“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.”
What a statement. Now we’ve seen this language before, earlier in Luke 9:23. Jesus said, “if anyone comes to me,” so again, this is introductory, what it means to follow Jesus. He says, “He must hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life.” What does that mean? Elsewhere in scripture, we see honor your father and mother, love your wife, lay down your life for your wife and your children, and for brothers and sisters around you like. Love your family. Love brothers and sisters in Christ certainly. Love your family. So we see that in Scripture.
We pray today for our brothers and sisters throughout the world for whom the cost of following Jesus is severe. Lord, we ask for grace to love You more than we love our own lives.
So what is Jesus saying here then? Basically, and this is a powerful picture, Jesus is calling us to love him so supremely. Now again, this is what it means to be a follower of Jesus. This is introductory. To love him so supremely that even our closest relationships in this world look like hate in comparison.
Do you love Jesus like that? Do I love Jesus like that? That even my relationship with my wife … I love my wife so much. I love my kids so much. I love my mom and my dad, but do I love Jesus in a way that makes those relationships look like hate in comparison? This is what Jesus said. This exact language was just used in Matthew 10, a similar passage where Jesus said, “Whoever loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” This is the greatest commandment. Love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind, all your strength.
So today we’re praying for the Kashmiri Muslims in Pakistan, 1.2 million of them. And so Kashmir is a contested region all around that combines Pakistan, India in particular. But the Kashmiri Muslims are Sunni Muslims. If someone who is a Kashmiri Muslim hears the gospel and decides to follow Jesus, the likelihood is they will totally lose their family. Mom and Dad would disown them. Brother or sister disown them, may even try to kill them.
I’ve been near this region in the world. I think about one man and his wife who came to know Christ up in this area, who upon coming to know Christ were kicked out of their homes. They ended up getting married as followers of Jesus, and they worked. They wanted to get back to their families to be able to share the gospel with them. So they worked their way back to where they could go visit their families. Their families welcomed them in, or so they thought. One day they were staying there with her family, and he left. The husband left to go and visit with his family. And when he came back, his wife had been poisoned to death in her own home by her own family.
And Jesus says, “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.” This is what it means to follow Jesus.
So, God, we praise you. I praise you that upon coming to faith in you, that I didn’t lose my family on this earth. My God, I know that’s a reality for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray. We pray for your to strengthen them. I pray for your help in their lives. God, I pray for this husband. I can picture his face right now. I won’t mention his name, but I pray that you continue to strengthen him and help him and uphold him. God, regardless though of where we live in the world, we pray that you would help us to obey your word here in Luke chapter 14, verse 26. Help us to love you, Jesus, supremely.
And when we pray that this would transform, affect our love for father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, and even the way we look at our own life. God that we would love others for your sake, but God we pray that it would all be driven by supreme love for you. God, we pray in each of our hearts, I pray this in my own heart, and I pray this over every single person who’s listening to this right now, give us, help us to grow in love for you that would make our closest relationships in this world look like hate in comparison.
Help us to love you with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength, and help us to lay down our lives. Help us to love you more than we love our own lives. And we pray that as we do this, you would use our lives to make your love known right around us, in our families, in our churches and our cities and to the ends of the earth, among Kashmiri Muslims in Pakistan. Help us to lay down our lives to make your love known among more and more and more Kashmiri Muslims in Pakistan.
We love you, Jesus. We want to grow in our love for you, even as we praise and worship and glorify you for your love for us. We pray all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.