Thursday 5 September 2013

Matthew 10:16-42 - Just rewards?

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Jesus has sent his twelve disciples out into Judaea and Galilee to proclaim the kingdom, heal, restore life, and release those in spiritual bondage. Now, in Matthew 10:16-42 he tells them what lies in store for them.

Basically he is warning them that they will be persecuted. Believers are persecuted around the globe today in just the ways that Jesus mentions. But in the West we seem to be mostly escaping persecution in the early 21st century. Might that be because we are not effective in being sent out to proclaim the good news, to heal, to cast out demons? We have been given the authority to do these things, and commanded to do them, how well are we doing in terms of obedience?

He says we will be hated "for his name's sake" - but first we must actually go in his name.

But Jesus also encourages the disciples (and us) by explaining that we are worth much more than sparrows. And listen to this, if we acknowledge Jesus in public, he will acknowledge us before the Father. But in the same way, our denial leads to his denial.

And Jesus expands on this in two more ways. Even family members will be on opposite sides, persecuted and persecutor.  We find life by losing it for Jesus' sake.

And the people who receive us (hear us, accept us) also receive Jesus.

What do you make of all this? What lessons do you draw from it? Do you accept Jesus' command to go - whatever the cost? This is a serious business and not for the faint-hearted, or indeed for the half-hearted.

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