Matthew 10:24-42, March 22, 2020
Review: 5-6 The training ground. No gentiles, no Samaritans, only the lost sheep of Israel. This is the training ground for the Great Commission in Matthew’s last chapter and verses Matthew 28:18-20:
and re-emphasized in Acts 1:8:
The message of salvation was first to be to the Jews and then to the rest of the world.
14-15 Not Welcome & Judgment. Jews thought the land of Israel so holy, that when they came home from any heathen country they stopped at the borders, and shook the dust of it from their feet, that the holy land might not be polluted with it. Towns that refused the gospel would be judged worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. The judgment poured out by God upon Judea by the Roman armies in AD 70 was worse than the judgment that came upon Sodom and Gomorrah. It was not until 1948 AD, one thousand eight hundred and seventy eight years later, that Israel was once again a nation.
16-20 Be Prepared for Persecution. Jesus warned His disciples that they would face persecution as they went out with only their faith for protection as they went as sheep among wolves. Being vulnerable they were not to defend themselves – they were sheep. Instead they were to remain harmless as doves not retaliating, but be wise as serpents.
21-23 Persecution is Coming. Jesus dos not say If you get persecuted, but instead When you get persecuted. Persecution is coming. Christian persecution today even has a definition: any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ or as a Christian. Compared to what our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer in other countries, what we face is relatively mild, but it still exists.
To follow Jesus the Christ was no small matter and Jesus wanted His followers to be aware of the cost and of the reward as the one who endures to the end will be saved. [Correction: Not 3-4 every minute as I said last week, instead one every 3 to 4 minutes.]
24-25 Student/Teacher. Like the teacher the student will face persecution, even to the point of being called Beelzebul or Satan. Today they simply call us haters when we put on the cloak of Jesus and call ourselves Christians.
26-36 Do not be Afraid. Even while being persecuted, we are to be bold in proclaiming our faith and the good news of Jesus. No one likes being called a hater, but as Guzik states: If persecution or the threat of persecution makes us draw back from speaking and preaching God’s word, then in some measure Satan has won a victory. His threat of persecution may not have succeeded in harming us, but in holding back the work of the Word of God.
Destroy (v28) in the Greek, apollumi, means to render unfit for the purpose for which something is made, thus destroy here is not annihilation, but eternal punishment in hell.
Disown (v33) or deny. Is here used in what is called the Greek aorist tense meaning not one moment of denial or even a series of denials as Peter did when Jesus was on trial, but to a firm resistance to Christ that will never cease. Or more simply, a refusal to confess Christ at all that eliminates one from being a true follower of Christ.
Micah 7:6-7 (v35-36). Your bible probably points out v35-36 come from Micah 7:6 and does not give the following verse in Micah:
…which gives great hope just as v32 does here.
37-39 Family, the cross, life. Nothing for most of us is more important than our family, but Jesus clearly is telling us if it comes down to a choice between our family and Him, we are to choose Him.
First mention of the cross in the bible here, and here Jesus is telling His disciples just how bad it may end up for those who follow Him. At that time there was no death worse than the cross. Cross equals death, death to self, but a resurrected life with Jesus.
Today we have jail or even public executions by beheading. There were 21 who were beheaded in February 2015:
One man, from Chad, who had just become a Christian gained eternal life by losing his life for his faith in Jesus (v39). Shall find it refers to a life emptied of self and poured out in the service of Christ in this world, and which will find full enjoyment and blessing in the world to come.
40-42 Welcomes. Cup of water. The good done to Jesus’ disciples – then and now – is as if it were good done to Jesus Himself, because they are His representatives, carrying on His ministry.
We are able to share in the reward for God’s servants by supporting His servants in their work. Even what seems like insignificant works of kindness (a cup of cold water) done for God’s people are found to be meaningful in God’s eyes. Remember those who represent Him are those we support and gain rewards in heaven for supporting them.