Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jesus' call to hate family in Luke 14

Something that's always haunted me as I seek to take Jesus seriously has been his call to hate family, as in Luke  14: 26.  I've often not been able to access his message.  Why would he say this?  Because he thinks families are dumb?  Because he secretly means something else?

I read this yesterday morning and just have to share it, because it helped me.  Maybe it will help you too.  It can be found in the book The Politics of Jesus By John Howard Yoder, page 45.  Referring to this verse, he writes:
Modern psychologizing interpretation of Jesus has been bothered largely with whether the word hate here should be taken seriously or not.  This is certainly to miss the point of the passage.  The point is rather that in a society characterized by very stable, religiously under-girded family ties, Jesus is here calling into being a community of voluntary commitment, willing for the sake of its calling to take upon itself the hostility of the given society.  
So it seems that Jesus used an extreme statement to highlight the extremity of his way... the way of the cross.  If I take the opposite of his statement, I must learn to love belonging to his family, whether it means departing from earthly God-given family or social outcast or death.  Why should I love this?  Because there is nothing better than being a part of the family of God.

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