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Luke 14:26

Posted 12/07/21, by Dan Vis

Last time, I looked at the overriding principle of discipleship--that it costs a life of absolute loyalty and undivided focus.

Today I want to look at one specific area that often gets in the way of our commitment. And in particular, our tendency to put family before Christ. Take this troubling verse, for example:

Luke 14:26
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.

No question about it: this verse is a curious statement for a God of love to make. We cannot be His disciple unless we look at every person in our circle of contacts the way Jesus directs here.

And unhelpfully, the Greek word used, is translated the exact same way consistently, every time it occurs in the New Testament (except once, where it is translated as hateful). Some lexicons, however, suggest a better sense of the word, is to detest or despise something. That is, to consider something as of lower value. Or to reverse it, Christ must be regarded as of far greater importance.

The instructions Jesus gave to the 12 captured this sense exactly, when Jesus said:

Matthew 10:37
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

And curiously enough both passages, follow with essentially the exact same thought--clearly suggesting these are parallel passages. (See Luke 14:27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple., Matthew 10:38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.).

But while this helps us make more sense of what Jesus was actually trying to communicate--it doesn't realize minimize the impact of this requirement. Jesus has to come first. To value any other living being, and especially our own immediate family members, more than we value Christ--renders us "not worthy" of Jesus. We "cannot be" His disciple.

Jesus accepts no rivals.

If we are serious about our faith, and you wouldn't be reading these words if you weren't, it's essential that we periodically evaluate our life, and ensure no person holds higher priority than Jesus. No one should be allowed to hold us back from that absolute loyalty which discipleship demands.

Yes, discipleship is demanding. But Jesus accepts nothing less.

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