|Matt.10:37||He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me.|
O, how GENTLY these words fall upon our ears! They tell us that we have to make sure that our "priorities" are right; and it's easy to SAY that loyalty to God should be at the top of our "list". To this agree the words of what Our Lord called the first and great commandment.
|Matt.22:37||Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.|
|38.||This is the first and great commandment.|
How sweet it is, to dwell in the midst of a loving family! How comforting it is to KNOW that there is SOMEONE who is ready to listen to you, to encourage you, and to help you! We desperately NEED for SOMEONE to care for us, and are willing to pay almost any price for friendship and love.
|Proverbs.17:9||He that covereth (Ignores, passes over, pretends to not see) a transgression (any evil word or deed) seeketh (for himself) love: but he that repeateth (brings up again and again) a (the same) matter separateth (from his own) very (intimate and longstanding) friends.|
Some people will try to see "forgiveness" in Proverbs 17:9, and there are MANY Scriptures that recommend us to tolerance, patience, and mercy. This PARTICULAR scripture is not recommending forgiveness, but is rather WARNING us: If you take a FIRM STAND for Truth and Righteousness, it may cost you the approval and support of your very best friends.
We are about to enter on the discussion of what is likely to be the most difficult and troublesome teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In ALL my years of preaching The Gospel; NOTHING has lost me more friends, or made me more enemies than THIS. Nonetheless; I account the rejection of this PLAIN, CLEAR, and FULLY DETAILED teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be the VERY reason why there is so little LOVE among professing Christians in this Age of Apostasy. Before we go any further, I leave you to contemplate these words of Our Lord Jesus Christ:
|Luke.12:47||And that servant which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes (blows).|
|48.||But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. . . . . . . . . . .|
Do you believe that The Bible is a RELIABLE and ACCURATE revelation from God? Do you believe that Jesus "knew" what He was talking about? Do you think Our Lord was CAREFUL not to be "sloppy" in His choice of words? Do you believe that Jesus "understood" the EFFECT His words would have on future generations? If your answer is YES to all of the above questions; then prepare yourself, for you are about to know Your Lord's will. Doing according to His will in THIS matter may be COSTLY, or PAINFUL, and will certainly make IRREVERSIBLE changes in your life.
However, if you are able to trust your whole life to Jesus, the Author and finisher of Our faith (Heb. 12:22), doing according to His will in THIS matter will cause you to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).
The Bible is full of commands and regulations about family life. The first 4 of The Ten Commandments regulate our relationship to God. It has long been recognized that the ORDER of These Commandments designates a "relative significance" of These Commandments to God, so that loyalty and devotion to God comes first. MURDER is worse than ADULTERY, adultery is worse than THEFT, theft is worse than LYING, and lying is worse than ENVY. (Exodus 20:1-17). It may come as a surprise to you, that The Command to honor thy father and thy mother is placed AHEAD of all of these (Ex. 20:12).
The pre-eminence of This Command above ALL others that regulate our relationships to other people is also made obvious by IT being the ONLY Commandment that promises a blessing to those who OBEY it.
|Deut.5:16||Honor thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.|
Furthermore, God grants to the father and the mother an UNLIMITED authority over their children; so that at THEIR WORD, they can have their own children EXECUTED.
|Deut.21:18||If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened (spanked) him, (he still) will not hearken unto them;|
|19.||Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place:|
|20.||And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.|
|21.||And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you: and all Israel shall hear, and fear.|
Jesus never lessened the importance of this Commandment, but rather, He AMPLIFIES it, by saying:
|Matt.15:4||For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.|
And, lest anyone should think to use religion as an EXCUSE for disobeying this Commandment, Our Lord adds this:
|Matt.15:5||But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or mother, It is a gift (has been devoted to God), by whatsoever thou mightest be profited (prospered or assisted) by me;|
|6.||And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free (released from obligation to them). Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.|
Our Lord defines honoring your father and your mother as INCLUDING the provision of both MONEY and LABOR to your parents if and when they ever need your help. The Apostle Paul is referring specifically to this in his discussion of providing for elderly widows, when he says: But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel (1 Tim. 5:4,8).
Furthermore, husbands are told to love their wives, even as Christ also loved the Church (sacrificially), and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25). The wife is commanded to reverence her husband (Eph.5:33); and to love her husband, and to love her children (Titus 2:4).
But all that you have just read is well known, and not shocking or surprising in any way. What is NOT well known, and is rarely understood, is that Our Lord Jesus Christ also said THIS:
|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.|
The word translated to hate in this verse is MISEO, which is used 41 times in the New Testament. Every single occurrence of MISEO is translated to hate in the King James Bible. Some have tried to suggest that MISEO means, "love less in comparison" in this verse. There is no other place in the New Testament where you could translate MISEO to "love less in comparison" where such a translation would not look RIDICULOUS. Jesus said HATE, and as we shall see, He said many other things of a similar nature.
After the Lord tells us that we must hate our own family, and even our own life in order to be His disciple, He warns us to count the cost (Luke 14:28). Then, Our Lord sums up the COST OF DISCIPLESHIP with this:
|Luke.14:33||So likewise, whosoever he be of YOU that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.|
Thus, Jesus makes the LOSS of your normal and NATURAL family relationships to be just a part of, AND BY NO MEANS ALL OF, the cost of following Him. It was because of statements like THESE, that many went back, and walked no more with Him (John 6:66).
Certainly, you would not accuse Jesus of breaking the 5th Commandment, or of any other sin. Since Jesus is our chief example of purity, morality, and love; we can examine His relationship to His natural family and let Him SET THE STANDARD for how WE ought to relate to our own natural family.
Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)
The very first recorded words of Our Lord are spoken to His mother. When Jesus was 12 years old, His family, along with other relatives, went up to Jerusalem to observe the Passover. After the festival, they begin their journey back to Nazareth, PRESUMING that Jesus is somewhere among the group. They evidently trusted Jesus, and He must have been a responsible and reliable child. But the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. His parents didn't know, because He DIDN'T TELL THEM; and it is LUDICROUS to suppose that Jesus just "forgot". When Joseph and Mary realize that Jesus isn't with the group, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him, and 5 days pass between the time they last saw Him, and when they find Him.
Just imagine if your own 12 year old son or daughter did this to you! How would YOU react? You would probably say something just like Mary did when she and Joseph FINALLY found Jesus "hanging out" in the Temple: Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. Permit my paraphrase: "Son, you better have a good reason for what you did to us! Your dad and I have spent the last 3 days looking all over this city for you, wondering if you were dead or alive. You scared us to death! How can you do this to us?". . . . . . . . RIGHT?
AND WHAT, pray tell, would have been your reaction to an answer like this: How is it that ye sought Me? Don't you know that I must be about My Fathers business? O, dear Reader, let me "update" this answer: WHY DID YOU WASTE YOUR TIME LOOKING ALL OVER THE CITY? DIDN'T YOU REALIZE THAT I WOULD BE ATTENDING TO MY REAL FATHER'S BUSINESS?
OH . . . . . . . . what an answer for a 12 year old boy to give to his parents! His parents evidently didn't know who Jesus REALLY WAS and WHO He would turn out to be, for the Bible says: They understood not the saying. Jesus was never a brat; but SOMEONE looking in on this situation may have wanted to call Jesus a brat. At the tender age of 12 years old, Our Lord is ALREADY demonstrating how obedience to God and loyalty to Truth can bring conflict into a family.
The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)
The next recorded conversation between Jesus and any member of His family occurs at the beginning of His public ministry, when He is 30 years old.
When you read this story, it is obvious that Mary was involved with arranging this affair, because when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, They have no wine. Mary OBVIOUSLY expects Jesus to do something about it, and she is pressuring Him to act. Pay close attention to HOW Jesus answers His mom: Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. Jesus does as she asks by working His first public miracle, BUT, He calls His mother woman; establishing His equality, and His INDEPENDENCE. The words What have I to do with thee are the same thing as "Your problems are not My concerns". The words Mine hour is not yet come are the same thing as "Quit pushing me".
Once again, Our Lord, Who never sinned, said things to His mother that if said by any other child would have been labeled as disrespectful, if not downright insulting. Rather shocking, isn't it?
Jesus Becomes Popular (Mark 3:20-35)
As soon as Jesus and His disciples start working miracles and healing the sick, they are so overwhelmed by the crowds of desperate people that they could not so much as eat. And when His kinsmen heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, He is beside Himself. Now I know the KJV has the word "friends" for kinsmen, but this is because they themselves were shocked to see that Jesus' OWN FAMILY thought He was crazy. The 1st edition of the King James Bible, and most Study Bibles, add a note to this verse: telling you that the word should really be kinsmen. That these kinsmen were Jesus' immediate family becomes apparent as you continue reading the story. Jesus had gone into a house (Mark 3:19), and there came His brethren, and His mother, and, standing without, sent unto Him, calling Him (Mark 3:31). Jesus is the celebrity, and everyone is thronging around Him. His family can't even force their way through the crowd, so they have to "send word" to Jesus that they are calling Him. When the "message" reaches Jesus, that His mother and His brethren want to speak to Him; Jesus shrugs off ALL obligation to give ANY preferential treatment to His natural family with these incredible words:
|Mark.3:33||And He answered them saying, Who is My mother, or my brethren?|
|34.||And He looked round about on them which sat about Him, and said, Behold, My mother and My brethren!|
|35.||For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, My sister, and mother.|
Jesus' "flesh and blood" family NEVER EVEN GOT
INTO THE HOUSE.
There can be little doubt, but that Jesus' mother, and His sisters,
and His brothers felt insulted, publicly humiliated, and even disowned.
The world says BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER; but Jesus says TRUTH IS THICKER THAN BLOOD. Jesus is NOT "forgetting" or "despising" His family because He is now a BIG-SHOT and doesn't need them anymore. He is requiring that they MEET THE SAME CONDITIONS as EVERYONE ELSE. Even His mom will get no special treatment. Jesus has a new family: those who do the will of God.
Jesus' "flesh and blood" relatives can join His NEW FAMILY anytime they want to. All they have to do, is begin to do the will of God, which they evidently are not doing yet. Jesus grew up with several brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3). Do you think the other "kids" in His home just sat around admiring Jesus and doting on His every word? Do you think that these other kids NEVER accused Jesus of being a "know it all"????????? If Jesus was ALWAYS right, then He couldn't back down without becoming a LIAR. Jesus must have been HATED by many people because He COULDN'T admit to EVER being wrong about ANYTHING! I'm sure that Jesus endured a LOT of spiteful criticism. You would have to pay a price for being RIGHT ALL THE TIME. Jesus said: Which of you convinceth (can convict) Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe Me? (John 8:46).
he Lord's family conflicts did not end here. In the last recorded encounter between Jesus and His "flesh and blood" family before He was crucified, they show OPEN HOSTILITY towards Him, and speak to Him in tones of SARCASM and RIDICULE.
Jesus is in Danger (John 7:1-8)
The WAY OF THE COWARD has always been to "stay with the winning side", no matter who is winning. Another MARK OF A COWARD is how he is ALWAYS "brave enough" to kick a MAN when he is down; hoping of course, that THE MAN won't get up again. BUT THEN, if THE MAN DOES get up again, the COWARD is quick to apologize. If THE MAN that was DOWN not only GETS UP, but also COMES TO POWER; the COWARD then gets "brave enough" to KICK at the enemies of THE MAN who was down, but now is up.
This is HOW IT HAS BEEN in Christendom over the centuries. People have been always ready to jump on the "Jesus Bandwagon" as long as the MAJORITY and THE RICH and THE POWERFUL and THE STATE were not trying to set fire to "the wagon". What's different about today, is that there are THOUSANDS of "wagons" that all claim to be the "Jesus Wagon". If one wagon is in danger, they just jump off to "another wagon" that has the name of Jesus painted on it.
|John.7:1||After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him.|
|2.||Now the Jew's feast of Tabernacles was at hand.|
|3.||His brethren therefore said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.|
|4.||For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and He Himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.|
|5.||FOR NEITHER DID HIS BRETHREN BELIEVE IN HIM.|
|6.||Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready.|
|7.||The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.|
|8.||Go ye up unto this feast; I go not up yet unto this feast; for My time is not yet full come.|
Not for a second do I suppose that Our Lord was not hurt by all this. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). While Our Lord was here, He endured every form of sadness and suffering that men could inflict on each other. Our Lord's faithful heart groaned under the weight of REJECTION, SLANDER, and SUSPICION. His own brothers are calling Jesus a coward for not marching right into the clutches of the people who have sworn to kill Him. They say, "if thou do these things", as if to suggest that His miracles were fakes. They say, "depart hence", which is the same thing as GET OUT OF HERE. For neither did His brethren believe in Him. What a horrible, lonely moment, Jesus had to endure.
There is no evidence that Jesus spoke with anyone in His natural family again, until He spoke to His mother Mary from the cross, where He died for MY SINS. No, I didn't forget about you. Claim your own.
What a man my Savior was! Not a HINT of hypocrisy! Thank God we all start out on THE SAME GROUND with JESUS! Jesus LOVED His family, Jesus wanted them to like Him, and approve of Him; JUST LIKE US. But the only way Jesus could show TRUE LOVE to them AND to us, was to be ABSOLUTELY CONSISTENT with Himself. Jesus, MY CAPTAIN! MY HERO! Showed NO PARTIALITY.
O, that there were a few men in our day to follow His example! Maybe there would be a few less lonely, needy Christians; wishing they could find a faithful friend in this cold world: while OTHERS who CLAIM to be "True Believers" are spending ALL their time with, and ALL their extra money on their UNSAVED relatives JUST LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD.
|Mark.6:4||Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.|
|John.3:6||That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.|
|Matt.10:21||And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.|
|Luke.12:51||Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:|
|52.||For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.|
|53.||The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.|
Look folks; I didn't write this Bible. I'm just living by it. Jesus plainly states that you may SAFELY PRESUME that there will be NO SUCH THING as a whole flesh and blood family of True Believers all living in the same house. AND, if there is a True Believer living in the home, he is going to be persecuted. Jesus PROMISED us persecution if we truly followed Him:
|Matt.10:22||And ye shall be hated of ALL men for my namesake; but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.|
Why, you might ask, Should my family hate me just for being a Disciple of Jesus Christ?
|Mark.8:38||Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall also the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels.|
Well, if you ARE a Disciple of Jesus Christ, you are ready and willing to proclaim His message, and SAY the SAME THINGS Jesus said. Jesus warned us to count the cost (Luke 14:28).
|Mark.10:28||Then Peter began to say unto Him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.|
|29.||And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel's.|
|30.||But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; AND IN THE WORLD TO COME, ETERNAL LIFE.|
Each of us has to make our own decision about these things. I made mine years ago, and I feel like the promise has been fulfilled in my life. You don't have to LEAVE your family to live for Jesus, but if you live for Jesus your family may very well leave you.
|Luke.9:57||And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow thee withersoever thou goest.|
|58.||And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.|
|59.||And He said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.|
|60.||Jesus said unto him, LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.|
|61.||And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell which are at home at my house.|
|62.||And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.|
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