Three times in the scripture Jesus says, “You cannot be my disciple.”
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27).
“Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
There is no doubt that these three statements are hard sayings, hard for many people to accept. Now, it’s reasonable for us to say that Jesus didn’t mean that we are literally to hate our parents or hate our family members or hate our lives as if we feel hatred for these as we do for something that we have intense feelings of hate about. No. Jesus is saying something more. He is drawing a contrast between how we feel about these things and how we feel about him. In fact, his three, “You cannot be my disciple” sayings have a root in an Old Testament passage that we often don’t think about. I’ll get to that in just a moment.