Luke 14:29

ESV Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
NIV For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,
NASB Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who are watching it will begin to ridicule him,
CSB Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him,
NLT Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.
KJV Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

What does Luke 14:29 mean?

Jesus continues His metaphor about the man who starts to build a tower but does not have enough money to finish it. He is talking to a crowd about discipleship. Jews could choose from many teachers and religious leaders to follow. Few, if any, of these teachers are being stalked by Pharisees who want them dead (Mark 3:6; Luke 6:11; 11:53–54; John 5:16). For Jesus' disciples, loyalty to their teacher includes the willingness to lose their lives (Luke 12:4–5; 14:27).

As part of this explanation, Jesus compares the sacrifices His disciples must make to constructing a tower. A person may have a vision to build, but they need to understand the risks and consider if they have the resources to complete the job (Luke 14:28).

This is not about earning or paying for salvation. Salvation is a gift of God by His grace (Ephesians 2:1–10). Rather, Jesus is talking about the ongoing life of growing in relationship with Him. Salvation requires us to humbly repent and ask Jesus to cover our sins with His sacrifice. Part of repenting is acknowledging that how we live is wrong and agreeing to change. Salvation is the foundation. An ongoing life of obedience and faithfulness to Jesus is the tower. This imagery of discipleship is the only proper way to thank Jesus for what He's done for us.

Sadly, stories of "Christian" leaders or celebrities who have fallen into disgrace prove that someone can have a biblical foundation but lack the discipline to build a strong, resilient life for Christ. The public ridicule they incur brings shame on themselves, Jesus, and all Jesus' followers.
What is the Gospel?
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