Uncomfortable (S1) - Day 3

Luke 9: 59-62
59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Luke 14:26
26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

These texts have always been complex for me. Jesus is brutal in how he answers these inquiries about following him. Can it be true that he wants us to forget about our families and act as if they are not essential to us? Do we have to forsake, even "hate," those closest to us?

I've never been a fan of these texts, but they are there, so what do we do with them?

If they make you as uncomfortable as they make me, then we are onto something to which we need to pay attention. If we are called to be uncomfortable, these words are par-for-the-course; they are precisely what we need to hear.

The point of these texts is not the "hate" you are supposed to feel for your family; that is a dramatic use of words to make a point. The real emphasis is on the difficulty and commitment it takes to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus called out to those who asked to follow him in their comfort. He wanted them to understand that they were sadly mistaken if they were considering being disciples and thought it might be a comfortable undertaking. Jesus reminded them that a disciple's life has to take priority over everything else in life. And at that time, in those circumstances, he wasn't kidding.

Every disciple, save John the Revelator, found a pretty inauspicious ending to their life. And John had spent years exiled to Patmos, where he wrote the book of Revelation, which was not a comfortable place to be. I've been there–there are worse areas to be exiled in, but exile is still difficult, even on a Greek Island!

So does Jesus want us to hate our families? Does he want us to despise our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters? No, but he does want us to make a priority of following him. And that comes at a cost.

"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."
― Deitrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

And this is important for us to understand, along with this second quote:

"Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ."
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Both of these people in the scriptures were coming to Jesus, but Jesus made disciples by asking them to go and be a part of a new life, a new movement, and a new opportunity to share the grace of Jesus Christ.

So, is Jesus asking you to be a disciple, and what will your answer be?

Have these texts ever confused you?
What do you think they mean?
How can we follow Jesus without "hating" our families?
Does this speak to what we must give up to be a disciple?

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