Bible Studies for Life

with Don Hicks

Sunday,  May 19

Hate Your Family

Luke 14:25-35

A Sunday School Lesson titled “Hate Your Family” is a shock to our whole system.  This is another of our Bible lessons on the priorities of the Christian faith. Alex Himaya, the author of the teaching suggestions for Young Adults, helps us start with this definition of hate: “Although this word sometimes means a total rejection of someone or something, it can refer to, as it does in this instance [Luke 14:26], something that is less loved or less liked.” 

The introductory page for this lesson gives The Point to be: “Loving Jesus should be so intense it makes everything else to look like hate.” In the Amplified Bible verse 26 reads: “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 [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]—he cannot be My disciple,” Luke 14:26 (AMP).

We can see an application of Jesus’ total commitment to doing God’s will in Mark chapter 3:  “His [Jesus’] mother and his brothers came, standing outside, they sent word to him and called him.  A crowd was sitting around him and told him, ‘Look, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you,” Mark 3:31-32 (CSB). Jesus knew what Mark tells us earlier in the chapter: “When his [Jesus’] family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, ‘He’s out of his mind,’” Mark 3:21 (CSB).

Jesus did not go out to His family and give in to their attempt to protect Him from the scribes and Jewish leaders wanting to stop his ministry. Instead “He replied to them [the scribes], ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother,” Mark 3:33-35 (CSB). At first blush this may look like Jesus is ignoring the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother. . .” Exodus 20:12 (CSB), but that would contradict Jesus’ clear statement from the Sermon on the Mount: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled,” Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV). 

To understand the example Jesus is setting for complete fulfillment of every jot and tittle of the law, we need to look closer at His life.  As Jesus was being crucified, He looked down from the cross, “seeing His mother, and the disciple whom He loved (esteemed) standing near, said to His mother, ‘[Dear] woman, look, [here is] your son!’ Then He said to the disciple (John), “Look! [Here is] your mother [protect and provide for her]!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said in fulfillment of the Scripture, ‘I am thirsty,’” John 19:26-28 AMP.

The first of the Ten Commandments was, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” Exodus 20:3 (KJV).  So when we study priorities, we must be certain that the One True God has all of our obedience and is our first love.  In the gospel of Matthew, “an expert in the law, asked a question to test him [Jesus]: ‘Teacher which command in the law is the greatest?’ He [Jesus] said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and most important command,” Matthew 22:35-38 (CBS). 

The priority of loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind was not a new concept for those who knew the Jewish Law of Moses. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (CSB) says: “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Hicks is associational missions director for Jasper Association in Bay Springs.