Luke 14

Key Idea: Jesus Raises the Bar on True Religion

Summary: Hi all,

How has your week gone? I am sitting here listening to the chatter of my little g'munchkins as they snuggle in their beds. Mommy and daddy have their first night out since the birth of little Ishmael:-)

We had quite a bit of good discussion on Luke 14:25-35 on what does it mean when Jesus said we should "hate" our mother, father, sister, brother, etc. if we want to be His disciples?

Before we go there, let's backtrack a bit.

First of all, in the beginning of the chapter we find Jesus using several events at a dinner to describe true religion.

1. Man with dropsy: Jesus heals the man on the sabbath showing that true religion is about doing good and showing mercy.

2. Guests scrambling of the best seats: Jesus comments on what he sees to say that true religion is about humility before God and others.

3. The crippled, poor and lame: Jesus speaks to the host and tells him that true religion is about faith and doing good to those like the poor, crippled and lame who cannot repay you. We do good to them because we know there is a reward in the life to come.

4. Jesus tells a story about a man who invited people to a dinner to teach that the Kingdom of God will include the crippled, poor and lame...as well as the Gentiles and those who were first invited (the Jews) will find reason to not accept the invitation.

Luke continues with this thought by adding comments that Jesus made to the crowd of people who were following HIm. Not all who followed Him were sincere in their motives. People followed Jesus for all kinds of reasons. Some because He healed people. Think about it. This would be better than reality TV! That had to be quite a show! Some because they wanted to be healed or because they enjoyed the banter between Jesus and the Pharisees or because they were hoping He would deliver them from the oppression of the Romans. And some, no doubt, were God-seekers...wanting to know what He had to say about God.

Jesus turns to the crowd and says, if you want to be My disciples it's going to cost you. You must put Me first!

He does use the word "hate" but we also know that Jesus does not teach us to hate anyone in the Scriptures, not even our enemies. We looked up several passages of Scripture that tell us to honor our parents and to love one another. A husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the church. A father is to care for his family or he is worse than an infidel. Surely Jesus is not teaching us to hate our parents, our children and our families.

So, then what does Jesus mean when He says hate?

It means to love others less and love God more! The word is used as an hyperbole to show comparison. We noted in the previous section, Jesus ends His story of the dinner by saying that "none" who were invited will taste the dinner. Since He is using this to describe that the invitation to be God's people went to the Jews first...does than mean that "none" of the Jews will be in the Kingdom? NO!

Though, the religious leaders of Israel rejected HIm as the Messiah and had Him crucified, there were many who still believed. He's just giving an illustration of a man who gave a dinner and none of the people He invited wanted to come, so He invited others.

IT IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO COMPARE SCRIPTURE TO OTHER PORTIONS OF THE BIBLE. We must remember the Bible is a book. We must always read it in the context of the passage, the book and the whole Bible. Many cults and false religions are started by people who take a passage out of context and say it means something that it does not. The Bible will never contradict itself, because God does not contradict Himself. If two passages appear to be contradictory than we have not arrived at the right meaning.

It is also important to note, that the majority of the Bible can be read and clearly understood. There are few portions that are difficult and sometimes we have to say, "I don't know."

There's a quote by Mark Twain that sums it up pretty well. "It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

In summary, we are to love God with our entire being and love our neighbors as ourselves. A right love for others begins by loving God first. If there is ever a conflict, we choose God!

Notes: download study notes