if you want to experience what he meant
saying- 55; radical surrender.
Whoever does not hate his father and his mother
cannot become a disciple to me.
And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters
and take up his cross in my way
will not be worthy of me.
The choice to seek the kingdom is a fundamental one: if family ties pose any
restriction to the consequences of this choice they are to be taken as subsidiary.
In fact, a novice should sever all family ties and enter a kind of new family of kingdom
seekers. Anyone who was not prepared to enter a life similar to that of Jesus, was not
worthy of the teachings in the first place. This was a heavy verdict, and actually very similar
to the idea hold for long in Buddhist circles that anyone who did not enter wandering
monkhood like the Buddha himself did, would never become enlightened. Later,
when congregations of monks settled, only those committed to monkhood could
become enlightened. Still later, when the preservation of settled monkhood in temples
became completely dependent on the loyalty of householders, also dedicated lay people
could find enlightenment, but required more re-incarnated lifetimes to achieve that state.
However, what the general opinion on such matters was at a given time did not
always concord with what was already written about it in scripture.
One should realize that the word 'hate' rather signifies strong preference without carrying
overtones of strong rejection or contempt. The saying is a hyperbole - exaggeration
for effect (Hedrick, 2010). Jacobson (2000) states that “hate” in this context should be taken
as “an act of distancing, a renunciation of one’s relationship to a person”. Therefore, the
meaning here is that the seeker cannot prefer family ties over the life as a lone seeker,
which back then meant, to live the itinerant life. I suspect that breaking with the social structure
of family life in the village was not only conditional to live as wanderers, but also for living a
life of impurity which resulted from caring for the sick and assisting in burying the dead, whereas
impure food set before them could not be refused by these itinerant charismatics lest they would
not run the risk to wither away from starvation. (see also saying-14).Obligations with respect to
religious = social life could not be kept with such activities anyway.
Jesus’ conviction that in the end only very few people would be
able to follow his teachings were likely based on the fact that only few were prepared to
actually live the itinerant life.
The saying about taking up the cross should not be taken as Jesus’ alluding to a future
death on the cross as told in the passion narrative, as the expression in those days
referred to suffering and sacrifice in general (Cameron R, 2004) and functioned as “metaphor
for the ultimate test of a philosopher’s integrity – to bear under condemnation" (Mack BL,1993).
This meant that the true teacher would fully live according to his teachings and would
never belie them, not even in the face of death (Mack BL,1996).
Seeking the kingdom,
don't let your determination be influenced by anyone,
not even by those very close to you.
Furthermore, be authentic in your decision
and live up fully to the consequences of your choice.
Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26.