In the Book of Luke, chapter 14 verses 25-33 Jesus offers His three “does not” statements.
“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.”
“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
All of these statements are considered to be, “the hard sayings of Jesus,” because on the surface they seem very hard for anyone to follow. There are a lot Christians who ignore these passages or write them off as too strict to follow, because they don’t know what to do with them. Could Jesus really be saying Christians should hate their own family, be beaten or killed for Him or give up their current life for Him?
The answer yes and no.
In the verses in Luke, Jesus is not calling for Christians to hate their fathers or mothers their families or friends. What Jesus is saying here is the same thing He tells his disciples in Matthew, chapter 10, where he states, “Whoever loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
In Luke what Jesus is trying to explain to all the disciples, not the twelve disciples, but the crowds which seemed to be follow Him wherever He went, that being His disciple was not going to be an easy life. Being a disciple of Jesus meant giving up everything familiar from old way of life in order to benefit from a new truth, life and way. The twelve disciples knew this well. They walked away from family, friends, material possessions, their old beliefs and much more just to walk and learn with Jesus.
The twelves disciples of Jesus, including Paul, gave up everything to gain eternal life. In our American 21st Century lives how much do self described Christians give up to follow Jesus? A Sunday morning, maybe a Sunday evening or a Wednesday. Christians are called to do as the disciples did, put Jesus first, others second and their own self interests last. It is not an easy calling but in the end it will worth much more then can ever imagined.
A person must be careful of calling themselves a Christian because the life to follow will most likely no be easy. There will come more trial, more temptation, more persecution but on the flip side will also be great joy and peace at knowing on that one day when the eyes are closed here they will open onto true splendor in Heaven.