At first glance, Luke 14:25-35 is one of the most peculiar passages in all of Scripture. Critics have used this passage to claim the inconsistency and absurdity of the Bible and Christianity. Is Jesus really saying that we must hate our parents in order to follow Him? No, the word we translate as "hate" is intended to be a statement of contrast between our love for the Lord and our love for family. The idea is that our love for God must be supreme. Whatever we love in this world, we must "love less" than God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident. He was imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II and was never released. He died in Germany at the Flossenburg concentration camp. One of Bonhoeffer's many books is entitled "The Cost of Discipleship" (1937). Bonhoeffer understood difficult passages such as Luke 14. Authentic discipleship begins with a willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of Christ.
The Parables of Counting the Cost (i.e. the builder, the king, and the salt) provide us with insight into authentic discipleship. Passages such as these confuse the skeptic, but to those who have ears to hear... it helps us understand the Gospel better. It helps us understand the cost of discipleship is sacrificial, transformational, and relational.
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."