Read Luke – Chapter 14
In the last section of Luke 14 Jesus likely shocked a large crowd of people when he told them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
At first glance this is a shocking statement, it seems overly harsh and contradicts some other important teachings about God. To hate one’s father and mother would go against the fourth commandment which says to honor your father and mother. To hate your own life seems to contradict Jesus’ own words where he tells his followers to love their neighbor as themselves.
What is Jesus trying to do here? I think the answer becomes evident when you consider that we’re wondering about these statements 2000 years after they were said. Jesus was trying to get the attention of his followers and potential followers, teaching them they must put God first in their lives. He was saying they shouldn’t literally hate their family or their own lives, but everything else should be so far behind their love and commitment to God that there is no comparison to it.
Jesus knew that putting God first in your life would not only give amazing blessings and benefits in this life, but more importantly, it has the eternal benefit of everlasting life.
We should all ask ourselves, is there anything in our lives that comes before God? Would we be willing to choose anything else instead of our commitment to Christ?
If the answer is yes to these questions we should pray and ask God for a discipleship adjustment. Jesus is very clear, his disciples put him first, then he will take care of the rest of life.
Return to the Gospel of Luke overview page