Luke 14:24-27, 26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” To be a disciple of Christ is to be willing to pay the cost to follow Him in wholehearted obedience.
Scripture contains many imperatives, which are commands given by the Lord to be obeyed. The command before us is to first follow Jesus, and as a fruit of following Him, He would make His followers fishers of men. Hence we have an imperative which is conditional, “If we follow, then we will be made fishers of men.” What does it mean to follow Jesus? Luke 14:26-33 points out the following:
First, is the family cost. We must hate all others compared to our loving Him. This is known as hyperbole, a statement of extremes, here contrasting love with hate for emphasis’ sake. All other relationships must seem like hate, in contrast to our love for Christ. To the extent that we treasure our spouse and family, and even our own life, no one whom we love and should be more treasured or take precedence in our life above Christ. To place love for another, including ourselves above God is idolatry.
Secondly, is a personal cost, we are to bear our cross. Few statements were ever more scandalous than these words Jesus fired like a heat sinking missile into the crowds. A Roman cross in the first century was not only an obscenity but meant capital punishment reserved for the vilest of criminals. The call was to be willing to die for Christ. Steve Lawson said, “It will cost you everything! What will it cost you? It will cost you your old way of life forfeiting past sins. It will cost you easy living and living for this world. You will march to the beat of a different drum to walk in step with the Gospel. You will have to be willing to break from the crowds and be willing to stand alone for Christ even if no one else will stand with you. His words were not hard to understand – just hard to swallow.”
Soli Deo Gloria: How does that grab you, family second, Christ first. Does Jesus supersede family ties? Does this make you uncomfortable? Are you willing to be hated by others, those you know- friends, family, co-workers for the sake of Christ? They might mock you, look past you for a position at work. Are you willing to pay such a cost?