Priorities! Jesus is addressing a priority in our life and uses extremes to get how serious His point is in this passage. In the “sermon on the mount” in Matthew he uses extreme terms like “gouging out your eye” and “cutting off your hand” to avoid sinning. In this passage he uses the word hate to drive home a point. The word “hate” here does not suggest positive aggression towards someone, but more like to “loving them less than.” Our love for Christ must be so strong that all other love is like hatred in comparison.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus uses “deny, take up cross and follow” to emphasize the importance of this priority of being His disciple. The term “disciple” is used 264 times in the gospels and Acts to describe “a follower of Christ.” Oswald chambers wrote, ‘There is always an ‘if’ connected to discipleship.” Jesus does not coerce or compel us to follow, only “if “ we choose to prioritize Him first in our lives.
Is there something in your life that stands in front of Christ? Are their priorities that rise above God? Take a few minutes now to pray and ask God to reveal your heart’s priorities and to help you make following Christ your greatest priority.