Summary: A sermon on commitment
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.’ 
‘Thought for thought’ versus ‘word for word’ translations
The two Gospels cover a lot of the same ground.  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.
But, to get back to the point, Christ’s point here is that we have to love Him more than anything else.  He overstates this for effect. ‘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! Jesus is saying here that at the deepest core of our being we have to love and honor our relationship with Him, above and beyond all other relationships in this world. It costs us quite a bit to be His Disciple. And He tells us that here.
We need to be careful when we interpret a text like this. Like most texts in the Bible, you can explain this to the point of explaining it away, which we don’t want to do. We don’t want to minimize the seriousness of what Jesus is saying to us here. It is true that when Jesus taught, he was fond of using ‘hyperbole’. Hyperbole is a rhetorical device. It is overstatement. It is ‘exaggeration for effect’. It is like when we tell our kids, “I’ve told you a million times to clean that room!” That is hyperbole, the ‘exaggeration for effect’. Not that it has any effect on my kids. But Jesus used to do that all the time. For example, when Jesus said, ‘If your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell.’  That is hyperbole, or overstatement, the ‘exaggeration for effect. And now Jesus  only employed that when He was making a very serious point, something that affects our eternity. So we should pay very close attention when we hear Him saying something like this.
‘What do you love most?
‘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 the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’ Why does Jesus speak so strongly? Wouldn’t saying something like that just drive the crowds away? Why does He speak so strongly? Well, the Lord knows that our deepest commitments affect everything we do. They steer our life. They fashion our future. They guide our eternity. What takes first place in our life? What do we give the greatest amount of time and money too? That is the thing we love the most. And Christ calls us to consider what is in that place in our heart.