“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, even their own life — such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-27, NIV)
There is a difference between the “crowd” and the “committed.” Crowds are self-interested and fickle. The company of the committed is in to the finish.
Jesus’ words to the crowd were necessarily pointed: There is no room for competing loyalties; there is no room for followers who are not willing to keep to the path — even to humiliation and suffering (represented by the cross).
As all conditional or contingent statements, these words of our Lord give us a choice. How have we chosen? – Luther