“If any man 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.”
Luke 14:26 (NIV)
This is a shocking verse! People try to reason it away by looking at context or putting it down to translation error, but it is not an error, that is what it says!!
We KNOW that it cannot mean you should hate your father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters or even yourself because of other verses. The commandments say to love your neighbour as yourself; Jesus said to love one another; and that this is how people would know we are his disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35). It goes against the nature of God, who is love, and we are to become like him.
So what does Jesus mean by saying this? I think that if you lived in that day you would not have been shocked because he was using a common literary technique of hyperbole to make a point. Today we use the expression, “I’d give my right arm to…”, or speak of a chocolate that is “to die for”. If you take these literally they are just as shocking.
What point is he making then? If we look at Genesis 2:24 we see a similar idea, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Your focus, priorities and allegiance change. When we become a Disciple of Jesus we become totally dedicated to, devoted to and focused on Jesus. He has first call on our life, energy and resources. Matthew 6:24 tells us “No man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
This seemingly shocking scripture is the basis for the hymns we sing which say, “It’s ALL about you, Jesus”, “I surrender ALL”, for “You are my All in All”.
You are my All in All, who gives meaning to life. Without you there would be no love in the world, for you ARE love. May the love I express for father, mother, husband, children, brothers, sisters and even myself, show that I am a true Disciple of Jesus, but may this love be overshadowed by the love I have for you.
Study by Nancy Silcox