Exegetical and Hermeneutical Commentary of Matthew 10:37 – Bible Commentary

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

37. The connection is this: there will be divisions in families; My disciples must not hesitate to side with I rather than with father or mother, or son or daughter. The new life changes the old relationships: everything is viewed now in reference to Christ, to whom His followers are related as mother and sisters and brethren.

Source: The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

He that loveth father or mother … – The meaning of this is clear. Christ must be loved supremely, or he is not loved at all. If we are not willing to give up all earthly possessions, and forsake all earthly friends, and if we do not obey him rather than all others, we have no true attachment to him.

Is not worthy of me – Is not appropriate to be regarded as a follower of me, or is not a Christian.

Source: Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Matt 10:37

He that loveth father or mother more than Me.

The Saviors claims on our supreme affections

There are three sources from which love, considered as a sentiment, originates in the heart:-

1. The love of sympathy.

two. The love of gratitude.

3. The love of moral esteem.

In all these respects Christ is entitled to supreme affection. Is love valued in proportion as it is disinterested? Compared with Christs love mans is selfishness. Or does the greatness of sacrifice testify to the greatness of love? On this ground Christ claims our supreme love, as no human being has sacrificed so much for us as He, no earthly benefactor so great as He. (H. White, MA)

Christ worthy of our highest esteem

Our Savior puts Himself and the world together as competitors for our best affections, challenging a transcendent affection on our part, because of a transcendent worthiness on His. By father or mother are to be understood whatever enjoyments are dear to us; and from the expression, he is not worthy of Me, the doctrine of merit must not be asserted.

What is included and comprehended in that love to Christ here mentioned?

1. An esteem and valuation of Christ above all worldly enjoyments.

two. A choosing Him before all other enjoyments.

3. Service and obedience to Him.

Four. Acting for Him in opposition to all other things.

5. It imparts a full acquiescence in Him alone, even in the absence and want of all other compliments.

The reason and motives which may induce us to this love.

1. He is the best able to reward our love.

two. He has shown the greatest love to us.

The signs and characters whereby we may discern his love.

1. A frequent and, indeed, continual thinking of Him.

two. A willingness to leave the world, whenever God shall think fit, by death, to summon us to nearer converse with Christ.

3. A zeal for His honour, and impatience to hear or see any indignity offered Him. (R. South, D.D.)

Undivided devotion

1. The audacity of the claim-seemingly opposed to natural affection.

two. Its naturalness on the lips of Christ-all of a piece with His other words and deeds.

3. Either, then, Jesus is God and deserves all He claims, or else an impostor and blasphemer.

Four. The dilemma we must either crucify Him or acknowledge His pretensions. (Newman Smyth, D.D.)

Christ more than the nearest relatives

A striking illustration of the love to Christ, that proves so ardent as to supersede that felt for parent or child, is furnished by the history of Vivia Perpetua, the martyr of Carthage. This lady, who was a matron of high position, young (not being more than twenty-two at her death de ella) beautiful, and with everything to make life desirable and attractive to her, met death with dauntless heroism. We are not told whether her husband was a Pagan or a Christian; but her aged, and still heathen, father, obtaining entrance into her prison, endeavoured by every possible argument to shake her constancy, and, as a last appeal, brought her infant son, and conjured her, by her love for himself and for her child, to abjure Christianity and live. But to all these entreaties Perpetua turned to deaf ear; Christ was dearer to her than either her parent or her son de ella, and she bravely met death by being exposed to an infuriated animal in the arena. She suffered about AD 205. Even in these modern days instances might be brought forward, from the annals of missionary labour, of those who from love of Christ are willing to leave dearest earthly friends; but in some instances these close human ties become the great obstacles to the reception of the gospel. Speaking of a school at Chumdicully, Ceylon, the missionary, Mr. Fleming, says (quoted in the Church Missionary Societys report for 1881-82): There are secret believers in Christ who are not ready to give up all for Him. One of them has confessed that he would like to follow his sisters, who have come out, but his parents look to him to perform the funeral rites for them when they die, and he shrinks from causing them grief like the man whom Christ called, but who said, Suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Christian love triumphant over maternal

Leelerc, says DAubigne, was led to the place of execution. The executioner prepared the fire, heated the iron which was to sear the flesh of the minister of the gospel, and, approaching him, branded him as a heretic on the forehead. Just then a shriek was uttered-but it came not from the martyr. His mother of him, a witness of the dreadful sight, wrung with anguish, endured a violent struggle between the enthusiasm of faith and maternal feelings; but her faith overcame her, and she exclaimed, in a voice that made the adversaries tremble, Glory be to Jesus Christ, and His witnesses of him! Thus did this French woman of the sixteenth century have respect to the word of the Son of God-He that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. So daring a courage at such a moment might have seemed to demand instant punishment, but that Christian mother had struck powerless the hearts of priests and soldiers. Their fury was restrained by a mightier arm than theirs. The crowd failing back and making way for her, allowed the mother to regain, with faltering step, her humble dwelling on her. Monks, and even the town sergeants themselves, gazed on her without moving. Not one of her enemies of her, says Beza, dared put forth his hand of her against her.

Source: Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Verse 37. He that loveth father or mother more than me]He whom we love the most is he whom we study most to please, and whose will and interests we prefer in all cases. If, in order to please a father or mother who are opposed to vital godliness, we abandon God’s ordinances and followers, we are unworthy of anything but hell.

Source: Adam Clarke’s Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Luke seems to speak higher, Luke 14:26, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. But the sense is the same, for by hatred there is only meant displacency, and a setting them in his esteem below Christ and his commands from him. Christ doth not command or encourage want of natural affection, but only by this saying he reduces it to order, and showeth that our first love and homage is due to God; and where we cannot show what love and affections our father, or mother, or son, or daughter call for, without failing in that duty which we owe unto God, or violating some Divine precept, we must acknowledge our heavenly Father, even by disobeying our earthly parents. Instead of

is not worthy of me, Luke saith, cannot be my disciple, which expounds this term. He is not worthy of my favour, of the name of my disciple, or the reward I intend my disciples.

Source: English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

37. He that loveth father or mothermore than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughtermore than me, he is not worthy of me (Compare From33:9). As the preference of the one would, in the supposed case, necessitate the abandonment of the other, our Lord here, with a sublime, yet awful self-respect, asserts His own claims to supreme affection.

Source: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

He that loveth father or mother more than me,…. The design of these words, is not at all to lessen the due affection of children to their parents; or to detract from the respect and esteem, in which they ought to be had by them: it is the duty of children, to love, honor, and, obey them; who have been the means of bringing them into the world, and of bringing them up in it; nor do any of the doctrines of Christ break in upon the ties and obligations of nature, or in the least set aside any of the duties of natural religion: but the intent of this passage is, to show, that as Christ is infinitely above all creatures, he is to be loved above the nearest and dearest relations and friends; being God over all blessed for ever, and also the Savior and Redeemer; which itself, makes him more friendly and lovely than a common parent. That man therefore, that prefers father and mother to Christ, and their instructions, and orders, to the truths and ordinances of Christ: who, to please them, breaks the commands of Christ, rejects his Gospel, and either denies him, or does not confess him, our Lord says,

is not worthy of me; or, as in Munster’s Hebrew Gospel, he is not

, “fit for me”: it is not fit and proper, that such a person should name the name of Christ, or be called by his name, and should be reckoned one of his disciples; he is not fit to be a member of the church of Christ on earth, nor for the kingdom of heaven, but deserves to be rejected by him, and everlastingly banished his presence: for otherwise no man, let him behave ever so well, is worthy of relation to Christ, and interest in him; or of his grace, righteousness, presence, kingdom and glory of him. The same is the sense of the following clause,

and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me: whoever, to gratify a child, drops the profession of Christ, renounces his Gospel, and neglects his commands, it is not proper and convenient that he should bear the name of Christ, be accounted for one of his, or be treated as such, but all the reverse.

Source: John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

1) “He that loveth father or mother more than me,” (ho philon patera he metera huper eme) “The one who loves father or mother beyond (more than) he loves me,” The one who observes the worldly standards above the Lord’s rules and principles for the sake of peace or temporary tranquillity.

two) “Is not worthy of me:” (ouk estin mou aksios) “Is not worthy of (reputable enough for) me:” He can not have my sanctions, holding divided affections, Deu 33:9; Matt 22:37; John 5:23; Php_3:8; Luke 14:26.

3) “And he that loveth son or daughter more than me,” (kai ho philon huion e thugatera huper eme) “And the one who loves a son or a daughter beyond his love for me,” or more than he loves me, allowing them to indulge in sins and follies, rather than requiring them to obey the teachings of Jesus, Eph 6:1-4.

4) “It is not worthy of me.” (ouk estin mou aksios) “is not worthy of me,” does not merit having me or my commendation, Luke 14:26; 2Co 5:16. Giving assent to a pursuit of sin in the lives of one’s children renders an unworthy disciple of the name Christian, Luke…

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