In our gospel text for this weekend, Jesus says to the great multitudes who’ve been following him: “If any one comes to me and does not hate [one’s] own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even [one’s] own life … cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26; RSV). Really? “Hate”? In Matthew’s account, some of this “bite” is softened with Jesus saying: “[Those] who love father or mother more than me [are] not worthy of me …” (cf. Matthew 10:37; RSV). However, the question still remains: “Why ‘in the world’ would Jesus use such extreme language?! What is he trying to get at here?”
Some questions to be asking for this Sunday’s Gospel Reading from Luke 14:25-35 …
1. Why were the “great multitudes” (Luke 14:25) following Jesus?
2. How might this be contrasted with the earlier verse in Luke’s gospel when we read: “When the days drew near for [Jesus] to be received up [i.e. crucified], he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51; RSV. See also 9:52-62)?
3. There is plenty of “tough news” in this passage; but where is the “good news”?
A Prayer as we prepare our hearts and minds for this Sunday: “Teach us anew this week, O Lord, that the deepest mystery of life is that we will only be fully satisfied when we give it all away – our whole lives – as you gave your life upon the cross for us – that we might have life and salvation, always … in you.” Amen.
– Pastor John Christopherson