Things Jesus Said – ‘Hate Your Parents’

[This post is part of the ‘Things Jesus Said’ Series.]

I love Aussie humor. It’s sarcastic and often very dry. We often tease the people that we like. The more you tease someone, the more you like them. Some overseas visitors have a difficulty understanding our sense of humor. People are easily offended by the way we joke. It’s all meant in good fun, but it’s somehow lost in translation.

Luke 14:26

Photo courtesy of RNL

The New Testament was written in Greek. It’s now translated into hundreds of other languages. But not only this, but it was written in the Ancient Near East, thousands of years ago!

The words used and the way they were used, are different from the way we speak. Even the way people interacted was different. Their culture is not the culture we live in today. So, when we read the New Testament it’s crazy of us to think we will understand everything without some further investigation.

Jesus said things that to 21st century people don’t seem to make sense. They’re even offensive to our modern way of thinking and seeing the world.

There’s a number of things He said, that if we’re honest, are very difficult to understand without some help in translating the ancient way of speaking and communicating. Their way of life, like the Australian sarcasm, was unique to the people in that part of the world, at that time.

In Luke 14:26 it says;

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

Does Jesus actually want us to hate our family?

The simple answer is yes, but not in the way we think of the word hate. Jesus uses the Greek word ‘miseo’ which to the hearers of His words would have been understood it as to ‘love less’. In other words, the word carried with it a comparison. Jesus is saying that anyone who wants to be called His follower must love Him more than their family and even their life.

While this makes better sense in light of Jesus other teaching, it doesn’t remove the challenge of His statement. Jesus is teaching that we must prioritise Him over our family. He’s asking us, as those in pursuit of the way, to even put Him before the breath we breath that keeps us alive.

So how does this outwork itself?

It outworks itself in the decisions we make everyday. It’s when you and I choose not to take a promotion, or a new job with a pay rise, in order to continue leading a Bible study group, or to allow us to attend Church on a weekend. In these examples we’re putting our commitment to Christ above the comfort and wealth of our families. When we open our home to strangers and those in need, we risk the safety of our families. By speaking up for Jesus and the Gospel, we risk ridicule and rejection for our families.

Jesus isn’t telling us not to love our family, but He is saying we must prioritize Him.

Jesus said ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

As His people, He wants us to be Holy, to be set apart. To exemplify a way of life that points to Him. Lives that reflect Him. He wants us love as He showed us He loves. After all He loved the world, you and I, so much that He gave His only son.

Question: Have you ever had the situation where something you have said has been lost in translation?

[This post is part of the ‘Things Jesus Said’ Series.]