There's a remarkable story in Mark 10. It's the story of a man whom God reached out to through Yahshua. He needed that rich young ruler. If that man had only believed and trusted in our Master, he would have left everything and followed Him. But the rich young ruler had a cause greater or more important to him than eternal life. He loved his many possessions and lands more. He would have had to give up his exalted place in society to follow Yahshua.
Instead, he walked away sadly after rejecting the offer of eternal life from the Savior. He kept what he already had instead of gaining what he did not have. It's the same choice everyone faces when confronted with the gospel. No one is excluded from the terms Yahshua gave to the rich young ruler:
Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:29-30)
Let's take another look at the situation from Yahshua's point of view. How was His love for the young man returned? What message did the young man's rejection send to Yahshua -- love or hate?
What a moment that had been! It began with such rich promise, both for the young man and the gospel Messiah came to preach. He had asked the Master the question which He was longing to answer: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" It was mission of Yahshua's life to make eternal life available to whoever could hear His message. How sensitive He was to the Spirit within Him! His next words would form the core and heartbeat of His gospel of salvation. And how well He displayed the attitude of genuine, personal love which evangelists of His gospel would need to have:
And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up." And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Mark 10:20-21)
You can see the whole situation so clearly. It looked as if the young man really liked our Master. And in return, Yahshua loved him, which is why He told him the truth -- that he had to give up everything he had. He had to give up everything and follow Him. But then the man showed that he did not love Yahshua. He actually hated Him, which he showed by turning around and walking away. What else could Yahshua have felt at that moment than the man's hatred?
It wasn't our modern idea of hatred; he didn't say, "You dirty, rotten cult leader!" No, it wasn't such overt hostility, but when he turned and walked away silently, he was expressing contempt for the Master and His gospel. It has been said that to ignore someone is the highest form of hatred. The rich young ruler ignored the Savior and His message.
If someone had come up to him later and asked, "Why do you hate Yahshua?" he would have said, "No, no, I don't hate Him. I have respect for that man." But actually, he did hate Him. He showed his hatred by giving no weight or importance to His words. He didn't obey Him, which is the only measure of love the Savior had:
He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him. (John 14:21)
And what did the father of James and John feel when the Master called his sons? They immediately left their nets and their father and followed Him.
And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him. (Matthew 4:21-22)
He felt as if he was being hated by his sons when they got up and walked away. But if you had asked them, "Do you hate your father?" they would have said, "No, of course we don't. We will always respect our father." But according to the definition of love given in 1 John 4:20,1 they hated him by not loving him more than they loved Yahshua, whom they obeyed. What the Savior said in Matthew 10 explains love and hate in the gospels:
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)
To "hate" your parents as Luke 14:26 says means you love them less than you do Yahshua. It means you do not allow them to keep you from following Him. To hate your own life means you do not put yourself and your comfort ahead of obeying the Savior and loving your brothers and sisters. These things mean the same today as they did then. To love Yahshua means to keep His word, and to hate Yahshua means to ignore or disobey His word.2
Why do you call Me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)