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J.H. Yoder – On Luke 14:26

“Modern psychologizing interpretation of Jesus has been bothered largely with whether the word hate here should be taken seriously or not (Luke 14:26)…The point is rather that in a society characterized by very stable, religiously undergirded family ties, Jesus is here calling into being a community of voluntary commitment, willing for the sake of its calling to take upon itself the hostility of the given society…What matters is the quality of the life to that which the disciple is called. The answer is that to be a disciple is to share in that style of life of which the cross is the culmination….The same warning is still more clear in the reprimand to the disciples in their concern about privilege in the coming kingdom, which Luke incorporates in the last supper accounts… ‘The kings of the earth lord it over their subjects; but it shall not be so among you…for I am among you as one who serves.’ In none of the accounts
where this word is reported does Jesus reprimand his disciples for expecting to establish some new social order, as he would have had to do if the thesis was of the only-spiritual kingdom were to prevail. He rather reprimands them for having misunderstood the character of that new social order which he does intend to set up…The alternative to how the kings of he earth rule is not [only] ‘spiritually’ but servant hood” (p.38).