Back on October 4th, I (Jeff) mentioned that I would share with you some of the things that my students thought were crazy things that Jesus said. Again, I think that this interests me bacause I too seldom gloss over many of the absolutely startling things that Jesus said. He was definitely not out to win a popularity contest when he said:
“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26 (NLT - emphasis mine)
I chose to post the NLT translation here because it includes the softening disclaimer "...everyone else by comparison..." While this softening comment probably accurately portrays Jesus' feelings on the matter, it is not in the original text. Read it again excluding these 4 words.
Is Jesus trying to pick a fight with me? Is he trying to discourage me from following him? I thought Jesus wanted me to love others, not hate them. If Jesus' words disturb you, let them disturb you...they disturb me. When I read this, I see Jesus pointing into my heart and saying: "Jeff, sometimes you love these, these, and these relationships more than me, and your actions, decisions, and worries show it." So then, what am I going to do with this crazy thing Jesus said?