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Jesus Christ was the greatest teacher of "metaphors" that the world has ever known. A "metaphor" is a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another by speaking of it as if it were that other.

One day, as multitudes of people were following Jesus, probably because of the great miracles, food, and blessings he was providing, He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26)

The word "hate" in the original language that the New Testament was written in, is a word that actually means "to hate or detest." It is used in these New Testament verses as actual "hatred." (Matthew 24:9; Mark 13:13; Luke 1:71; 6:22; Jn. 15:19, 23; 17:14; Titus 3:3; 1 John 3:13) In Scripture, God tells us to "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12) and for "husbands to love their wives." (Ephesians 5:25)

Why is Jesus telling us now to hate them? Jesus is using a word of comparison. Jesus is saying for you to follow Me, you must place Me above the closest human relationships, and oh yes, even above your own selfish desires. Jesus is calling people to make Him the preeminent reason for their existence. Furthermore, Jesus said, "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:27) Those that heard Jesus speak that day knew exactly what He was saying. It has been estimated that perhaps as many as 30,000 crucifixions had been performed under Roman authority during Jesus lifetime. It was not uncommon for the people of that day to see people carrying their own cross in a death march for their own crucifixion. Jesus was saying in fact, "Are you willing to suffer embarrassment, reproach, rejection, persecution and even possible death for my sake?" The "cross" represents our willingness to suffer because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. It will cost you to be His disciple. Jesus asks you to count the cost and gives two examples.

Example No. 1 is found in Luke 14:28-30. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish." Jesus said this man counts the cost before he begins to build. Is it going to cost me $10,000 to build this tower or is it going to cost me $20,000? Can I afford this?

Example No. 2 is found in Luke 14:31-32. "What king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace."

This man is considering the question, What will this war cost me? Will it cost me my 10,000 men? If I am defeated will it cost me my kingdom? If I cannot win this war, I must give up and ask for conditions of peace. If I can't win, can I afford not to do this?

Now Jesus is asking, "Can you afford to follow Me?" "But can you afford not to follow Me?" So Jesus is now stating the cost. "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has, cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:33) To follow Jesus it will cost you everything. In place of losing everything, you will find everything that you've ever been looking for. It's a paradox isn't it? Giving up and losing your life to find His life. "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life." (John 12:25) You see, the quality of life that you keep trying to find in all the wrong places and brings you so much disappointment and pain is not really life. Eternal life, can only be found in Jesus.

Consider the claims of Jesus Christ. He was who He claimed to be or He was a liar and a deceiver. His claim is this, "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life, the ONLY WAY to God the Father." (John 14:6)

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(Tract No. 02 by Don Krow)
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