Thoughts: Jesus tells the crowds following him that they must hate their fathers, their mothers, their wives, their children, their brothers, their sisters, and even their own lives. Deliberately, Jesus names the people who are traditionally dearest to us, concluding with our own lives.
One commentary explains Jesus’ use of the word “hate” as “vigorous, vivid hyperbole.” Literally, “hyperbole” means “to throw beyond.” Did Jesus intend to throw his words beyond what his followers could understand or accept?
Without pausing, Jesus goes on to give two examples of people who need to plan ahead. The man who wants to build a tower needs to know he has enough money to finish it. If he can build only the foundation, people will ridicule him. Likewise, a king with a small army would be foolish to make war against a king with a bigger army. The weaker king should see terms of peace from the stronger king.
Is there a connecting thread among these three brief scenes? Lack of dedication in a potential follower of Jesus – lack of money to finish a tower – lack of troops to engage in war?
Discussion: Is it more hyperbole when Jesus says his disciples must give up all of their possessions?
Activity: Think of a material possession which you love. How precious is it? Is it invaluable? Irreplaceable? Would you be willing to give it up...not just temporarily but for good. Your favorite blanket? Your TV? Your phone?
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