Christ's Disciples: Challenged, Called and Celebrated (Matthew 10:34-42)
“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. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (ESV)
Jesus concludes his teaching on discipleship with shocking words. His call to follow will be challenged, costly and yet celebrated. First, his call to active discipleship, in no uncertain terms, will engender a degree of conflict in the most cherished of places, within our families. An intended place of refuge for most will be a proving ground for our allegiance to Jesus. This discipleship calls for costly commitment. Jesus uses the cross as an example to teach that life prior to the fullness of his kingdom will involve a bid to come and die to self so as to gain life that is full and eternal. While this might prove initially discouraging to most, Jesus encourages us with the promise that those sent out will be cared for and those caring for the sent will be rewarded. Even the smallest of acts done in Jesus name will not miss the reward that Jesus intends. Consider for a moment the nature of your discipleship in light of Jesus' words.
Review and Apply
- What kind of peace does Jesus bring? How is it achieved?
- What does it mean that Jesus came to bring a sword?
- Why is family a proving ground for allegiance to Jesus?
- What has been your family's response to your faith?
- What does an inordinate love for family look like? Allow others to challenge your answer.
- What does “taking up one's cross” practically mean for discipleship?
- What are ways that you can lose your life for Jesus' sake this very week?
- In what ways have you cared for those bringing the message of God to you?
- What sort of rewards can you imagine receiving for your care of others?
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