Empty the crowds
Luke 14: 25-26 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
At first reading this of course sounds harsh!
However, Jesus is actually quoting from the prophet Micah, 7:5-6:
“Do not trust a neighbour; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips. For a son dishonours his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.”
The Jewish thought was that prior to the Messiah coming there would be family discord. This would come about by an attack from an outside enemy resulting in the very essence of society, the family, breaking down. Therefore, Jesus is simply announcing his Messiahship.
Jesus is not saying we must hate. However, he is saying that his presence means that the very fabric of society (the family) will fall apart when the Messiah comes. Relatives will be divided because some will break free from sinful family customs.
There are tremendous and powerful loyalties within family. However, Jesus commands even a higher price of loyalty to him.
The crowds will soon dissipate with such news.