Are the Demands of the Gospel Unreasonable?

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 own 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 a 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 consider 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 for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. (Luke 14:26-33)

Is it unreasonable to obey the gospel as spoken by Yahshua, the Messiah in Luke 14? The gospel is unreasonable to those who are not willing to do God's will.1 Is God unreasonable? It seems that way to many Christians today, as they are taught that any effort to obey Yahshua's word disqualifies them from the free gift of eternal life. Yet Peter said the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God.2 And Yahshua Himself said, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."3 And again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death."4

The kingdom reign of Messiah is unreasonable to the natural man5 and unattainable to the carnal man.6 But to the faithful, the way is very narrow and hard,7 but not unreasonable, for it is attainable for the spiritual man. For those who see the worth of Messiah and understand the nature of eternal life, it is unreasonable to not obey the gospel for Him. Nothing less than total surrender of one's life will bring about the witness of His transcending life on the Earth.

If one is satisfied with a comfortable, status quo, Sunday-go-to-meeting existence,then the demands of Yahshua's gospel would seem unreasonable. For it would be considered irresponsible by this world's standard to not provide for yourself a good home, nice things, a college education for your children, and a comfy retirement. But it would require great complexities of reasoning to imagine that Yahshua was envisioning such a life when He preached the so-called "hard sayings" of the gospel.

The Rich Young Ruler

The rich young ruler came to Yahshua, believing that He could grant him eternal life.8 And what is eternal life but to know God and His Son Yahshua whom He sent?9 And to know Him, one must obey Him.10 And to call Him the Sovereign of one's life,11 one must follow Him,in order to serve Him where He is.12 This is the one who will be honored by the Father.

Yahshua made the demands of following Him very clear to the rich young ruler. It would be impossible for him to go on with the life he had grown accustomed to and be a fully surrendered disciple at the same time. He would have to choose between his own life -- everything he had always taken security in -- and the eternal life that he knew Yahshua was extending to him.

And looking at him, Jesus [Yahshua] felt a love for him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.

What was he grieving about? What great loss caused such grief?

It requires great complexities of reasoning to imagine that Yahshua envisioned such a life of affluence when He preached the so-called "hard sayings" of the gospel.

He lost eternal life because he loved his own life more. For Yahshua said that one must hate his life in the world, in order to follow Him.13 Yahshua was the One who could give him eternal life and told him what he must do in order to have eternal life. But the rich young ruler did not trust Him, even though he believed that what He told him to do would grant him eternal life. The word grief there means to strike the bosom and to beat the breast as an outward sign of an inward grief. This is what the rich young ruler was doing as he walked away from Eternal Life.

Could the rich young ruler go to the Father any other way, except through Yahshua -- the One whom he asked what he must do,in order to be able to go to the Father?14 Certainly he must have believed in Yahshua,or he would not have asked Him what he had to do in order to have what he wanted. But somehow he knew that he must do something more than just believe,for he asked, "What must I do?" But at hearing the unreasonable demands of the gospel, he was full of dread, heaviness, and sorrow. For he had his mind on what he would have to give up -- all those things which he could not carry with him to follow Messiah as the other disciples did, who left their employment,family, friends, possessions -- everything that would hinder the journey.

The good news does not make sense to one who does not see salvation as a pearl of great price,15 or as a treasure hidden in a field, which is unattainable without doing what one must do to attain it. And then one must go on after baptism to attain to the kingdom reign of Messiah.16 The unreasonable demands of the gospel make the word of God seem unreasonable, and the Father unreasonable to expect anyone to have to do what the gospel says one must do in order to trust the Savior for his salvation. All who see Him and His word this way will walk away sad like the rich young ruler.

The rich young ruler was not just sad, but grieved, knowing that the heaviness and dread that came upon him was keeping him from drinking the water of life Yahshua offered Him.17 The word cowardly in Revelation 21:8 means dread. Why would it say dread? Why would the rich young ruler be so dreadfully sad after hearing the good news, as Yahshua called him to follow Him? Why is trusting required for believing?

And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers,idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:6-8)

The coward in Revelation 21:8 was filled with dread when he heard the good news of what it would take to drink of the water of life offered to him. As John the Baptist said, "He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but he shall incur the wrath of God."18

The Outcome of Obeying the Good News

Those who trusted Yahshua and gave themselves to actually obey what He said were gathered together into an abundant life with all the others who put their trust completely in Him. Those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed ownership of any possessions, but shared what they had with whoever had need. Whoever had lands or houses or farms, sold them and brought the proceeds and laid them at the apostles' feet. From there they were distributed to wherever the greatest need was. And great grace was upon them all.19 This is a life where nothing is held back, everything has to go -- every attachment to the world,which isunder the sway of the evil one and which will soon pass away.20 All must be completely detached from everything that would disqualify them from the kingdom reign of Messiah.

But how can one live in the community of believers without leaving the world behind?21 For one cannot drink the water of life freely unless he has no other cause greater than to drink. For that is what the word freely in Revelation 22:17 means -- without cause -- with no cause that would keep you from drinking what God has freely given.

  • 1. John 7:17
  • 2. Acts 5:32
  • 3. John 14:21
  • 4. John 8:51
  • 5. 1 Corinthians 2:14
  • 6. Romans 8:5-8
  • 7. Acts 14:22; Matthew 7:14
  • 8. Mark 10:17,21,28-30; 3:31-35; Matthew 10:37; 24:14
  • 9. John 17:3
  • 10. John 14:21
  • 11. Romans 10:9
  • 12. John 12:25-26
  • 13. John 12:25-26
  • 14. John 14:6
  • 15. Matthew 13:44-45
  • 16. Philippians 3:10-13; Revelation 2:11; 3:21-22
  • 17. John 7:37-39
  • 18. John 3:36
  • 19. Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37; see the story,Son of Encouragement
  • 20. 1 John 5:19; 2:17
  • 21. Luke 9:60

The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.

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