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Holy Week and Discipleship

One of my favorite texts for some time has been Luke 14:25-27

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even life itself—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-27, TNIV)  

While I’ve had no trouble explaining what Jesus meant by “hate” (Gk miseo, “to be disinclined to, disfavor, disregard” – BDAG) or as I explained it to our Jr. High group last weekend, to hate is to put everything else, family, friends, etc. as a second priority to your faithfulness to Jesus Christ, such that is being faithful to Jesus Christ and being faithful to someone else contradict, you get rid of whatever is hindering your faithfulness to Jesus Christ.  The usual and quite appropriate response is usually, “But I don’t think Jesus wants me to leave my family.”

As I was preparing for our Good Friday service I was given John 19:25b-27

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:25b-27, TNIV)  

Here Jesus demonstrated precisely what he intended by Luke 14.  When it came to the mission he had received from his Father he ultimately had to give up everything, including his family.  But what Jesus demonstrates is that faithfulness to one’s calling does not justify a callous and blatant disregard for family, as here he entrusts the care of his mother to the beloved disciple.  

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