“‘The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” – Matthew 10:37
Jesus has warned His disciples that He has come to bring a sword of division in Israel. This is not a reference to violence or revolution, but to the schism that the gospel can cause. Those who refuse to accept Christ will hate and persecute those who believe (John 15:18–21). The division will take place even between immediate family members. Fathers and sons will turn on each other, as well mothers and daughters. The issue will be belief in Jesus Himself. Is He the Messiah, the Son of God? Those who refuse to acknowledge Him will reject those of their own family who put their faith in Jesus and begin to follow His ways (1 Peter 4:3–4).
This will force many of Jesus’ followers to make a difficult choice. Will they keep peace with their parents and/or children by denying faith in Jesus? Or will they be willing to lose connection to their family members in order to continue to follow Jesus and acknowledge to others that He is the Christ?
Jesus is demanding His rightful place in the hearts of His people. They must love Him more than all others and demonstrate that is true if forced to make a choice. This does not change Scripture’s demand that children honor their parents (Ephesians 6:2) and that parents provide for their children (Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 5:8). Jesus does not say “do not love” those other people—what He says is that we ought to love God more.
Loving others is the second greatest commandment, but it is behind the first: to love God with everything we have (Matthew 22:34–40). In making this statement, Jesus continues to make the claim that He is God. Love and obedience to Him must come before obedience to any other person or group (Acts 5:29).
Jesus is after our hearts. That’s the bottom line.
How’s your heart today?