"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)
Well, because I can't make sense of, or agree with that, how about I simply follow behind at a distance?
"As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?" (Romans 9:13-24)
Surely, a God of love wouldn't ordain some just to perish! This can't mean what it says.
Jesus says, "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell." (Matthew 5:29-30)
Would any of us do this, even for Jesus? Or what about this?
"Another of the disciples said to him, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' And Jesus said to him, 'Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.'"
(Mathew 8:21, 22)
"...Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53) Of course immediately afterwards He explains, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." (John 6:63)
Yet the words remain for us to consider. What do we do with all the absurd sayings? Ignore them because they're spiritual and spiritual things belong to God? Do we think that just because we believe in Jesus, He will handle these weird things for us, without our participation? These are a part of what help us grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus as we seek Him for spiritual understanding.
Everything we experience in this physical world is a parallel example of the spiritual realm. Jesus' teachings and the apostles instructions reveal some very difficult commands we simply shake our head at and say, "This is a hard saying! Who can listen to this?" Good question. But to regard the physical Word alone without pursuing Spiritual understanding creates religion. We can think we know Christ, but when the wind blows and the rain beats down, the true substance of that structure will be quickly revealed. We can play church for so long, but eventually God will test our faith to reveal to us just what kind of structure we have built on the foundation Jesus and the apostles have laid. If we do not consider the Spirit of Scripture, we will find that religion has occupied the life intended to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He must build the house...but we must give Him the opportunity by laying down our lives willingly, as Jesus did. When the physical becomes overwhelming, we need to release our own cause, remember the relevant Word and ask God to accomplish with the Spirit what is impossible for the flesh. That is when the difficult commands of the Bible begin to take on life. Until then, we are kicking against the goads.
"And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’"