Submitted by Jerry Savage, Minister, League Street Church of Christ
Paying the Price
Not everyone who accompanied Jesus was truly His disciple. A disciple is one who lives life according to Jesus’ teachings and who tries to follow in Jesus’ steps (John 8:31; I Peter 2:21). Sometimes, Jesus would thin out the crowds that followed Him by preaching lessons that were very demanding. One such situation is found in Luke chapter 14, verses 25-33. We shall begin by reading verses 25-27.
Now great multitudes were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “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. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple.”
It seems quite strange to hear Jesus say that we should “Hate” someone. Especially since He so often taught about the importance of Love. Jesus taught that “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Is He now teaching that we should hate our neighbors and hate ourselves? He taught that you should even “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you ...” (Matthew 5:44). How can He now say to “Hate” father and mother and wife and children?
It is generally believed that Jesus is here making a comparison between the extent of our love toward Him and that of our love toward anyone else. In other words, if we were to compare our loyalty to Jesus with that of our loyalty to someone else, it would seem as though we actually hated the someone else. If it came to a choice between obeying father and mother and obeying Christ, we would have to choose Christ. If we had to choose between pleasing wife and children or pleasing Christ, we must choose Christ.
In saying this, Jesus is defining what discipleship is all about; he is making it clear that He must be NUMBER ONE in our lives if we are to be His disciples. This is the cost of discipleship. Are you willing to pay that price? Think about it.