October 21, 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. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:37-38).
The words of Jesus in these two verses are difficult to accept. Relationships in this life are valuable and necessary. God created man and woman and gave them the responsibility to procreate and to ‘fill up’ the earth (i.e. populate; Genesis 1:28).The family was the first institution created by God in the earth for the benefit of mankind. So why would Jesus seek to destroy that relationship by driving a wedge between the potential disciple and his/her family?
As stated earlier (Oct. 18,19) the intent of Jesus was (and is) not to force abandonment of the family in favor of Jesus, nor family life in favor of the Christian life. Countless millions have found the balance between the two. The point Jesus made is in reference to the priority one has in life; who/what will take first place in one’s life. I submit to you that when a person makes Jesus his/her priority in life the family will be enriched to a far greater extent than if Jesus is not one’s priority in life.
Note also that Jesus said the person who does not establish Jesus as the priority in life is ‘not worthy’ of Him. What does that mean? The word ‘worthy’ means ‘deserving’, ‘comparable’, or ‘suitable’. In context Jesus stated that if He is not accepted as the priority in one’s life, then that life will not be accepted by Him.
Devotion to family is a cardinal principle in Scripture (Ephesians 5:22 - 6:4; 1 Timothy 5:8; etc.). But love and devotion to family, as great as it should be, cannot become so absolute that love and devotion to the Lord is compromised. That would be idolatry.
The same holds true with one’s life (v. 38). Life is precious. It is a gift from God. But we must remember God created us in His image, after His likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). We are the only creatures on the planet so created by God. That means we have a special relationship to God that no other creature has. We can know God consciously and enjoy fellowship with God. But when we choose to live our lives without God, then we are not ‘worthy’ of God; we are not acceptable to God (Romans 1:18-25ff).
“Thank You, Lord, for making me worthy by Your grace through faith when I was not worthy because of my sin. I thank You for helping me set my priorities in life very early on - You first, my family second, the church third, everything else last. Remind me daily that without You I am nothing, I have nothing, I can do nothing worthy of Your consideration. It is because of You that I have life, family life, church life, but even greater - I have eternal life. May I give You the honor and glory that is rightfully Yours for the rest of my life here. Amen.”