Well, if you REALLY want to
“If you really want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else in comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life.” —Luke 14:26
If you’ve spent time with young ones, you’ve done what Jesus is doing: you’re laying it out. Suppose your socially elite four-year-old wants to go to a high-end art exhibit you KNOW she won’t enjoy, but she who loves and wants to spend time with you—plus her princess dress is waiting to go—has her heart set on going. What do you do? You firmly tell her with a bit of exaggeration how there will be no kids and subsequently no kid food there, she can’t touch anything or run anywhere, and artwork she won’t understand (because you don’t understand it, either) will be everywhere.
“Now seriously,” you say in your sternest adult voice, “does this sound like something you want to do?”
In this passage, Jesus lets people know that following him is not always a party. With hyperbolic language, Jesus calls us to a discipleship that cannot to be entered into without deep consideration of the consequences and costs. The importance of loyalty to Jesus over all other competing loyalties, including family, self-interest, and possessions is clear here.
We are like the four-year-old in that we want to focus on the good stuff (otherwise known as God’s grace), which is God’s covenant loyalty to redeem and save us. Like a parent to a young child, however, Jesus speaks to the covenant loyalty that is expected from us.
Salvation is not merely a transaction. It is a covenantal relationship—God to us and us to God. Here Jesus reminds us with love that no covenantal relationship has meaning without our commitments and actions.
PRAYER: Jesus, we want to go and spend time with you because we love and want to spend time with you, and know there is a party with the word salvation. Remind us again and again what we are really signing on for. Amen.