Gospel Luke 14:25-33

“None of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.”

Has he just crossed the line? These last few weeks we’ve been reading some pretty tough sayings from Jesus. What is this guy on about?

When we read these words we are tempted to either dismiss them out of hand, or to explain them away as little more than a figure of speech. Surely I have a responsibility to my father, mother, sister, brother, wife, husband, child… Surely it is a good and wholesome thing to love and care for those with him I share life?

What Jesus puts before us today in the Gospel is tremendously challenging.

The radical nature of the Christian claim extends to the most intimate relationships in our lives. Jesus speaks with a firmness that is shocking inasmuch as it puts into stark relief the nature of Christian existence.

To love father, mother, wife and children above God is to make an idol (false God) out of an icon (something that is meant to direct us to God).

The good things of this world, the relationships that Jesus mentions for example, are created to be signs of God’s filial (and even nuptial) love for us. If however we worship them, rather than what they point to we are guilty of idolatry.

The directive here to ‘hate’ seems over the top, but Jesus is serious here – he wants us to be united with him for all eternity, and we must rid ourselves of anything that would prevent that from happening.

We can take solace though in the knowledge that love for God necessarily entails the unity of his followers.

Point to Ponder

“No sacrifice which a lover would make for his beloved is too great for us to make for our enemy.”

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship