When you hang with people for any time at all, you eventually get in a conversation or overhear a conversation where you say to yourself, “I wish they hadn’t said that.” Maybe you heard a spouse say in the midst of pain, “I married the wrong person.” Maybe they say something the seems out of character for them. Maybe they say something in anger. Maybe they speak before they think. Maybe you hear something that just doesn’t make sense or you don’t understand the context. Maybe you heard a friend say some hard, yet truthful things to you and you’re saying to yourself, “I wish they hadn’t said that.”
One of the “hard sayings” of Jesus is found in Luke 14. “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. That’s verse 26. “Did I really hear Jesus say THAT???” I wish He didn’t say that. Why would He say such a thing? This is Jesus the “meek and mild.” Right?
The explanation is really found within the context and by reading the following verse. Jesus goes on to say, “whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Living as a follower of Jesus is tough stuff. It requires intentionality, commitment, priority, and decision. Jesus is NOT saying you’re not to love your family. But He is saying that a Christ-follower must live by priority. Our love for God must be so big, so inclusive, so intentional, that every other relationship takes a second position. It’s an expression of comparison. For example, I love pizza…a lot. But compared to my love for my wife and family, it’s not even close. Do you say you love Jesus? Great. How does it compare to other stuff? Even close?