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Why Would Jesus Tell Us to Hate our Families?
“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." - Luke 14:26, ESV
The difference between the Jesus of pop culture and the Jesus of the Bible is striking and often downright shocking. The Jesus of pop culture is the King of tolerance, a long-haired, peace-loving hippie who would never hurt or offend anyone. The Jesus of the Bible is the King of kings and Lord of lords. His love is stronger and more compelling, His power more absolute and His call more demanding than our culture could ever truly understand.
In today's passage, we find perhaps the most shocking of Jesus' teachings: If you do not hate your own family, you cannot be His disciple. What does He mean by this? Well, in the context of Luke 14, Jesus is talking about the cost of being His disciple and the excuses people make for not following Him.
Truly following Jesus in this world is hard. The world does not understand, love, respect or highly esteem Jesus or His followers, not really. They may offer lip-service to Jesus, but when they do, it's a Jesus of their own creation, one who is made in their image and who endorses their priorities, values and agenda. The real God of the Universe and Lord of glory is too much of a threat.
So, what do you do when following Jesus would mean losing your family? What do you do if your family has said they will disown you if you follow Jesus? You have to choose who is more important to you. Will you reject eternal life and deny the Lord who died to redeem you just to stay in good favor with your parents or your spouse or your children? No! Not if you truly know Jesus. No one could ever out-rank Him; He alone must have your highest and strongest loyalty.
What Jesus says in verses 27-33 supports this interpretation of verse 26. He is talking about counting the cost and being willing to renounce all to follow Him. Nothing is worth more than eternal life, and no one is more precious to the believer than Jesus. He laid down everything for us - even His own life in horrible agony - so how can we respond to such love with halfhearted, lukewarm devotion?
Prayer Based on Psalm 126:
Lord, when You restored our fortunes,
redeeming us out of our sin and misery,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
and Your people rejoiced among all the nations, saying,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
You, O Lord, have indeed done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the driest desert!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
You will bless us in the end with eternal joys,
outweighing all miseries of this passing life.
Give us faith to trust in You through tears.