Summary: A sermon on commitment

Who do you love?

A sermon on Luke 14:25-33

The Super Bowl Ticket

‘A while back a man obtained a ticket to the Super Bowl. And as he sat down in his seat, he was surprised to see an empty seat next to his, at the Super Bowl. He commented on it to the woman sitting on the other side the empty seat. “Oh, It was my husband’s,” the woman explained.“But he died.” “I’m so very sorry to hear that,” replied the man. “But you know, I’m surprised that a relative or friend wouldn’t jump at the chance to accompany you to the Super Bowl and take his seat.” “Yeah It beats me,” she said. “But they were all stuck on going to his funeral.”’

Today’s Theme

Our Gospel reading this morning, that Jerry just read for us, contains two short parables that Jesus used in a little sermon to speak about our deepest commitments and what we love most in life.

Take Out Your Bibles

The text is found in the fourteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel. If you brought your Bible with you, why don’t you take it out and turn there. Or you can use the Pew Bible. We are going to be looking at the fourteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, verses twenty five through thirty three.

Who do we love?

There were times in Jesus’ ministry when He was quite popular. There were times when He wasn’t very popular. But this was one of those times in Christ’s ministry when huge crowds of people were following Him. [1] And Jesus in this little sermon called them very pointedly to consider their level of commitment, and what they loved most in life. The Lord started His sermon by turning to the crowd and saying, ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple!’ And, ‘Whoever does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple!’ [2]

What is this call to hate?

It is kind of odd, to see a call to hate coming from Jesus. Here was the Man who told us to: honor our parents, [3] love God, love our neighbors, love our selves, [4] He even told us to love our enemies, [5] And pray for those who persecute us. In fact here was the man who said that you could summarize all of God’s requirements upon our life in the simple statement, ‘love God and love your neighbor’. [6] And how then can we hear this call to hate from the same Man?

In Hebrew, ‘hate’ can be an idiom meaning to’ love less’

Well, in the Hebrew Language, ‘to hate something’, doesn’t always mean what we mean by ‘hate’. Sometimes it does. But in the Hebrew language, in the Old Testament, and this is also true in Aramaic, which is something of a sister language to Hebrew and is the language that Jesus spoke, in the Hebrew language there are places where the words love and hate are used simply as contrasts, not literally.

An Old Testament example

For example, in the twenty ninth chapter of Genesis, Jacob has two wives. And the book tells us that Jacob simply liked one of his wives better than the other one. The text says that, ‘Jacob loved Rachel more than he loved Leah’. [7] That doesn’t mean that Jacob didn’t love Leah. But then in the very next verse it read, ‘And God looked down and saw that Rachel was loved and Leah was hated’. [8] In Hebrew that is simply a way of expressing the contrast, one wife was loved more than the other. [9] [10] [11]

Two Gospel Parallels

We see that same concept illustrated when we compare Mathew’s account of this incident with Luke’s account. Luke reads, ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple!‘ Whereas in his Gospel, Matthew has Jesus saying, ‘He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.’ [12]

‘Thought for thought’ versus ‘word for word’ translations

The two Gospels cover a lot of the same ground. [13] And they give us a lot of the same teachings. But Luke tends to give us a more a literal word for word rendering of what Jesus said. Whereas Matthew tends to give us more of a thought for thought rendering of what Jesus said. It is kind of like the Living Bible. The Living Bible reads very differently then say the Revised Standard Bible that we have there in the Pew. And the reason is, The Living Bible is giving us a ‘thought for thought’ translation and the Revised Standard gives us a more ‘word for word’ translation.

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