The Love of the Heavenly Family

Uplifting Moments Guest Column
Rev. Caleb Schewe
St. John’s Lutheran Church

Luke 14:25-35 

Now great crowds accompanied Jesus, and he turned and said to them, “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. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” 

You won’t find any door-to-door evangelism program based on these words. Great crowds followed Jesus and it’s almost as if He turned them away. 

Consider it as though Jesus said, “Do you really know what you’re getting into?” Jesus does not trick anyone into the Christian life with promises of health, wealth, and happiness now. He’s brutally honest. The Christian life brings a cross, suffering, and persecution. As you know from the beatitudes, it’s blessed are the poor, the mourners, the meek, and so forth. Blessed are those who are persecuted, reviled, and have all evil uttered against them falsely on account of Jesus. Blessed are those who take up their own cross and follow the Lord. 

Hate, in this text, does not mean an emotion. It’s not, “If anyone comes to me and does not revile his own father and mother...” Hate is not revile, or disdain, or loathe. The meaning is this: you are not to love your father and mother more than Jesus. You are not to love your wife and children more than the Word of God. You are not to love your brothers and sisters more than you love the Lord’s forgiveness. For example, consider Gideon, who loved the Lord more than his father Joash. Consider Ruth, who loved the true God more than her kindred in Moab. Consider David, who loved the Lord above Jesse and his brothers. You are to honor father and mother. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. And you are to love God above all things. 

The joy in this is that Jesus spoke these words while going to Jerusalem to take up His cross, the once-for-all cross, for the salvation of the world cross. Jesus has already loved you with a perfect love. He has put you into the eternal family with His Father as your Father, Himself as your brother, and knit you together with countless brothers and sisters through His blood. The cross of salvation does not have to be carried by you because it was carried for you by Jesus. Whenever you have failed to love God above all things, you live in Christ’s forgiveness. Wherever you have made family an idol, that sin is paid by the blood of the Lamb. The heavenly Father is well-pleased, delighted, and has great joy in you, on Christ’s account. 

With joy, you follow the Lord who blazed the way through death and the grave to glorious resurrected life. You are brought with Jesus into the perfect joy of the Father in heaven. 


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