Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Thousands upon thousands of people were following Jesus.
They wanted to see the miracles, and they wanted to hear Him speak. They could not get enough of him.
They were a captivated audience that was riding the Jesus bandwagon and, in every sense of the word, they were fans of his. This was the perfect moment for the “Jesus Marketing” sales pitch.
But then he says the unthinkable…
“If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
This may seem very confusing, because we often think of following Jesus as “yes” to the good and “no” to the bad. But following Jesus may disrupt the “good stuff” in our lives.
By addressing the family—our fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, and sisters—Jesus is going after something that most of us would consider inherently good, personally valuable, probably untouchable, and non-negotiable.
Jesus wasn’t talking about greed or lust or pride. He wasn’t speaking of something we would consider an addictive, or destructive, force in our lives.
Jesus was talking about our families.
Yes, on one level, Jesus was using hyperbole (a deliberate exaggeration or extreme statement to emphasize a point). Many of us would agree Jesus was saying that we should love him so much that our love for the most valuable people in our lives would seem like hate in comparison.
BUT, on another level, Jesus challenged us with the question: Would you follow me, even if it cost you these relationships?
To answer that question honestly, here are some areas in your life to evaluate:
- What in your life is most valuable? You care about this more than anything.
- What in your life is most untouchable? This is one thing that in your mind is non-negotiable. Is it family? Career?Reputation? Being comfortable?
Jesus is asking, “Will you follow me, even if it costs you _______”?