Do We Have to Hate Our Families to Follow Jesus?
Why are we Hated?
2011 © Roy Blizzard III
Jesus or Yeshua spoke in Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
A lady once asked me the question about some zealous individuals, who facing objections from their parents, unwaveringly broke relationship with their parents for the sake of Jesus, and thereby harmed the feelings of their parents! Isn't that a sin of Jesus for teaching people something like that that is destroying families?
Ok, here we goes. the passage Luke 14:26 is actually a part of a larger teaching explaining to the people present about the nature of God and how to be a part of God's Kingdom both here and after. Jesus asked a question back in Luke 14:3 to try and elicit a response from the "spiritual leaders". It was in fact OK to heal on the sabbath but the Pharisee leaders were not being responsive to the people's needs at the time and Jesus was going to make a point that God cares even if the leaders don't.
Back to Luke 14:26. Here is another example of how the text has gotten mistranslated by only trying to understand it in the Greek. In Hebrew the word translated as "Hate" is sahneh -שנא . As usual in Hebrew we find several shades of meaning for this word. It is usually translated as hate properly, but oftentimes it has the connotation not of hate as we think of it in our western mind, but should be translated and understood as, "love less".
This is what we find in the Hebrew in Deuteronomy 21:15 - "If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated (loved less), and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated (loved less); and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated (loved less)." Also in Genesis 29:31 - "And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated (loved less), he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren."
The way this passage in Luke should be read is as follows. "If a man will come to me without loving his dad, mom, wife and kid, kinfolk and even his own life less than he loves me, he cannot be my student." This passage is about committment to a cause. The reason being is that in Jewish law there are stipulations as to what men could or couldn't do when following a teacher in order to be his student.
This also relates directly to the 1st and 2nd commandments which are "I am YHWH your God and you shall have no other Gods before me." Thus, how can you be a disciple of a Godly man and commit to him if you are worried about all of your relatives and even yourself before being worried about God and what God requires.
There is no sin here in what Jesus is saying. He is just relating standard Jewish law and interpretation.
I don’t want you to think that everything found in the Bible that you read in some other language besides Hebrew or sometimes Greek is wrong. What I am saying that you may not understand what the text is saying unless you know these languages or find someone who does. You need to understand that we really don't have as much of a translation as we have a transliteration of the Bible. There is a big difference. While there are many commentaries, there is not what I would consider a "translation" as such. I am currently working on an understandable translation of the Gospel of John based on a Hebrew text. It is quite different than the English.
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