Luke 14:25-33 and the word “hate”

I did not get much from this passage of the Gospel, if you could clarify the meaning for me I would be grateful .

  • Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them, 'Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.*

1 why Jesus is telling us we have to hate our mother, father, siblings ? I’m pretty confident the word hate doesn’t mean really to hate them but I don’t know what is the meaning here. Maybe that we don’t have to put them before Jesus? Like, Jesus first, family second?

2 what really is the cross Jesus is talking about? Where I live there is this saying that everyone has his own cross to bear, meaning his own difficulties,sufferings, death of members of the family, illnesses, cancer … so can these be some of the crosses Jesus wants us to bear? But then when a person suffers we say that it’s not God’s will, that God is good, we tell the person to trust in the Lord… the suffering thing that is around Christianity so much doesn’t make sense to me. Does a illness or incident or whatever bad event come from the will of God or does it not? I can’t accept the answer only good comes from God, yes this is true but the bad things? If the good comes from God the bad things must come from him also…

3 I didn’t understand the comparison between Jesus and the constructor of the tower and the king.

Thank you to all


We have a scripture scholar as our current parish pastor, and he indicates the Jesus would have used hyperbole to elucidate the point he was trying to make.
Jesus would have used oratory devices like these to bring understanding to the point.
I picture Jesus sitting in a crowd of noisy people who are debating these points back and forth, and Jesus upping the ante with hyperbole to get his point across.

This is where I have to disagree with Christianity. I would never hate my mother or father, even if they were in jail for some reason. I would always honor them, love them and respect them as commanded by the Ten commandments.

hate means to detest, to oppose.

Matt 10:

34 Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. 35 For I came 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. 36 And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household.

Luke 12:

51 Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation. 52 For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 The father shall be divided against the son and the son against his father: the mother against the daughter and the daughter against her mother: the mother-in-law against the daughter-in-law and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Whoever comes to me and [loves his] father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, [more than me] cannot be my disciple.


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The first quote about hate is confusing today because our manner of speaking differs from first century Jews in the middle East.
Right off the bat, Jesus is obviously not recanting Honor your father and mother.
The word is intended to emphasize a lot of love, not a lot of hate. It is a metaphor of sorts in the dramatic rhetorical style of the day.
A great example I heard was a Rabbi saying," God is an atheist."
The point was to stress God had no God.
Saint Theresa of Avila wrote ," If the cross is loved, it is easy to bear."
Obviously, Jesus is not talking about a cross. Neither is Saint Theresa. Your list of potential crosses can fit what Jesus speaks of. Life provides it’s share of crosses large and small. Reality seems to resemble cross, death and Ressurection. God debased and shared our reality in solidarity.
Saint Theresa gives us insight into how our faith reduces the burden.
The truly brutal things, like death of the innocent remains one of the most difficult things to understand, I agree.

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D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 26. Hate not, &c. The law of Christ does not allow us to hate even our enemies, much less our parents: but the meaning of the text is, that we must be in that disposition of soul so as to be willing to renounce and part with every thing, how near or dear soever it may be to us, that would keep us from following Christ. (Challoner) — The word hate is not to be taken in its proper sense, but to be expounded by the words of Christ, (Matthew x. 37.) that no man must love his father more than God, &c. (Witham) — Christ wishes to shew us what dispositions are necessary in him who desires to become his disciple; (Theophylactus) and to teach us that we must not be discouraged, if we meet with many hardships and labours in our journey to our heavenly country. (St. Gregory) — And if for our sakes, Christ even renounced his own mother, saying, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? why do you wish to be treated more delicately than your Lord? (St. Ambrose) — He wished also to demonstrate to us, that the hatred he here inculcates, is not to proceed from any disaffection towards our parents, but from charity for ourselves; for immediately he adds, and his own life also. From which words it is evident, that in our love we must hate our brethren as we do ourselves.

Ver. 28. For which of you, &c. The similitude, which our divine Saviour makes us of, represents the offices and duty of a true Christian, for he has to build within himself and conduct others by his example to war with the devil, the world, and the flesh; and he has to season, purify, and keep all his actions free from corruption by the spiritual salt of mortification and prayer. (Tirinus)

Ver. 29. Lest after, &c. Here he wishes to shew us, that we are not to embrace any state of life, particularly that of an ecclesiastic, without previous and serious consideration, whether we shall be able to go through with the difficulties and dangers which will inevitably befall us: lest afterwards we find ourselves constrained to yield to our enemies, who will deride us, and say: This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (Tirinus)

Matthew has the same statement but with clearer language.

It is an idiomatic expression meaning ‘to love less’ not actual hatred. It also occurs in Gen 29:31: ‘When the LORD saw that Leah was hated , he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.’

Our homilist explained it as “preferring.” Basically, if you prefer to follow your mother, or your father, rather than Jesus— you don’t know where they’re going to lead you. Maybe a good place, maybe a bad place. But we all know where Jesus leads us. So we need to prefer following Jesus to all else, because we can’t follow Jesus partially/in between following something/someone else.

Re: the cross to bear, look at all of God’s favorite people. What did he do to them? Did he turn them into Powerball winners? Does he hand out mansions and yachts? Or does he usually give them a pretty heavy dose of trials, that allow them to empty themselves of themselves, and realize how small and powerless they are, and depend on God entirely for everything? We always feel sorry for people who are ill and suffering-- we feel sorry for ourselves when we’re ill and suffering-- but when we unite our suffering to that of Jesus, we give purpose and meaning to it. It’s a potent reminder that the most perfect individual who ever lived had the most terrible sufferings possible… and as his followers, what else can we expect for ourselves? But rather than avoiding it, we embrace those sufferings that comes with the territory, and trust God to turn them into something greater than a winning Powerball ticket.

re: the tower and the king, I once heard it explained that we are the king with 10,000 troops, and God is the king with 20,000. Obviously, we can’t stand against God. So while God is still far away, we ask for the terms of peace, rather than getting ourselves trampled by God’s army and God’s justice. And God has been very kind and sent us his terms very clearly— love God, love our Neighbor, openhanded charity, and so on. And so we need to comply with those terms to be at peace with God… because if we don’t, what happens to a king who’s at such bad odds against a greater King?

So by the same token, I would expect the tower analogy to be something along the lines of— we’re not able to do things under our own power, but only through the grace of God. So we shouldn’t build that which we can’t finish— we shouldn’t claim to be autonomous unto ourselves and not-in-need-of-God, but rather, we should invite God’s grace into our lives so that we can do his work and be the people he created us to be. We need to cooperate with God’s plan, rather than trying to waste our efforts doing that which is contrary to his wishes for us.


I prefer the Buddhist teaching on this as explained by the Dalai Lama in his book: Approaching the Buddhist Path, p. 256. Buddhist parents and children should join together to ensure that their families have patience, warmth, love and affection.
I have seen many Chinese families who have installed in their homes small altars with candles, statues of Buddha and pictures of their parents and grandparents as a token of their love and respect. Each night, before going to bed, they will pray before Buddha and the pictures of their parents and grandparents to show their love, appreciation and respect for all their parents and grandparents have done for them.
Confucius of course was not a Buddhist but still he taught the importance of respect and duty toward one’s parents.
I would personally prefer the teachings of Confucius on this more so than the teaching referred to at the beginning of this thread.

Except that the Buddhist teaching can’t even approximate the teaching of Christ on this point, since there’s not a deity to love in their worldview. (Well, that and the point that all of this is supposed be illusory… so you’re being asked to love folks who don’t even exist! :rofl:)

The correct answer has been given by many on this thread already: this is an archaic usage that means “love less”. So, I love chocolate cake, but I love chocolate chip cookies. So, compared to the cookies, I hate chocolate cake!

In the context of Christianity, Jesus is telling us that discipleship is difficult. It asks us to make sacrifices for others in a way that will be a hardship for us. (But, we’re asked to do it anyway, out of love of Jesus and of each other.) . It’s not about “accept meaningless suffering”. It’s all about “endure sufferings for the sake of others.” Do the kinds of good things that cost you, but benefit others.

Like we saw above, discipleship comes with a cost. We are called to take actions which are difficult. Jesus is telling us “don’t become a disciple, thinking that it’s easy; before you say ‘yes’ to me, realize that you’re setting a path for yourself that calls for real personal self-sacrifice!”


It seems to me that you have some misunderstanding about this passage. At no time has Christ taught that we should not honor our father and mother. This would essentially be a case of God revoking God’s own law, something that is absurd on its face. If you read Luke 14 and its parallel passages more carefully, what you see is that immediately prior to the passage Jesus describes a parable about a feast that was being given by an influential man, who invites his friends. However, they all gave excuses why they should ignore the invitation. As a result, the man in the parable goes into the streets inviting strangers into his banquet to take their place. It is immediately after this that Christ speaks about the cost of discipleship. Essentially, he is rebuking Israel for refusing to follow his call to follow him because they are more concerned about their relationships with their family, or other social pressures, than they are with placing faith in Christ. The parallel passages speak in the same light only they deal with more overt persecution for accepting Christ as Lord. The part about hating mother and father is a hyperbolic statement meant to highlight the great worth of the gift of faith and discipleship. Oftentimes the word hate in the Bible is used in a broader context than we typically think. It can mean something more along the lines of regard not whatever the direct object of the verb is.


That being said, the Buddha, according to the stories, abandoned his family on his path to enlightenment, so I am not so sure about the Buddhist teaching, at least from his example on this point. Given that Buddhism tends to deny the material world in preference of the immaterial or metaphysical world, the Dalai Llama may actually be borrowing from Judeo-Christian ethics in his philosophy on duty to family. Buddhism also tends to be focused inward on self in one’s own introspection and enlightenment, whereas Christianity emphasizes loving neighbor and fulfilling one’s duty as a servant to everyone else.

Again though, Jesus affirmed on a few occasions that we are to honor our father and mother, and even that we should love and pray for our enemy.

This I certainly agree with 100%.

I am familiar with the dictionary version of the word hate. If there are other definitions, it seems like they should be included in the dictionary.
Hate: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest.

Why should the dictionary include the Greek word? To wit:


I thought that the original source text for the New Testament gospels was Aramaic. Greek is a translation of that.

The use of the word is not dictated by English, but by Greek. You need to look in a Greek lexicon to see what I am talking about. You see this occasionally where a word doesn’t always translate well into English. The word we usually translate as disobey has the same kind of thing going on, where sometimes the best translation would be more along the lines of willfully disbelieve.

All of the gospels were originally written in Greek. Also, Luke was a Gentile writer. Therefore you would use the author’s selection of Greek terms as the means by which you determine what message the author was conveying.

No. Although Jesus likely spoke Aramaic as his primary language, the original language of the Gospels is Greek. (There’s a scholarly discussion of whether one of the Gospels was originally written in Hebrew, but there’s not extant evidence of the claim.)

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