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Another hard saying of the Bible


matthew 10Another hard saying of the Bible


‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple – Luke 14:26.


This is a hard saying in more senses than one: it is hard to accept and it is hard to reconcile with the general teaching of Jesus. The attitude it seems to recommend goes against the grain of nature, and it also goes against the law of love to one’s neighbour which Jesus emphasized to a radical extent. If the meaning of “neighbour” must be extended so as to include one’s enemy, it must not be restricted so as to exclude one’s nearest and d


What does it mean, then? It means that, just as property can come between us and the kingdom of God, so can family ties. The interests of God’s kingdom must be paramount with the followers of Jesus, and everything else must take second place to them, even family ties.

If “hating” one’s relatives is felt to be a shocking idea, it was meant to be shocking, to shock the hearers into a sense of the imperious demands of the kingdom of God. We know that in biblical idiom to hate can mean to love less. 

That “hating” in this saying of Jesus means loving less is shown by the parallel saying in Matthew 10:37: “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Yet in Luke, because of the natural resistance on the part of Jesus’ hearers to accepting this necessity with utter seriousness, he insisted on it in the most arresting and challenging language at his command. 

(Adapted from ‘Hard Sayings of the Bible’ by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, Manfred Brauch, pages 440-441) 


Luke 14:25-35

The Cost of Discipleship

25 Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them,26‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him,30saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.”31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?32If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

34 ‘Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’