Now great multitudes went with Him, and He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own self also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.'” (Luke 14:25-27).

Great Multitudes

Numerously we read about great multitudes crowding Jesus. But few of those who were in touch with Him were saved. Some of these examples are the bleeding woman, Zacchaeus the tax collector, and the born
blind. Those are the ones who knew how to follow Jesus. Not all those walking with Him are true followers.

Some follow desiring the kingdom, desiring for comfort or to partake in eating the bread. The signs amaze

them; they love to walk after Jesus the miracle worker and after Jesus the comforter. But very few souls follow Him till the end. They complete the journey until they reach the orchard and the pains of the cross.

“He turned and said to them.” (Luke 14:25)

Jesus always turns towards those following Him. When He turns towards us, He examines the depth of our hearts, and looks at our intent and out objective for following Him. Wonder why do you follow Jesus in the middle of the crowd? Why are you among the worshippers in Liturgy and Vespers? Why are you among the partakers of the sacraments? The Lord Jesus, in the middle of the crowd, looks at you, examines your heart and adjusts your path.

Condition for becoming a disciple

1- If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father…” (Luke (4:26)

This is the first condition to follow Jesus and to be His disciple. The Lord Jesus doesn’t need your heart by which you love your father, mother, wife, children and…. But He wants it completely empty of the old love experiences. These love experiences that were contaminated with sin and were trapped in flesh, blood and the human entity. Isn’t it the greatest commandment to love the Lord your God from all your heart, all your thought

and all your power (ability)?

Therefore, if you empty your hearts from all human love, then you are not a party of God’s love. He, who bounds by human compassion and labor to be filled with God’s love, is like a bird trying to fly while being tied by a rope to the ground. Ask saint Demiana, and she will teach you how to implement the commandment, because she loved Jesus, her Groom, more than her father, mother, friend or the whole world.

The Lord Jesus, by this condition, He wants to take us out of the boundaries of the dust. Why do I only have to love just my father and just my mother? Is it because they are considered mine and are related to me…? Jesus wants to give us a free unselfish love. It is a filling love for all the fathers, all the mothers, all the brothers, all the relatives and all humanity. Love without boundaries and is unlimited… Love which is free from loving

oneself. Are you capable of loving your enemy? This is impossible… This is beyond human capabilities and above natural limitations. The Lord Jesus gives this Divine love, even to sinners. But what is the way to this love? Begin emptying your heart from the old love; remove your father, mother and brothers from your heart… Then you will receive, from the Lord Jesus, a new Divine love, beyond the natural. Through it, you will love your father, your mother and every person, even your enemy as well. The martyrs, despised the bodily love, and tramped on the human bounds by loving Jesus. So their hearts were full of Divine love even for those who crucify as well as the those who torture… The reason for our strong incapability, in implementing the commandments of the Divine love, is our stead fast in the love according to the human standards and not completely emptying our hearts just for Jesus.

2 – “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

(Luke 14:27)

O my beloved, the Lord Jesus was ahead of us (when He bore His cross) John (19:17). This is the road to eternal life. The cross is not the disasters; the pains and sadness, for these are negative fearsome connotations. The cross is not only death from the world but a life for God. The bearing of the cross definitely ends with the resurrection from the dead. He who doesn’t bear his cross is not a party of the glory of the resurrection. The bearing of the cross distinguishes the true followers from those who just follow Jesus. If you don’t bear your cross and follow Him, you will not be His disciple. Bearing the cross is a daily task… “I protest by your rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Cor. 15:31). The cross is the killing of desires, greediness, love of the world, love of money; all deceiving thoughts, cunnings, defile and pride. The bearing of the cross is abiding by the Divine commandment and sacrificing oneself.

If there was another preferable means for salvation, other than the cross, the Lord would have guided us to it, with out a doubt. Though a lot don’t accept this talk, but it will be the condition for being Jesus’ disciple. In the cross there is salvation, life, security, sweetness, spiritual power, overcoming the world, defeating Satan and the spiritual rejoice. Therefore, if you don’t bear your cross how will you acquire all these things? Don’t you want to be like your Divine Teacher? Or do you reject the cross, and you want to walk in the wide road and the pleasures of this world.

Finally, the Lord said to those following Him, to calculate the cost of following Him before they are cured. It is clear in the saying, ‘Emptying the heart from the old love, to be filled from God, bearing the cross, denying oneself and dying from the world and living for God.’

In reality all of this is not just through human labor, but it is the work of the blessing and the power of the Holy Spirit which was poured in us. This is what completes our deficiency, and guides us in the victorious parade in Jesus till the end.

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