Summary Matthew 10:1-33
Jesus had just sent his twelve disciples out to the lost sheep of Israel. They were to proclaim, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And he told them that he was sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so they were to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Then he cautioned them against men who would deliver them over to courts and flog them in their synagogues. They would be dragged before governors and kings for the sake of Jesus, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. But when they were delivered over they were not to worry about what to say, for the Lord (the Spirit) would give them the words to speak.
He went on to tell them that brother would deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children would rise against parents and have them put to death, and that they would be hated by all for His name’s sake. “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:22).
And then he let them know that as he was treated and as he was persecuted so they would be also. If Jesus was called “Beelzebul,” they would be maligned, too. They would be accused of being of Satan, as well.
But they were not to fear their persecutors. What Jesus told them in the dark, they were to proclaim in the daylight. They were not to fear those who could kill their bodies but who could not kill their souls. Rather they were to walk in the fear of the Lord, who could destroy both soul and body in hell.
He also told them that everyone who acknowledges him before men, he would also acknowledge before the Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies him before men, he would also deny before his Father in heaven.
Matthew 10:34-39 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Many people today are painting a picture of Jesus different from the Jesus of Scripture. The man they describe was easy going, carefree, seeker-friendly, and he just went around loving on everyone and blessing everyone in sight. He was a good deed doer who was well liked by the people who just wanted to forgive everyone of their sins so they could live carefree lives, too.
Oh, and they say he demands nothing of anyone. He did all the giving, they say, and he expects nothing from us at all. As long as we are happy and having a good time, he is happy, too. For it is his goal just to please us for our good pleasure and that is why he died on that cross just so we could be free and be able to live how we want, now guilt-free, so they imply.
But that is not Jesus the Son of God they are talking about, but that is a “another Jesus” they created in their own minds according to their own flesh for their own sinful pleasure so that they could continue living in sin and not have to feel guilty about their sin or to be fearful of judgment.
Not Peace, A Sword!
But Jesus didn’t come to the earth to bring peace to the earth. He does not give peace as the world does. He is not looking for absence of conflict and for all the people of the world to unite together and to be one big happy family holding hands across the globe singing “Kumbaya.”
Jesus came to turn family members against one another so that members of our own households would be our enemies. Wow! That doesn’t sound like the Jesus they talk about. Why would Jesus who just loves on everyone want to turn people against each other? Isn’t he a God of love? Yes! He is!
Those who believe in a Jesus who merely forgives their sins and promises them heaven when they die, but who demands nothing of them – no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ as Lord – have a distorted view of who Jesus really is.
For, Jesus says that if we love our family members more than we love him, because we would choose their acceptance of us over obedience to our Lord, that we are not worthy of him. And if we will not die with him to sin daily and follow (obey) him with our lives, we are not worthy of him.
For, we, as Jesus’ followers, are called to a life of suffering for the sake of Jesus and his gospel, first in dying with Christ to sin and in surrendering our lives to Jesus to do his will, and then in being persecuted unjustly for righteousness’ sake by those who oppose Jesus and his gospel message.
What he told his disciples would happen to them, he said not only to his followers of that time, but also to those of us who would be following him in the last days before his return (see Matt 24).
Sheep in the Midst of Wolves
He is sending us out as sheep in the midst of wolves, too. These wolves are liars, manipulators, deceivers, and abusers, who want nothing more than to destroy Jesus, his gospel, and his followers. So, they teach a false gospel which promises salvation and eternal life with God absent of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord.
And we will be hated, too, and rejected and persecuted, and we will be called names, accused falsely of what we did not do (or say), and we will be mocked, ignored and forsaken by those who are supposed to love us, and by some who are supposed to protect us, too.
But we are not to be afraid. We are not to fear rejection, false accusations, being hated, being cast aside, being alone, and having people fiercely oppose us, etc. God is watching over us. He will take care of us. He will provide all we need to endure, too. He is our strength and support.
So, this we must know. If we acknowledge (not just give lip service to) Jesus by giving our lives over to him, by doing what he commands, by taking his gospel to the ends of the earth, and by exposing lies and speaking the truth against strong opposition, he will acknowledge us before the Father.
But if we deny him by our lifestyles and by not taking up our cross daily and following him, out of fear of men and what they might do to us, or out of a desire to be loved and accepted by others, especially our family members, and so we don’t tell people the truth, then he will deny us before the Father.
For, if we find our lives in this world, we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives in this world, i.e. if we die with Christ to sin and self in order to follow him in obedience to his will and commands for our lives, then we will find our lives in Christ Jesus and we will have life everlasting with him (See: Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
Jesus, Be Near to Me
Words and music by Tommy Walker
Jesus, be near to me
Let me know You are here
How I need You, how I need You
To reveal Yourself to me
Through Your unchanging truth
Through the breath of Your Spirit
In my questions and pain
Whisper words of Your love
Always the same
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