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Summary: In Luke 14:24-35 Jesus¡¦ life was set on going to Jerusalem, where he had determined to die. As he had explicitly said, ¡§In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day ¡X for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!¡¨ (Luke 13:33)

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Background:

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,

In Luke 14:24-35 Jesus¡¦ life was set on going to Jerusalem, where he had determined to die. As he had explicitly said, ¡§In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day ¡X for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!¡¨ (Luke 13:33). A rough road ahead for Jesus and his followers. At this point in the life of Christ a great crowds were still following Jesus. Perhaps all these casual followers considered themselves ¡§disciples¡¨ of this popular teacher.

Refer to the John 6 incident, after the feeding of the 5000

„¯ John 6:22-59 (I am the Bread of Life) & John 6:60-66 (Rejection of the followers)

1. Christ Instruction concerning Discipleship

A. Regarding the Family (v2-26)

"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.

Jesus explained what it meant to truly be his disciple. His disciples had to love him more than their own family members. Certainly this caused a stir among the people. Who would possibly ask his followers to love him that way?

In the full light of the New Testament, Jesus was not demanding an unqualified hatred.

He could not command, ¡§Honor your father and mother¡¨ Mark 7:9-13), and demand that we also hate them.

He could not command, ¡§Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her¡¨ (Ephes. 5:25), and then advise them to hate their spouses.

Jesus, who so loved little children that ¡§he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them¡¨ (Mark 10:16), could not advise their parents to hate them.

Neither could he advise his followers to ¡§be reconciled to your brother¡¨ (Matthew 5:24), and then encourage brotherly hatred.

How could he command, ¡§Love your enemies¡¨ (Luke 6:27), and then call us to hate our friends?

The truth is, in the Biblically recommended sense that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Mark 12:32-34) and to love one another as Christ has loved us (cf. John 13:34, 35), we cannot love others too much! We can focus on our family too much, we can dote on our loved ones too much, but we cannot love them too much.

In first-century Jewish family settings, deciding for Jesus could mean alienation from the family. Jesus warned the would-be disciples that they must be clear about their true allegiance. Those who cannot make that kind of commitment cannot be his disciple.

B. Regarding the Candidate (v27)

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

In the final clause Jesus recommended that each of his followers must hate ¡§even his own life.¡¨ Jesus could not be recommending a psychologically destructive loathing of existence. What Jesus was saying paradoxically was that our love for him must be so great and so pervasive that our natural love of self and family pales in comparison. We are to subordinate everything, even our own being, to our love and commitment to Christ. He is to be our first loyalty. All other relationships must take second place.


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