“And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple… So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”(Luke 14:25-27, 33, KJV)
The KJV’s translation doesn’t really paint Jesus as a “nice” guy with it’s translation of Jesus’ words in Luke 14, does it? We’d seen how that the last few verses of Luke 14 was talking about more than planning. How that the cost of discipleship was the message Jesus was trying to pass across.
In the above verses, Jesus spells out the cost. It begs the question: why would Jesus ask us to “hate” family (and practically every other thing) just because we want to be His disciples. Isn’t it contradictory to His message of love and the strong injunctions in 1 Timothy 5:8 and 1 Peter 3:7 to be there for family?
Well, the wonderful thing about scripture is that the answers to the questions we’re confronted with from reading the scriptures, can be found in the scripture.
God’s word is not some “Jerub-baal” (Judges 8:29) that can’t defend itself. Many times, when we attempt to stand against people who point out the perceived contradictions in the Bible, we do so from an emotional standpoint, rather than from a thorough understanding of what God has said. Logic, howbeit flawed, will almost always trump emotional arguments.
“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison– your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters– yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”(Luke 14:26, NLT)
“Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters–yes, even one’s own self!–can’t be my disciple.”(Luke 14:26, MSG)
Anyways, the Greek word for hate, when interpreted in context of what Jesus was saying at that point, and in the context of all that God has said in the scriptures, connotes not a hatred for family, but a love and devotion for God that supersedes love for family. Such that all you do, love for family inclusive, stems from a heart that is in a posture of worship and devotion to God.
Putting God first, a willingness to bear the instrument of daily death to self and subject self to the dictates and discipline of discipleship is, in summary, what your bill would look like if discipleship was a commodity you wanted to partake in. Jesus says to think about it carefully. If you can’t part with these, then discipleship isn’t for you.
Becoming like Christ is not an accidental process. It is an intentional process that will cost you.