Luke 14:26-27 (NIV)
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.
27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
I have said at work sometimes out loud “I hate this paperwork”, or “I hate it when I get so far behind,” or “I hate……….” One employee who hears me, tells me that I shouldn’t say hate. It is not a good word to say. She is not a believer, and it is interesting that she says these things. I am quick to say, I am just saying that about things, not people. Jesus says that if we are angry with people, it is as if we are murderers, and we are in danger of judgment. (Matthew 5:21-24)
Yet in Luke 14:25 we see Jesus say that we are to hate our father and mother, our wife and children, brothers and sisters, even our own life. I have to run this by my fellow employee at work. What does this really mean? In the context of this statement, Jesus is talking about what it should take to follow Him. It should not be just a quick, “Oh Yeah, this looks good, I will follow Jesus.” This week as I was sharing the Gospel with a 79 year old, and she was reading Romans 6:23, she said, “This is hitting me like it never has before.” She went on to say, “I believe I have taken these things far too lightly in the past.” You could see that she was deeply moved by the Spirit as she read Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:3, John 14:6, Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:15 , and Revelation 3:20. We talked about the need to determine the cost of following Jesus, and she said that she was ready.
Have you considered the cost? This elderly woman had not really considered it. I am afraid that it is the same for many around us. Each of us need to do some self examining as well as encourage those around us to do the same. Now hating family does not mean truly hating them as we think the word would mean here. In this context it means that we need to put Jesus first. We should have a lesser love for family than for Christ. So, you can not get away with mistreating family. You must in fact love them if you love Jesus. If you are putting Jesus first as He deserves, you will ultimately be putting all others first. In fact, we see in verses 12-14 of Luke 14 who Jesus thought should be invited to dinners. Who do you put on your invitation list? Who do I invite? Maybe our meals at church need to be expanded. Maybe our love for Jesus needs to be expanded. Maybe I need to explain what it means to hate others and love Jesus to my coworker today.
In these days of economic uncertainty, Jesus gives us some certainty in verses 12-14. Consider them today.
Luke 14:12-14 (NIV)
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.
13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,
14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Reread Luke 14, it is filled with things to ponder. Slip away somewhere, and be before God with His Words. Talk with Him and see who you need to “hate” more.
Loved by Him,