Unworthy of Him
October 19, 2020
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:37).
This can be a very startling, even discouraging verse to a non-Christian or a new Christian. But those who have walked with Jesus Christ for some time and have matured in faith understand the meaning of these words.
Jesus taught His disciples that loving God and one’s neighbor are the greatest commandments of all (Matthew 22:36-40). They are indicative of all the Law and the Prophets. He also taught that loving Him and having love for one another was the heart of being a true disciple (John 13:34-35). These are characteristics of agape love, supreme love, Godly love. That’s not the word Jesus used here.
A second word for love found in the New Testament is philo. This word means to be a friend to someone; to be fond of an individual or an object; to have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling). Almost always this word is used to describe the love a person has for family, friends, or those associated with them. That’s the word Jesus used here.
A. Carr (The Cambridge Bible Commentary) wrote that Jesus’ disciples “must not hesitate to side with [Jesus] rather than with father or mother, or son or daughter. The new life changes the old relationships: everything is viewed now in reference to Christ, to whom His followers are related as mother and sisters and brethren.” Does this mean a Christian is not to love his/her family or friends? No. That would be contrary to the 5th - 10th commandments.
The intent of Jesus is to demonstrate that as He is infinitely superior to all things, He is to be given our highest love and devotion. As our Sovereign Lord and only Savior, Jesus ranks above our parents, siblings, and friends insofar as our loyalties are concerned. The one who prefers father and mother to Jesus Christ, who values their words over His, their traditions over His ordinances, and who would rather please family more than to please the Lord has already closed first place in his/her heart for Jesus.
Can a genuine Christian love the Lord Jesus Christ with all of his/her heart, soul, mind, and strength and still love father and mother and siblings? Yes. But these relationships cannot hold one’s highest love and loyalty. Jesus did not say we are to deny family. He said we are to deny them first place in one’s life.
“Lord Jesus, You said no greater love has a man that he lays down his life for his friends. You laid down Your life for me. I surrender again my life to You to serve You the rest of my days. Anything less makes me unworthy and ungrateful for all You in which You have blessed me and my family. May my be my gift of love to You. I ask this in Your name, Amen.”