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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

17 November 2005

Is the Bible Joking?

Q: I have had a disagreement with someone that I know. He told me the Bible is nothing more than a joke book, and specifically pointed out Luke 14:26. Can you please tell me how you would interpret this verse?

A: I don’t know how this can be considered a joke. Jesus sounds quite serious as He details the cost of discipleship. This doesn’t mean hatred as in a rage or carrying a grudge. Rather, Jesus is saying that you must first of all and above all else love Him and follow Him. Nothing besides Him must be truly important in your life. If you do not “hate” these things, then they become your gods and you will find excuses to serve them or honor them above Christ. Yet so often, when His disciples do learn from Him to hate all else, he gives us back so very much to love.

We have this example of “self-hatred” in Jesus’ own life. When you read from Philippians 2, you see the One who “hated” his life as the eternal Son of God and thus became one of us, following His Father’s command and faithfully living and dying that we might live forever. Yet this “hatred” did not end in despair, but in celebration as He was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, where He was given all honor and glory forever.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


Anonymous Angie said...

This verse means that you are to love Jesus more than your father, mother, siblings, anyone else. People have to remember that the bible is translated to English from another language and not every word in the original bible had an exact word that means exactly the same in the English language.

24 August, 2008 15:21  

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