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Summary: Is it okay to be rich? Should we "hate" our family to follow Christ? These questions are answered through understanding original intent.

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September 8, 2013

Rope to Thread

Definitions! What do we really understand from the words that we use? Recently, a “Mother’s Dictionary” was written that includes some ways mom understands certain words, including; Bottle feeding: an opportunity for daddy to get up at 2-am also. Defense: What you’d better have around de yard if the children are going to play outside. Dumbwaiter: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert. Full name: What you call your child when you’re mad at him. Grandparents: the people who think your children are perfect even though they’re sure you’re not raising them right. Independent: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say. Prenatal: When your life was still somewhat your own. Show off: A child who is more talented than yours. Top bunk: where you should never put a child wearing Superman jammies. Verbal: Able to whine in words.

We had better understand clearly what Messiah really means when we read the focus scripture of Luke 14:25 through 33. There is so much controversy over this passage, particularly verse 26, since most of us first heard it through the King James translation. There it reads, “If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

Let’s clear up this troubling issue that appears to be a blatant contradiction when compared to other scripture. Very clearly we are told to love one another throughout the scriptures, and here Yeshua is apparently saying that to be a disciple we must “hate” even family!?

This passage as read to you moments ago, is from the Aramaic, with a direct translation to English by Dr. George Lamsa, who does not use the English “hate” but rather translates to “put aside”. You may be a total believer in the King James version as the ordained translation of the Word of God, but this time the King’s translators got it wrong. Holding on to the King James use of “hate” goes against the Ten Commandments where we are told to honor our father and mother. Paul reinforced that thought in Ephesians 6. Look at Deuteronomy 21:18 where we find that the Law makes obedience to parents so important that continued rebellion is a capital offense. Then as husbands, we are instructed to “love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” See Ephesians 5:25. Turning to First Timothy 3 and Titus 1, we find that being a good husband and dad is a prerequisite for being a leader in the church.

Another reason we must look carefully at the original intent, is found in Matthew 5:21, where the same Greek word is translated into “hate”. In Luke 14:26 the same word is used to express feelings one might have if there is intent to murder another. Then in First John 3:15 we read, through Dr. Lamsa’s translation, “Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” So then, how did the King James translators come to use the word, “hate” in their translation of this quote by Messiah in Luke 14?

Dr. Lamsa was right in using “put aside” in place of “hate” as a legitimate meaning in Luke 14. But what did the Greek word mean when it was originally translated from Aramaic? The Greek word used is mis-eh’-o, which has several possibilities, with “hate” being one, the most intense. This is where the King James translators went straight to the first option, seeing that the prime root for mis-eh’-o is hatred, which is of the magnitude that you could kill. What was missed were the next options, with the one making the most sense being “love less”. This replacement causes the passage in Luke 14 to fit the rest of scripture about our relationships with families, Christian community and even our enemies.

Our relationship with the Teacher and with God must be put in context, correct context, which is what Yeshua was saying as a condition of being a disciple. It is sad that a mistranslation has so twisted understanding for centuries.

An excellent example of commitment to be a disciple is found in the story of Peter and his brother Andrew, then James and John. When the Master called, as we find in verses 20 and 22 of Matthew four, they walked away from everything, that moment, and followed Christ. In the case of James and John, we read, “So they immediately left the ship and their father; and followed him.” Does not this verse best describe what Messiah meant when He said, as Dr. Lamsa translates; “put aside” their father to follow the Master? There is nothing in the passages of Matthew 4 that indicate that James and John “hated” their father, while mis-eh’-o was also used in this scripture; these two disciples immediately and dramatically changed their priorities when given the opportunity to follow Messiah.

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