Luke 14:25-27 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
The words of Jesus that we focus on today are radical and deeply troubling to many in the church. Because of our own ideas of home and family in the modern church these scriptures are mostly ignored. When read they are breezed over without explanation. When confronted with, they often try to say it doesn’t mean what Jesus said it meant.
So how will we deal with these words and the other statements Jesus made about home and family?
Love is separating. God so loved the world’¦yet Jesus told us about Hell for the unbelieving and unrepentant.
Jesus said we were to love the Lord and our neighbor as ourselves.
We are to even love our enemies Jesus said.
So what did Jesus mean when He said we were to follow Him and ‘hate’ father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters?
As we will see in the other scripture below Jesus knew that those who chose to follow Him and believe in Him would often face opposition from family even that they would become their enemy and have them put to death.
This did happen millions of times in the history of the church and even today in our world.
Right now, even as I write this I know of one family totally torn apart as the husband has become a follower of Jesus and some of the children and the wife is an enemy of them.
In many lands even the declaration of faith in Jesus can lead to imprisonment or death or separation from all the family.
The severity of converting and becoming a follower of Jesus even in America in many families means being kicked out of the family and cut off from all contact and family events.
Whatever attempts to destroy our relationship with Jesus we are to hate Jesus said, even if it is family.
When you read the context of Jesus speaking here He was saying we must forsake all and take up our cross and follow Jesus.
I have been preaching the Gospel since I was 15 years old. That is now 51 years and I know of person after person that has been ‘bribed’ by their family to ignore the call of Jesus in their life. A young man is called to preach and the family is opposed to it wanting that son to be a businessman, etc. They offer a new car if he will not go to that college to study for the ministry but go to another college. The same with many young women called by Jesus to the mission field or such and the family is fearful and opposed. They offer her all kinds of material things for her to not go in the direction of her call but study something else and marry, etc.
Often the family is the enemy of a person’s call to follow Jesus. Jesus is teaching that in such cases we are to hate, not the mother or father but hate what they are trying to get us to do.
This is clear as we read yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
See, even the desire to live one’s own life outside of the will of Jesus must be hated! I cannot choose my life or mission or calling. I am to deny myself! I am to hate my own will. Remember even Jesus prayed “not My will but Thine be done.’
So it is family and our own life apart from following Jesus that we are to hate’¦and the world and anyone or thing else that seeks to pull us from the will and cross of Jesus.
Note the following.
Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; or either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Now we see Jesus saying the same thing in different words.
Luke 12:51-53 “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. “For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. “Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Matt 10:34-38 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. “For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; “and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
Jesus now uses the word ‘enemy’ for family and tells how it will happen.
Notice here Jesus speaks of loving father, mother, sister or brother more than Him.
Still again Jesus brings them to the cross and following Him. The warning in both cases is:
Cannot be My disciple!
Is not worthy of Me.
So ‘Because’ of Jesus division will come in many families. Not that this is wonderful but because that is the consequence of sin and rebellion.
Matt 8:21-22 Then another of His disciples said to Him,
“Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Luke 2:48-49 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Jesus Himself took a stand and remained behind in Jerusalem when He was 12 years old. He did not tell His family where He was as He remained behind at the Temple. The decision of Jesus was to ‘be about My Father’s business’.
Now, let me be personal for a moment.
My own mother and father were ‘always’ supportive of my call to preach and follow Jesus to the ends of the earth. Never did they try to hinder what Jesus wanted for me.
Even when my father was gravely ill and I was walking across Africa. He told me there were plenty of people to take care of him but I must go back and walk on for Jesus.
I did return later to have the pleasure of spending a few days with my father before he died. But you see his heart. My mother was the same. Always supporting me till she passed at the age of 94. All my grandparents were totally supportive and encouraging. I was very, very, very blessed with great family support.
I have seven children, three girls and four sons. Right now one of my sons Joshua is making a huge decision to move back to Norway with his wife and son. They currently live in Denver only a mile from me. My will and desire would be for them to stay near us and enjoy the fellowship and minister together. The call of Jesus is for them to return to Norway and evangelize the world from there. Joshua’s wife Nina is my office manager. She is great. I have only encouraged them to do the will of God. We stand in support of them.
Oh, parent or family member I urge you to heed the warnings of Jesus. Follow Him. Let nothing stand in your way. Take up your cross and follow Jesus.
Our mission of parents and family is to create and environment in which each family member is a loving follower of Jesus and supported by the family in every way.
One must also not feel guilty for not doing what family members want. Our first mission is to Jesus and not family. We are to follow the Holy Spirit and not family opinion. One of your greatest hurts may be the lack of support from husband or wife or parents or brothers or sisters. Let the love of Jesus fill your heart and do the will of God.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt