Summary: Stations of the Cross, Pt. 2
THE WAY OF THE STUDENT (LUKE 14:25-33)
Upon entering a little country store, a stranger noticed a sign reading “Danger! Beware of Dog” posted on the glass door. Inside, he noticed a harmless old hound dog asleep on the floor besides the cash register.
The stranger asked the store manager, “Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?” “Yep, that’s him,” he replied. The stranger couldn’t help but be amused. “That certainly doesn’t look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?” “Because,” the owner replied, “before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him.”
Have you ever felt like the poor household dog? Old, sleepy and traumatized by outsiders, footsteps and boots?
Jesus had called us to be His disciples, to make a difference in the world, to be salt and light in society and to snatch lost people from the jaws of spiritual death, but, sadly, we have more resemble to sleeping dogs at rest than shepherd dogs at work. Today’s Christians have lost their bite, their legs and stomach for discipleship.
A disciple is a student of the Master - he represents Him with distinction, dedication and delight. The Master has challenged his students to forego the comfort of the family, the lure of sheltered living and the attraction of the world to join Him in the school of discipleship. Jesus used the word “disciples” three times in this passage to challenge all His followers to roll up their sleeves and join Him without regretting the journey or the loss.
Consider Your Priority
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 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 14:25-26)
Luke 14:26 is very controversial due the critics’ assertion that it is anti-family - it pits children against parents, splits brothers and sisters apart and divides husbands and wives. The surest way for people to leave the church is for the pastor to expound passages like these. We have enough issues to divide the family today – money, politics and lack of time - and we certainly don’t need religion to drive the family further apart.
However, to understand this passage, we have to first understand what Jesus had to say about the duty of children. On two occasions, Jesus asserted that honoring parents is a command of God: to the rich young ruler (Lk 18:18-20, Mt 19:19) and to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (Matt 15:1-4, Mark 7:5-10). The presence of the teachers of the law was crucial, since the teachers of the law were at the courtyard of the high priest, too (Mt 26:57, Mk 14:53) when three accusations brought against Jesus there were that he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days (Mt 26:61, Mk 14:58); that he was the Christ, the Son of God (Mt 26:63, Mk 14:61, Lk 22:67) and that he was the king of the Jews (Mt 27:11, Mk 15:2, Jn 18:33).
Note that when push came to shove, the teachers of the law did not accuse Jesus of transgressing against parents, a blame they would be most willing to place on him if they had evidence or charge against him, especially since they had no problem parsing or misinterpreting other things Jesus had said to large crowds.
Also, the word “hate” has to be examined in the light of the Old and New Testament teachings. In Leviticus 19:17, the Old Testament teaches us not to hate our brother in our heart, and in Ephesians 5:28-29, Paul clarifies that, in a strict sense, no one ever hates his own body.
However, Jesus did use the word “miseo,” the same linguistic word for “misogynist” or “women-hater.” So what does the word “hate” means in the Aramaic sense, the language Jesus spoke?
It is certainly not used in the emotional, relational or literal sense of the word today. In the Semitic sense, according to I. Howard Marshal, one of the foremost scholars on the book of Luke, it means “to love less.” He said, “The thought is, therefore, not of psychological hate, but of renunciation.”
A passage correlating to Luke 14:25-33 is Matthew 10:37-38, where it says clearly: “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; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
The sad truth is that the problem for the average Christian today is not the argument with, the breakup of or withdrawal from the family over religion, but the absence of opposition, discussion or impact in the family. Christians who are not kept on their toes through moderate persecution now and then often have brittle legs, weak knees and flabby muscles due to others’ indifference to them.