The crowds were excited by the healings as well as delighted with Jesus' stories. Even though they didn't fully understand all they heard, they were drawn to the Speaker. "And there went great multitudes with Him" Luke 14:25. Knowing that the majority had no idea what was involved to be a true follower, He startled them with "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.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" Luke 14:26, 27. Now, for one who had been in the crowd, they may have thought themselves disciples just by being part of the listening audience, but these were wake up words! Hate your family members as well as yourself?! What did this Teacher mean? And what's this about bearing a cross? That was a Roman death tool!
Jesus was also the one who said "love one another; as I have loved you" John 13:34. He was not contradicting Himself. According to Strong's Concordance, the word translated "hate" can also be translated "love less". One is not a valid disciple of Jesus unless He has our supreme love and commitment. All others we must love less.
It was as Jesus continued that the meaning became increasingly clear. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? . . Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?" verses 28, 31. Do you see the principle here? Before entering into a commitment so important, one must first count the cost. How important is the person or commitment involved? Discipleship to Jesus must be the most important thing in our life if we are truly to be counted as His. "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" verse 33.
Have you counted the cost? Have you made the best decision?
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.