Sometimes when I’m reading my Bible, I come across things that seem confusing or like they contradict something else in the Bible. Occasionally, even Jesus says things that confuse me and make me wonder, “Why did He say that?” Let’s take a passage from Luke on being a disciple, for example:
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, He said, ‘Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even one’s own life – cannot be my disciple’ (Luke 14:25-26, Common English Bible).
Wait a sec. Did Jesus just tell us to hate our parents? Doesn’t that conflict with the commandment to honor our parents and Jesus’ own teaching about loving people?
Not at all! If you look up this same verse in the Contemporary English Version, the same verse runs this way:
Large crowds were walking along with Jesus, when He turned and said: You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot follow Me unless you love Me more than you love your own life.
So which does Jesus mean? Do we just have to love Him more than everyone else in our lives, or are we supposed to hate everyone else except Him?
Jesus means both. In this brief section on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, He is saying we have to love Him more than anyone else in our life. The word “hate” describes the degree at which we’re supposed to love Him more.
Jesus is saying that He doesn’t just want to be first place in your life; He wants to be your life. Everyone and everything else can have a place in your life, but Jesus wants to be your life: The air you breathe, the eyes you use to see, the strength you use to move your muscles, everything.
I know that sounds a little confusing, but simply put, it’s like this: To be Jesus’ disciples, we need to love Him so much more than anything or anyone else that our love for other people and things looks like hate when compared to the love we have for Jesus.
Girls, which one of Jesus’ teachings do you wonder about the most?
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:27).
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