************ Sermon on Luke 14:26 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on August 26, 2018

Luke 14:25-35
Luke 14:26
"Why Does Jesus Say Hate Father and Mother?"
Difficult Passages #13

Did you notice the key word or phrase in our Bible reading? It shows up three times. "My disciple."
(Lk 14:26) If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.

(Lk 14:27) And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

(Lk 14:33) In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
Our passage is about being a disciple of Jesus. Not a half-hearted disciple, not a pretend disciple, not a go-along-with-the-crowd disciple, but a real disciple, someone who truly follows Him.

But we can say more. Notice the pronoun "my." "My disciple." Someone who belongs to Jesus. Totally. Completely. With all of their heart and soul and mind and strength. This is what Jesus is calling for in our text.

So tonight is a call from Jesus. "Come to me," He says in verse 26. "Follow me," He says in verse 27. Jesus calls people to come to Him and to follow Him, to become His true disciples. We can go so far as to say Jesus is giving people an invitation to salvation, an invitation to believe, an invitation to be part of the Kingdom, an invitation to be forgiven, an invitation to have eternal life.

What people? Did you notice how our text starts? We are told about "large crowds ... traveling with Jesus." Jesus turns to them and calls them to be His disciple. But tonight is also a call to you and me to believe and be saved. So let me ask: Do you hear His call? Do you come to Him? Are you following after Him? Can Jesus call you "my disciple"?

We continue our study of difficult passages of the Bible this evening. Tonight we answer the question of why Jesus calls us to hate our father and mother. We will be looking at two points: first, the call to discipleship; second, the cost of discipleship.

I The Call to Discipleship
A The word "disciple" says something about Jesus. In that time and place, in that culture and setting, it was Rabbis who had disciples. Jesus' call to be a disciple means Jesus is identifying Himself as a Rabbi.

Now, what is a Rabbi? In Jewish culture, a Rabbi was someone who knew the Law and studied the Law and taught the Law. Furthermore, a Rabbi had a small group of learners or students or disciples. These disciples would follow the Rabbi. They would be with him 24/7. They would listen to him. They would be taught by him. They would immerse themselves in the Rabbi's life. They would strive to imitate him. They would seek to learn the Law from him. They would be totally committed to their Rabbi.

Back then a student would pick a Rabbi and ask to become his follower. The Rabbi would question and examine and then decide if they were the kind of disciple he wanted. But Jesus turns this upside down. Rabbi Jesus invites anyone and everyone to be His disciple. He invites anyone and everyone to come to Him and follow Him and to learn from Him and to imitate Him. He invites you and me. And, it is a well-meant Gospel offer. So that everyone who comes and follows Him, everyone who repents and believes, receives rest for their soul and inherits eternal life.

B "Large crowds were traveling with Jesus ..." (Lk 14:25). Large crowds of disciples were following Rabbi Jesus. A larger following that any other Jewish Rabbi ever had. These crowds of disciples were all over the map when it came to commitment. There were the truly committed, the barely committed, the superficially committed, and the ones who were there simply because they were curious and Jesus was someone new and different.

Think of the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8: "A farmer went out to sow his seed ..." Most of Jesus' disciples and followers are like the seed that falls on the rocks. But when the time of testing and persecution comes, they fall away because they have no root. Or, they are like the seed that falls among thorns. They are choked by life's worries, riches, and pleasures and do not mature. What I am saying is most of Jesus' disciples don't stay around very long unless they are truly committed.

Realize that at this point Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem (Lk 9:51). He is on the way to Jerusalem where He will face those who hate Him and despise Him and plot to kill Him. He is on the way to Jerusalem where He will suffer and die. It is time for Him to be taken up to heaven where He will be given all power and authority and honor and glory. Meaning what? Meaning it is decision time. Meaning it is time for the crowds of followers to decide where they stand. Are they going to come and follow Jesus? Are they going to be true disciples? Or, are they going to fall away?

"Come to me. Follow me. Be my disciple." Jesus is still giving the invitation today. Jesus is still offering salvation. It is still the day of grace. What is true back then is still true today. As the Apostle Paul writes, "I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor 6:2). While you are still alive, congregation, it is the day of salvation. So come to Jesus, follow Jesus, be His disciple, because once you die it is too late. And, until the Lord Jesus returns it is still the day of salvation. So come to Jesus, follow Jesus, be His disciple, because once Jesus returns it is too late.

Back to the crowds following Jesus. The Gospel of Luke makes clear it doesn't look good for most of them. Because just before our Bible reading we find Jesus' Parable of the Great Banquet (Lk 14:15-24). All sorts of people are invited and they have all sorts of excuses: "I have bought a field. I have bought five yoke of oxen. I have married a wife. I cannot come." Remember how the parable ends? "I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet" (Lk 14:24). They will never be invited again and never will taste of the great dinner of salvation. They will never be part of the great and glorious banquet celebration of heaven.

My hope and my prayer is that disciples today do better than the disciples of Jesus' day. So far this year we have had nineteen professions of faith. How many of them will still be serving the Lord five years from now? What about the rest of you? Are any of you nominal followers, superficial followers, followers just going along with the crowd? Or are you all committed to following the Rabbi the rest of your life?

C "Come to me. Follow me. Be my disciple." One commentator put it this way: Jesus is not calling for a makeover; He is calling for a takeover. Jesus wants to be acknowledged as the Sovereign, Lord, King, Ruler, and Controller of your life. He is not asking for something short and easy. He is asking for something lifelong and hard. And, very few are willing to submit. As He put it in the Sermon on the Mount:
(Mt 7:14) But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Jesus preached a sermon that deliberately thinned out the ranks. He made it clear that, when it comes to personal discipleship, He is more interested in quality than quantity. He wants His house to be filled (Luke 14:23); but He wants only those who are willing to pay the price.

Think about this in terms of many churches today. They push Seeker-Sensitive services. They remove all barriers to the Gospel and make it as simple as possible. They go for the quick and easy route to gaining disciples for Jesus. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus did. Never once did Jesus call for a short, easy prayer to receive eternal life. Never once did He prey on people's emotions and use music and lights to get people to come to Him. The Lord has never wanted shallow, superficial followers. Rabbi Jesus wants committed followers. He has always wanted committed followers.

II The Cost of Discipleship
A This brings us to our second point: the cost of discipleship. Here we come to our text this evening about hating father and mother. But before we look at the specifics I want to ask you to open your Bibles to Matthew 10:
(Mt 10:34-37) "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (35) For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- (36) a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' (37) "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me
The cost of discipleship is so easy to understand. What will it cost you to follow Jesus? You give up father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, even your grandchildren. Those who follow Jesus have to be willing to give up every relationship. But, let me add, you are going to get them back ten-fold in the church, in the redeemed church, in the fellowship of the saved, in the future eternal life.

This is why so many disciples fall short. This is why small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Most people are not willing to do this. They are not willing to give up everyone to follow Jesus.

B "Large crowds were traveling with Jesus ..." Jesus turned to them and said, "Come to me. Follow me. Be my disciple." And then He lays out the cost:
(Lk 14:26) If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.

Now, who are the people in the crowd? Most of them are Jews, maybe all of them. Who are the family members they are being told to leave? They are also Jews. All of them part of a phony religion, a false religion. All of them under the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Lk 12:1). Jesus tells them to get out of their false religion. To get as far away from it as they can. Because yeast means influence. Because yeast permeates. Because the yeast of the Pharisees corrupts. So run from the false religion of your past. Cut off all ties with your past religion.

If you are a Jew, it is going to cost you your family if you follow Jesus. They will want nothing to do with you. They will shun you and despise you and mock you and deride you. You will be dead to them. This continues to be the cost today among Orthodox Jewish families and in Muslim families too. If you follow Jesus you are alienated from your family. In some Muslim countries today it also means execution and martyrdom.

Jesus emphasizes the cost of discipleship by using a negative: "If anyone comes to me and does NOT hate his father and mother, his wife and children ... he cannot be my disciple." The repetition of the word "his" makes the same emphasis. His father. His mother. His wife. His children. His brothers. His sisters. These are the people to whom we are the closest. These are the people with whom we have the strongest, natural relationship. These are the people who pull on our heart-strings. To follow Jesus as a Jew means giving up these people you know and love. What a high cost. What an extreme cost.

C "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters ... he cannot be my disciple." (Lk 14:26). It is jarring and shocking when you read this and hear this. After all, aren't we told to honor our parents -- which implies loving them? Aren't husbands told to love their wives (Eph 5:25). Aren't parents taught to love their children. What is Jesus talking about here? Is Jesus teaching us to have extreme negative emotions towards our family members?

What we have is a particularly Hebrew way of talking. The Hebrew language uses the terms "love and hate" to express preference. It is also used as an expression for loving someone more or someone else less. We see this with Jacob and his two wives, Leah and Rachel. We are told, "When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb" (Gen 29:31). The word is "hate" in the Hebrew. But it doesn't mean Jacob felt animosity towards Leah. It simply means she was not loved as much as her sister. Jacob played favorites. Leah was loved less and Rachel was loved more.

Jesus picks up this kind of language in Luke 16 when He says,
(Lk 16:13) No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
It doesn't mean that the one is loved and adored while the other is despised and rejected. It means that you prefer the one over the other.

So what is Jesus telling His Jewish followers in our Bible reading? What is He telling us? When your family wants you to do one thing and God wants you to do another thing, you are to pick what God wants over what your family wants. Or, to put it another way, you are to love Jesus more than you love your family.

Do you hear what Jesus is telling you to do? Our love for Christ must be so strong that all other love is like hatred in comparison. Our love for Christ is to be so strong, that you love no one and no thing the way you love Christ. All other loves come second -- a distant second -- to your love for Jesus.

If your family objects, remind them that you reject yourself as well. Once you become a Christian it no longer matters what you want. Your desires, your ambitions, your dreams, your goals, your life, are all in submission to King Jesus. He is the reigning authority in your life.

Jesus calls you and me: "Come to me. Follow me. Be my disciple."

But realize -- realize -- this means more than something superficial and quick and easy. It means you love Jesus more than anyone else in all of life.
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