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Cannot be My Disciple

aymon de albatrus

“If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” (Luk 14:26-27)

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Mat 10:34-36)

“And when He had called the people to Him with His disciples also, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mar 8:34-35)


Jesus calls all that believe in Him to become His Disciples and sets the rules for that. To be a Disciple of Christ means to receive His teaching and putting it into practice, that is walk with Him in His way. It is not an easy walk, but God gives Grace to His own. The disciple partakes in the suffering of Christ and he rejoices in His glory. (1Pe 4:13) And what a Disciple does?  Obeys the Commandments of Christ and for this Jesus will call him His friend: “You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you.” (Joh 15:14)

If any man come to Me, and hate not …. The word “hate” (in Greek ‘misos’) has the meaning ‘hate or detest’. It is the same word used in Rom 9:13 where God says He hated Esau. Nevertheless the verse continues with “his father, and mother “ but the 5th Commandment orders: “Honour your father and your mother …...” (Exe 20:12) Now the Bible does not contradict Itself so the meaning of “hate” here is meant to emphasise that the LOVE (Agape) we must have for God and His Christ has to be so great that when we compare it with the love we have for our close relatives the latter would appear as “hate”.

This is a tall order, but God will have it no other way. Indeed Jesus says also: “And He answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” (Luk 10:27) Jesus says that we are to love the Lord our God with all we have, whilst we are to love our neighbour (including close relatives) only as we love ourselves. And how are we to love ourselves? “and [hate] his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” that is right, we are to hate our own life when compared to the love we must have for God. (Act 20:24)

This means that if we believers choose our close relatives over Christ we are no real Christians, nor His disciples, nor we are His sheep and we will barely get into His heavenly kingdom.

Of course we are not at liberty to hate our parents literally. This would be also contrary to Eph 6:1-3; Col 3:20. But we are to love them less, but very much less, than we love Christ and we are to obey Christ rather than them if it comes to a conflict of actions (Act 5:29). We are to be willing to forsake them (and all) if He calls us to go and preach His Gospel; and we are to submit, without a murmur, to Him when He takes them away from us.

God is not asking us to literally hate our next of kin but that these are not to be preferred to Christ and if they stand in the way of Christ’s honour and His interests these are to be neglected and forsaken, and turned from with indignation and resentment.

If they try to dissuade us from His service we should be ready to part with our dearest relations and friends, with the greatest enjoyment of life, and even with our life itself. When Christ calls we are to promptly obey, otherwise we are not worthy to be called His disciples.

Christ must be loved supremely, or He is not loved at all. If we are not willing to give up all our earthly possessions and forsake all earthly friends and even close relatives; and if we do not obey Him rather than all others, we have no true attachment to Him. Jesus says that if we are not willing to forsake all for Him then we are not fit to be regarded as followers of Christ nor we are His true disciples.

It is the duty of children, to love, honour, and obey their parents who have been the means of bringing them into the world, but Christ is infinitely above all and all. Jesus is to be loved above the nearest and dearest relations and friends; being God over all blessed for ever and also the Saviour and Redeemer; which makes Him more amiable and lovely than a common parent. That man, therefore, that prefers father and mother over Christ breaks the commands of Christ, rejects His Gospel, and either denies Him, or does not confess Him as his supreme Saviour and Master - he is not worthy of Christ. Such a man is not fit to be a member of the church of Christ on earth, nor he is fit for the kingdom of heaven, but deserves to be rejected by Him to everlastingly banishment from His presence (Luk 13:27).

if any man hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, is not worthy of Me. Whosoever, in order to please his wife or gratify a child or his brethrens drops the profession of Christ, renounces His Gospel and neglects His commands, it is not proper and convenient that he should bear the name of Christ or be accounted one of His or be treated as such for he is an infidel.

Christ does not command or encourage want of natural affection towards our close relatives, but only by this saying He reduces it to order, and shows that our first love and homage is due to God and that we must esteem them below Christ and His commands. We must acknowledge the superiority of our heavenly Father in all things, even by disobeying our earthly parents or pleasing our next of kin, if there is a conflict of loyalty, to the glory of God. (1Co 10:31)

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: This is taken from Mic 7:6. Christ did not here mean to say that the object of his coming was to produce discord and contention, for he was the Prince of peace, (Isa 9:6 11:6; Luk 2:14). What He means to say is that such would be one of the effects of His coming. One part of a family that was opposed to Him will set themselves against those who believed in Him as we have seen so many times. The cruelty of the human heart (Gen 6:5) and not the religion of the Gospel is the cause of this hostility. This is a prophecy that has been strikingly fulfilled and it will continue to be fulfilled till all unite in obeying His commandments, which I fear it will be so only in Heaven.

At the time of the Messiah His disciples were convinced that the Lord at that time would have ushered a time of ease and quiet and worldly tranquillity for they believed that He came to be a peace maker between God and sinners. Indeed He is the only mediator between God and men (1Ti 2:5) but the Lord thought fit to let them know that they must not expect by the blood of His cross such peace would happen miraculously at that time, but that He would send them preach the Gospel of Peace that would be readily received by His own but violently rejected by the rest, til His second coming. Yes there would be a sort of “peace on earth” between the saints but not all over the world in general, as we know very well.

I came not to send peace, but a sword. By the "sword" He surely meant the Gospel, which is the means of dividing and separating the people of Christ from the men of the world. It was not that it was the intention and design of Christ, in coming into the world, to foment and encourage such things; but because of the malice and wickedness of men this eventually was the effect and consequence of His coming, as we see in Luk 12:51 where, instead of a "sword," it is "division"; because the sword divides asunder, as does the sword of the Spirit, the word of God (Heb 4:12). The sword is an instrument of death, and to send a sword is the same as to produce hostility and war.

The coming of Christ with His Gospel of Peace could not bring a universal peace because of men’s fondness of their idolatry, superstition, and lusts, and madness for their pagan beliefs. The event of Christ’s coming brought necessarily division, wars, variances, like the times prophesied of by Micah. God either stirring up wars to revenge the contempt of the Gospel, (as it happened to the Jews) or men taking up arms to compel all others to their idolatries and superstitions. And that natural antipathy which men have to holiness, setting them at variance with those who embrace the gospel, and live a life as being worthy of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, resulting that men will have no respect to their nearest relations who are followers of the Lord.

And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. This is an extension of (Psa 41:9; 55:12-14), which had its most effective illustration in the treason of Judas against our Lord Himself (Joh 13:18; Mat 26:48-50). Therefore, there is here the necessity of making a choice between Christ and the nearest relations, which would put the family to a serious uncompromising situation.

Clearly this proves that it is not the Gospel of Christ, but men’s corruptions, which causes division. Those, who truly receive the marvellous Gospel, agree well enough; but the tie of no natural or moral relations will hold together the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. This just does not happen and therefore there was need that Christ should forewarn His disciples of it.

Truly as we see in our own society, the sons deal basely with their fathers and reverence them not, the daughters rise up against their mothers, and the daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law, and indeed the enemies of a man are they of his own household.

let him deny himself, and take up his cross; signifying that His followers must deny themselves of worldly advantages and suffer many things as He has done. To deny ourselves, is to put off our natural affections towards the good things of this life, let them be pleasures, profit, honours, relations, life, or any thing which would keep us from our obedience to the will of God as Christ did. ”I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father which sent Me” (Joh 5:30; 4:34), Therefore, as Jesus did, we are to take up our cross and willingly and cheerfully bear those trials and afflictions which the providence of God brings us followers of Christ’s footstep.

and follow Me: The true disciple of Christ has to follow his Lord by taking up his cross and do as He did living up as near as we can to the example of Christ, (1Pe 1:15) yielding a universal obedience to the commandments of Christ.

Most theologies today, basically are saying that you just need to pray a prayer and attend church and you’re set for eternity. Unfortunately, in most churches today, you will not hear a message on the cost of following Christ. Well the truth is that there is a cost to following Christ and that it is quite unbiblical to convince anyone to follow Christ without first explaining that there is a tremendous cost. Far too many are just repeating a prayer, in hope that they will find this great joy and peace. And while it is true that a life, totally surrendered to Christ will lead to joy and peace, there is also a necessity to repent and to obey Him. And Jesus sums it up in verse 33 saying that “any of you who do not give up everything he has, cannot be my disciple”.

There comes a time in every believer's life that they must make the decision to either leave all that they have and follow Christ, finding that narrow way which leads to life, or continue to follow the broad path which leads to destruction. It is the choice that all that considers themselves Christian must make.

But a word of wisdom, God is Almighty and He will have His way. God must be obeyed and served His way. If we do fantastic things in His name that He never asked for, it is rebellion and we will be condemned for doing things our way, not His. Be careful not to be a martyr of your own doing, there is no glory in that and you will suffer in vain.

Jesus has made a profound statement that the 21st Century church is neglecting. "You cannot be my disciple."

Jesus’ statement is not one about salvation. It is about denying our self interest at all times. It is about maturity. It is about bearing fruit (Joh 15:8). His point is that you cannot be discipled as long as you put self interest first. There are many Christians (too many) that are called “babes” in Christ because they never learned to embrace the cross. In order for Christ to instruct us in His way, the hindrances have to be removed. As long as we are seeking self interest, we are in fact seeking Satan’s will, and we cannot be His disciple for “… what agreement does Christ have with Belial? ….” (2Co 6:15).

Self interest does not permits the voice of the Lord speaking to our hearts, but instead opens the door for Satan to speak to us. The voice of God is the voice of Truth, whilst the voice of Satan is that of the lie (Joh 8:44). To hear God to be his disciple means accepting the Truth when you hear it. Self interest is the way of the world. It goes without saying that before you can even be a disciple you have to have the new birth, without which you can not even see or enter the kingdom of God (Joh 3:3).

Self interest creates a conflict of interests. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mat 6:24) It is not possible to serve God and love money (or other) at the same time. To be His disciple we have to love God above all else, or the conflict that arises nullifies any spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit needs a single minded devotion to God and only to Him. That means in all areas of our lives. Every thing we do, jobs, marriage, etc. should be done as unto the Lord and for His glory, not for ours (Col 3:23).

The words ‘Believer’ and ‘Disciple’ are not interchangeable: Believers are born by the Spirit, but disciples not only are born of the Spirit but are also committed to closely follow Christ as He commands. To these Jesus Christ says: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;” (Joh 8:31). Here we see that there are Believers and Disciples. It is not a case of salvation, for all believers will go to Heaven for Jesus rejects no one that believes in Him as per Rom 10:9-11. Disciples are those that want a closer walk with their Lord and Master Jesus Christ, as the Apostles did.

The Lord is not satisfied with the only fact that we now believe on Him. He challenges us also to become His disciples. He even tells us how. “If you continue in My word...” To abide in Jesus’ word means remaining in His teaching, embracing what He taught, and actually doing it. If believers focus on this, they will enter into discipleship with the Master, but many don’t. All disciples are believers, but not all believers are disciples.

CONCLUSION

We must deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow and obey Christ, it is that simple or we cannot be His disciple. “Whoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 10:32)