Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own and followed You.” And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” -Luke 18:28-30
So did Jesus encourage Dead-beat-Dadism? I tend to be cautious about sayings like this when I don't have an answer that seems compelling to me. I usually raise my eyebrows and cock my head and say something really patronizing and vague like, "That's one of those things, isn't it?" It is amazing that I still have any friends.
But I have become a bit more interested in this troubling saying of late. I occurs to me that Luke's portrait of Jesus also gives us this perplexing nugget:
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery." -Luke 16:18
So here is my question; and I will leave it open-ended: Could it be that a group of mixed-company disciples (men, women, young men who sprint away naked, a couple donkeys, etc.) who have left their families behind need to be reminded about fidelity? If their families had been left behind, perhaps the severity of Jesus' stance on divorce was meant to maintain some degree of sexual restraint among his followers. I suppose that I'm attempting to contextualize the dead-beat dad thing within the tradition that Luke has inherited.