“AND DOES NOT HATE …”
There are no grey areas in the teaching of Jesus, yet life today contains many grey areas, human legislation in most countries appears to us in many ways to bend over backwards to allow all kinds of behavior; you can live and behave as you like as long as you do not tread on anyone else’s toes, as the saying is.
These thoughts entered our minds as we read the teaching of Jesus in Luke ch. 14. It tells us “Now great crowds accompanied him.” [v.25]. Imagine the scene, how popular he had become, but it was not of the same order of popularity that many ‘stars’ achieve today. But, suddenly he is very challenging in a personal sense! “He turned and said to them, ‘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.” [v,25,26]
What are we to make of the word “hate”? The Greek word occurs 42 times in the New Testament and is always translated as hate, hateful, hated, etc in the A.V. What we learn is that, from the Divine perspective there are no grey areas, if one does not love – then one is counted as ‘hating’.
But the words of Jesus demand that we put them into a scriptural perspective. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find the word “opinion” – yet our world today uses it abundantly! The context in which Jesus uses the word hate implies he counts some things, many things, as of no importance. In following in his footsteps to “come after” Christ, we must see life’s values (or lack of them) as he sees them. We need to each ask ourselves, ‘What is of first importance in my life?’ If we are really following Christ and putting his principles into practice in the way we live - then this will direct the decisions we make, this will totally push to one side all other things we think of and do, they will have no priority in our planning.
Look at the parable Jesus tells immediately after giving this challenging teaching (in v.27 to 33). What kind of “tower” are we building? Is your life, is mine, like building a ‘tower’? As we build, using the material Jesus and his father supplies, we get to see the meaning of life from the divine perspective with greater and greater clarity? We must each ask ourselves today – how is my building going? What sort of view am I now getting of life?