And there went great multitudes with Him: and He turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish (Luke 14:25-29). So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33).
Hate is a strong emotion. But used within the context of this Scripture, the connotation is completely different from what one might think. Here, Jesus explains, that if we don’t hate those we love, we cannot be His disciples. Is the Lord asking us, or, is He commanding us, to hate our parents, our siblings, and ourselves, in order to be His disciples? Let us briefly focus our attention on the word hate, as used by our Lord and Savior, within the context of this Scripture, and otherwise. Hate in the natural sense of the word means, to dislike intensely or passionately; to feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward. However, as used by the Lord in the Scriptural sense, when He commands us to hate our loved ones He is speaking in a comparative sense. Jesus is strongly expressing to us, that our relationships with Him, must be greater than any relationship we have, with anyone else! We must love Him, more than we love ourselves, as well as anyone that we are in relationship with. He is expressing that, He must be Lord of all, or He will not be Lord at all, in our lives! Matthew 22:37 says, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all my mind. This is the first and great commandment.” If we are going to be disciples of Jesus, persons who are pupils or adherents of the doctrines of Jesus, we must be willing to bear our crosses. In other words, “we must experience the shame and humiliation, as well as the toil and suffering that bearing one’s cross entails.” Just as Jesus bore His cross, we must also take up our crosses, and follow Him!
When we become disciples of Jesus, we must be willing to leave all to follow Him, and we are to turn from our worldly ways. No longer are we to continue in sin. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” When God called Abram, the LORD said unto Abram, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.” Being a disciple of Jesus, requires sacrifice, and it requires suffering. It requires sacrifice, in the sense that at times, we have to walk away from those we love. We sometimes have to sever friendships of many years. Once we have committed ourselves unto the Lord, that commitment entails learning of the Lord, by reading His word, and meditating on it day and night; it requires a fluid prayer life, which means talking to Him daily, and listening for Him to talk to you. We must be filled with His Spirit, the precious gift of the Holy Ghost, as well as be led by His Spirit! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Christ Jesus, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To whit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (II Corinthians 5:17-19)
Since the body of Christ, the redeemed of the Lord have been given the ministry of reconciliation, it is up to us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those that are lost. We should take advantage of every opportunity that is afforded us to tell of the goodness of Jesus! We must first be sure, that we are firmly committed in our walks with the Lord! We must practice what we preach, literally. It is imperative, that we not say one thing and do another. Have you ever heard on occasion these sayings from individuals who are unsaved, “That’s why I don’t go to church anymore,” “They are just hypocrites,” or “I knew there was nothing this.” Why? Some who are professing to be Christians may be guilty of sending mixed signals at one time or another, to the unsaved, thus causing them to doubt the efficacy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! (Father please forgive me!) In some instances we are the only epistles that people will read. So, if we are going to talk the talk, even under duress, we must walk the walk! That is what discipleship is all about! Each one, teach one! If you are able to, teach more than one. Let the light of Jesus, shine brightly in your life, that men may see your good works and, glorify the Father who is in heaven! Holiness without which, no man shall see the Lord! May God’s blessings be upon you, today and every day!