Difficult Inconvenient Truth #001 (edited/updated 2018.05.14)

For those of us who have the passion to read our Bible every day …

From time to time we read very difficult passages.

They are difficult for us because they demand firm decision making and sacrifices on our part to fully agree with what Jesus said and to do them!

They are difficult because they address our relationship with God and the people around us.

Here is one example –

 

Luke 14:26  – “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, he cannot be my disciple.

 

This message is ..

Shocking …

Disturbing …

This message came from the same person who went to the cross and died for our sins.

For us who have accepted the grace and mercy of God to become Christians, we find this message very serious, especially considering it is spoken by Jesus Himself.

Jesus Himself taught us to love God and to love our neighbor, so why would Jesus say anything like that?

 

A good way to gain a better understanding of what Jesus said is to apply the following two basic principles:

1) Most of Jesus’ teachings and messages can be cross referenced to what was written or revealed in the Old Testament.

If we want to better understand Jesus’ teachings and commandments, (what He did and why He did it,) it is a good idea to explore what is written in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament does not just prophesy about the coming of Jesus, but also about His ministry, His teachings, how Jesus is the Messiah, the savior of the world, and what we need to do to follow Jesus.

Jesus came to fulfill what was written and revealed about Him in the Old Testament. Therefore, being a good student of the Old Testament will give us a better understanding of what Jesus said and taught.

 

2) Jesus message highlights the relationship between God and man as a priority.

Jesus message also teaches us about personal relationships but prioritizes the relationship between God and man. This does not mean that Jesus marginalized human relationships.

God’s relationship towards man is pure, in truth and righteousness as God is pure, true and righteous. It goes beyond human time into eternity.

Personal relationships can be complicated and limited by time.

*If you can believe and accept that Jesus is in fact helping us to establish better and longer lasting human relationships by teaching us to follow God’s example, we are better prepared to understand some of Jesus difficult teachings.

 

Now let’s look at

Luke 14:26  – “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, he cannot be my disciple.

Take note Jesus mentioned “even his own life” – so there is something bigger than the individual self being addressed here.

Jesus is addressing our actions and behavior which effect community living.

This message can be directly crossed referenced to

Deuteronomy 13:6-8

6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.

The context of Deuteronomy was given by God Himself, recorded by Moses and administered to a generation of people prepared to enter the Promised Land.

The commandments of God were meant to protect them. They were also designed to keep them in unity and harmony with God, community, and teach them the way of righteousness and truth.

Take note that God’s commandments have a lot of impact on community living.

A little bit of a history lesson; the warning against going astray to serve other gods was not just about going to the temple and shrines to ask for individual blessings and throwing  a few coins into the donation box.

There were ancient practices of children sacrifices, sorceries and mediums, and dark magic which brought destruction upon the whole community.

If you care about your family, you will not want to get involved in these and you will want your family to stay safe.

 

You want to make sure you serve the true and living God who will reward you with eternal life, goodness and honor, and teach you the way of truth, justice and righteousness.

Jesus’ death and resurrection is our best guarantee that His promise of eternal life is  definite, sure and will be done!

 

In the message of Luke, Jesus was setting forth conditions to be His disciples.

We need to know what kind of disciples Jesus wants us to be.

Disciples of the love of God …

Disciples of truth and righteousness

Disciples of good deeds

And most important … disciples that receive eternal life!

 

Jesus teachings and commandments are consistent with His character and mission to save us and give us the gift of eternal life.

If Jesus demanded repentance from sin, preached against evilness and wickedness, why do you think Jesus would preached such a difficult message in Luke 14:26?

 

If you have a friend who asked you to join him to commit a crime, would you agree and go along with it? Even if you feel circumstances are extremely difficult?

If you have a family member who put you under pressure to do things that are morally wrong and against ethical values, would you do them? Especially with regards to actions and behaviors that will impact community living in a negative and destructive way – will you do it?

We should not be naïve or ignorant. Such things do happen in society and sometimes we feel caught in-between.

Sometimes we have friends and family who have strayed to a wrong motive.

We want to help them, show them the love of Jesus, and put them back on the right path.

 

Jesus has provided us a better peaceful way to do it right –

 

1 Timothy 4:16 – Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 

I cannot teach others the way to eternal life if I myself am not convinced Jesus can grant eternal life.

In the message of Luke 14:26, Jesus is challenging our own faith and conviction, first and foremost.

*Jesus is not teaching us to hate people, but is teaching us to stay on the path of righteousness, goodness and truth.  He wants us to testify and bear witness of God’s truth by standing our ground.

When Jesus Himself was crucified on the cross, betrayed and mocked by false accusers, He was prepared to die for truth.

Jesus allowed Himself to be killed for the truth of the Gospel.

After Jesus was resurrected, His disciples’ faith was revived.

Jesus death and resurrection is our best testimony that God is true and faithful.

Only Jesus can give us the gift of eternal life and we want to share that with our family and friends.

We cannot do it if we ourselves are not convinced about the promises of God.

 

In-His-Service

David Z