As I preach through the book of Luke, I am both awed and convicted as I consider the radical nature of Jesus' teaching.
From ch.9v.51 through ch.19v.27, the events and teachings recorded take place as He journeys toward Jerusalem. He knows that this part of His earthly ministry is going to end very soon at Calvary. So, it seems to me that He intensifies the tone of His teaching so that it will have a maximum effect on His hearers.
His teaching in this section is designed to do at least two things: 1.To instruct His true followers.2.To identify the false ones. In order to accomplish that, He sets the standard high and draws a bold, clear, and well-defined dividing line. We all are on one side or the other. Ch.11v.23 states it in unmistakable terms:"He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." Now that's radical! There is no neutral ground. Nope, none. Not any. Nary a bit.
Jesus demands an all or nothing commitment. He is not teaching, as some mistakenly believe, some higher form of Christianity. It is the ONLY form of Christianity that He taught. Jesus' teachings are not suggestions but commands. We are either endeavoring to obey them as commands or we are actively rebelling against them.There is no middle ground.