As Christians and followers of Jesus Christ’s teachings, we need to fully understand what we read in the Bible. Sometimes it is difficult to understand Jesus’ lessons. For instance, in Luke 14:26, Jesus told his disciples to hate themselves and their families, so that they could become disciples of Jesus. Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
Firstly, Jesus told his disciples to hate themselves and their family members to become disciple of Jesus. Many people will wonder if they could hate their parents, wife, children, brothers, and sisters and still be a disciple of Christ. And yet, if we do not hate them, we cannot become disciple of Christ? How could it be possible, that those of us who love our families, need to learn to hate them? In this verse, the word hate comes from the Greek word, “μισέω (miseó)” It means “to love someone or something less than someone or something else. Therefore in this Jesus is not telling us to actually hate our parents and family. He is just telling us that in order to be a true disciple of Jesus, we should love Jesus first and then our family and neighbors second .
Secondly, in order to be a true disciple of Jesus, we are told, in Luke 14:27 that we must carry our own cross. “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” To be sentenced to die on the cross was regarded as the most cruel sentence in the dominion of Rome. Crucifixion was a public act, with no care at all for the rights of the person sentenced. The sentence of the cross was given to a person to make sure they suffered severely. We have recently, with our Easter services, found just how cruel and painful such a sentence could be. However, the cross in this Bible reference from Luke, refers to the suffering that we have to endure here on earth. Each person has his or her own troubles and difficulties. However, we are told that these are our own cross bear and be responsible for.
Thirdly, Luke says that to be a disciple of Jesus we need to give up everything that belongs to us. In the passage of Luke 14:33 which I read before, ‘give up’ is apotassomai(ἀποτάσσομαι), which means “to separate or withdraw oneself from anyone,” In this passage, anyone refers to our world, and oneself refers to Christians. And thus Christians are told that they must separate themselves from our world. “Give up everything you have” means “Christians must separate themselves from desires, lies, and sins of this world on their journey to become true disciples of Jesus Christ.”
In order to become a true Christian, we must realize these three things. And we must put them into practice here on earth. Then we can become a true disciple of Jesus.
Rev Dr Je Cheol Cook