DO UNTO OTHERS SO THAT THEY MAY DO UNTO YOU: Of course that's not how the Bible puts it, but so often we keep a mental 'favor bank' ledger running in which we catalog the times we've helped others so that when the time comes we can call back those favors. As Jesus begins to talk about the cost of being His disciple, He teaches that you must seek out the truly needy: those who have no ability to pay you back (v13). But that doesn't mean you won't be paid back at all; v14 indicates that when you help the truly needy, you yourself "will be blessed," meaning in the present. Not only that, but "you will be repaid" when Christ comes again, a payment that will have eternal benefit.
INVITATION ONLY EVENT: Jesus goes on to tell a parable about the fancy banquet that nobody had time for. This, of course, is a metaphor for how God has held out the offer of salvation to all people, but even though people are invited, they would rather cling to their ever growing list of distractions rather than accept God's offer. But the banquet is set, so the master turns to compulsion to get people to attend (v23). Thank God that He has compelled you to accept His invitation to live eternally in His kingdom.
ARE WE TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF, OR HATE OUR MOTHER AND YOURSELF? When you get to a difficult passage like v26, one of the first things to do is compare the various English translations to make sure you're understanding the text as it was written. In this case all of the major English translation agree and use the word 'hate' to describe our relationship with others. The next step is to remember the old adage that the Bible is its own best interpreter. In other words, we use the easier to understand passages to help us understand the more difficult passages. We can be thankful that God gave us four different gospels which report the same truth from slightly differing angles. Let's compare v26 with it's parallel passage in Matt 10:37:
Luke 14:26 (NIV)
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
Matthew 10:37 (NIV)
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Certainly both Matthew and Luke recorded Jesus' words accurately, so we can conclude that although 'hate' may be a good English translation, what Jesus meant does not carry the same amount of force we typically associate with the word 'hate.' He simply meant that we must love Him more than we love our closest relatives.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: A King who is preparing a great banquet (v16)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: He who has ears, let them hear [and follow] God's Word (v35)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: