I've often heard that Luke 14:26 is meant to be interpreted as "Love me more than your family" or something along those lines (in fact, the CEV translates it as such). I'm interested in how scholars came to this interpretation. Is it just a case of "Oh, this doesn't line up with everything else Jesus said, therefore we need to reinterpret it in light of other scripture"? Alternatively, would scholars come to the same conclusion if they had only Luke 14:26 in isolation (due to either cultural or textual clues)?
Any insight into this verse would be appreciated.
No, I don't think we are dealing with a case of "Oh, this doesn't line up with everything else Jesus said, therefore..."
However, I will say we need the entirety of Luke 14 to make sense of this gnarly truth that Jesus is making.
To start off, don't overlook the fact that Luke 14:26 includes more than family members - it also includes ourselves -
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.
The fact that Jesus mentions "...and even his own life.." is a clue to a proper interpretation of this verse.
That said, prior to Luke 14:26, we read of a guy who says,
Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God. (Lk 14:15)
and Jesus responds to this guy with a parable that is about a man who gave a huge party and invited a bunch of people. All the people who were invited declined the invitation with excuses that had to do with earthly type of responsibilities and possessions...
- I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it
- I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them
- I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come
In response to the declined invitations, the host of the party "brought in the poor and crippled and blind and lame" and compelled anyone and everyone else.
Keep in mind that the parable was in response to "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God."
The parable seems to make it clear that Jesus is thinking, "Although, it's true that blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God, not everyone will give up their earthly responsibilities to even come to the kingdom of God."
Jesus reiterates this parable with Luke 14:26 - where hating your family and your own life refer to giving up all of who you are to be Jesus' disciple.
There are so many other passages to back up this concept, but I do believe the parable in Luke 14:16-24 shed enough light on how to interpret Luke 14:26.Tweet