What does Jesus mean by the verse in Luke 14:26?

Author: BibleAsk Team

Luke 14:26

Luke 14:26 states, “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.” Some Bible readers get confused when they read the above verse and wonder: Does the Lord want us to hate our family members?

Scripture usage makes it clear that the hate in Luke 14:26 is not “hate” in the usual sense of the word. In the Bible, “to hate,” often should be understood simply as a typical Oriental hyperbole meaning “to love less” (Deuteronomy 21:15–17).

This fact is shown clearly in the parallel passage where Jesus says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). This striking hyperbole is apparently used to make obvious to the follower of Christ the fact that at all times he must make first in his life the kingdom of heaven. Jesus taught, “but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Therefore, Luke 14:26, is implying that whoever has personal interests that take first place over loyalty to Christ and devotion to His service will find it impossible to meet the requirements Christ makes of him. At all times and under all circumstances, the call of the kingdom must come first. The service of Jesus calls for the entire and permanent renunciation of self. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).

Honor Your Parents

Jesus blessed the binding claims of the fifth commandment which says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20: 12). And He rebuked any attempt to break the duties of children toward their parents (Matthew 5:17–19; Mark 9–13).

Nevertheless, love for one’s parents must never get in the way of faithfulness to God in every way, should the two be in disagreement. Love to God and devotion to Him are to be the main goal in life (Matthew 22:36-37); but “the second” table of the Ten Commandments, which contains the fifth commandment, is “like” the first in nature and importance (Matthew 22:39). No human duty is a proper excuse for not taking up the cross of loyalty, obedience, and service to Christ, who gave His life to save us (John 3:16).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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