Recently, Pastor Elliot expounded on a reputed statement of Jesus, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison–your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters . . .” I think it is out of character for Jesus to hate.
The language of Jesus was Aramaic and biblical scholars indicate that the Aramaic term Jesus used was sna, apparently a word of many meanings including, “to hate, to stand up straight, to put out a candle or light, a threshing floor, and to set to one side.”
One Aramaic scholar suggests that what Jesus truly said was: “He who comes to me and does not put to one side his father and his mother and his brothers. . . cannot be my disciple.” Is this not more reflective of what we understand to be the character of Jesus?
Jesus certainly knew that anyone who wished to be his disciple might be challenged by their family. We know this because he also indicated, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Jesus was in opposition to the authorities, and one’s parents might turn their sons or daughters over to them.
None of us know beyond a reasonable doubt what anyone said two thousand years ago. We can only go by our own judgment of the documents at hand, and those were written from hearsay and memory, interpretation, and many translations. That said, for me, Jesus was above hatred.
Thomas S. Evans