WORD STUDY – AN IRRITANT (ARAMAIC)
Luke 14:26: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
I got into a conversation with one of my passengers on my disability bus today. He said he could not believe the Bible because of all the contradictions. I asked him to name one and he did. Luke 14:26 where Jesus teaches us to hate our family for His sake or we could not be His disciple. Yet, the sixth commandment says we are to honor our parents. You can’t honor someone if you hate them.
That was a good point and if we had only the Greek to depend upon I would be stuck trying to give a preacher explanation like: “Jesus is speaking in some sort of metaphor or hyperbole.” Then I would follow that up with: “What Jesus meant…” and then try to fill in the blank with something that sounds logical and spiritual. Some will simply say: “Well in the Greek it just means to love less, you are to love Jesus more than your family.” What concerns me is that in the Greek the word used here is misei which is the Greek word for hate. I know some lexicons may say to love less but linguistically it sounds like the lexicographer was desperately trying to get something that doesn’t make Jesus sound like an arrogant tyrant. Maybe there is some extra Biblical support for applying the idea of loving less to misei, but I haven’t found it. On top of that I am not comfortable with Jesus even saying we are to love our family with a lessor love than we have for Him. So based upon this a wife should be more affectionate to Jesus than to her husband? That is saying there are degrees to love. I would much rather hear that we are to love God with a different type of love than we have for our family. Now that I could handle, but to hate or even love less, somehow that is not the Jesus I have grown to love.
As a pastor I have seen marriages break down and even fall apart because a wife or a husband neglects his or her mate in favor of service to God. Many times it is just an excuse to get out of the house and away from an abusive husband or a nagging wife, but then there are those who are really torn over their own love for their mates and their love for God. Take the husband who feels a real call of God to give up a good job and go to seminary or enter the ministry. He loves God and hungers to serve God but his wife is not ready to make the sacrifice. Is that poor soul supposed to love God more than his wife in this situation? Tough call, glad I am not a pastor anymore.
Maybe this is one of the reasons I am convinced the Gospels were written in Aramaic and not Greek, the Aramaic just seems to make more sense. Because Christian clergy have embraced the Greek over the Aramaic and very few have actually studied the Aramaic, let alone made some application, I was able give my passenger an answer his question he had not heard. My answer to his seeming contradiction brought the response “Oh!”
You see, even if the Gospels were not originally written in Aramaic it had to be translated from the Aramaic into Greek as practically all scholars now believe Jesus spoke Aramaic. The Aramaic word that is used here is sana’ which means to be prickly, a thorn, or an irritant, like a briar stuck on your leg.
The Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago had a little sign over the doorway which said: “Your mother’s prayers brought you here.” Many a wayward man was brought to his knees over that little ” sana”(irritating) mother at home on her knees praying and weeping for her boy; a mother who stood in the gap for her son, who never wavier in her belief and trust in God. That mother whose prayers and pleas for her son to turn to Jesus was a constant irritant to him. She did not love her son less than God, but boy she was a real sana’ irritant to him until he finally came to his senses and turned his life over to God.
I remember working in a halfway house and talking with recovering drug addicts. I asked one recover addict who had really cleaned up his life through the power of God what it was that really turned him away from drugs and to God. He said he had a Christian wife who would just irritate him to death telling him that she was praying for him and begging him to give his life to Jesus. One day he came home stoned out of his mind and he found his wife on her knees weeping and praying to God to save him. In his drugged state this made him so angry that he punched her in her stomach with all his strength. She laid on the floor in agony pleading with God to forgive him. After that, every time he picked up a needle he saw in his mind’s eye his wife lying on the floor crying in pain and calling out to God to save him. It was such love that brought him to Jesus. She did not love him less but boy was she a sana’ irritant.