With huge crowds gathering around, Jesus does the politically and culturally unthinkable. Read carefully from Luke 14:26:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Talk about raising the bar! Did you know that being a committed follower of Jesus Christ involved such cost? Can you imagine that dismayed reaction of the multitudes as they heard these hard words fall off of the Savior’s lips? If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own. . . . What is it that Jesus is calling followers to do?
It certainly is not about hating parents and siblings. Or oneself. Jesus never calls anyone to hate. Indeed, hating family was a clear violation of the Old Testament Law. Leviticus 19:17-18, for example, noticeably states “You shall not hate your brother in your heart . . . you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus, therefore, is not telling anyone to hate family. Pay attention here: Jesus is establishing a contrast between Himself as the One we follow, and everyone and everything else. Your love for Christ should be so vast that affection for anything or anyone else ought to look like loathing.
Let us read that last line again: Your love for Christ should be so vast that affection for anything or anyone else ought to look like loathing. That is a striking contrast! And considering Jesus Christ is the Lord of heaven and earth, the Savior, the rightful heir to the throne of David, the coming King–it only makes sense that He receive our supreme measure of love.
Please ask yourself this all-critical question: Does Jesus receive my very best love? If the honest answer to this is “no” then you should consider a very important invitation: begin a fresh journey as Christ’s disciple. There are many helpful steps to think about for this special journey. But for today. . . .
Well, today stop and sit awhile and simply ask your Father to increase your love for His Son. Such a simple request it is, but so oft neglected. Ask Him to overwhelm you with the love that is His. Ask Him to stir within you the right desire to return that love to Jesus.
Then, Friend, do it.