Is Jesus serious about hating our families, and even our own lives? Isn’t this carrying religious devotion too far? Is He really advocating hating others? Jesus certainly did not mean that we should be hostile. After all, Jesus is the one who taught that we are to “love our enemies” and that we must forgive “seventy times seven” (Matt 18:22).
Well, then, what did He mean? The answer becomes clear when we consider the circumstances. The crowd following Jesus wanted a king, but it was a cross ahead of Him in the city, not a throne. He knew this with excruciating clarity. Our salvation was His highest cause. He would put nothing above that, not even His rights as the Son of the living God. Not even His own life.
And so He turned to the crowd—and now to us—with a grave question: are you ready to put Him above all else, even your most precious relationships? Even your lives? Would you make Him your highest cause and ultimate reason for living?
If not, He says, “you cannot be my disciple.”
To love Jesus we must “hate” all other claims to our loyalty. It’s not easy to do, but it’s the only way to follow Him.
Thank you, Jesus, for opening the way for me to be Your follower. With all my heart I want to follow You as a faithful and fruitful disciple. I say that You are my highest and ultimate cause in every area of my life. Amen.
Today, take a step towards Jesus and away from your own desires. Fast from dessert, the internet, or coffee as a small personal reminder of the enormous sacrifice Jesus made for you.