May 11: Trials and Triumphs of Discipleship (Matthew 10:24-33)
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (ESV)
Despite the warnings of conflict that naturally meet the gospel, Jesus encourages us to pursue a life of discipleship. Discipleship is simply becoming like Christ, and yet this call to follow Jesus will bring us into the same suffering as our teacher and master, Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus takes time to remind, or better, assure us of certain promises that are meant to strengthen us for the journey. He promises that God will in the end vindicate both his Son and all those who followed his Son. He assures us that we need not fear trouble, for it is only temporal. He reminds us that we are loved by our heavenly Father, who is totally aware of all that our life contains. And last but not least, there will be a day ahead for each disciple where Jesus will acknowledge us as his own before the Father in glory. These promises are meant to undergird and fuel our life of discipleship, even when the road leads through difficult stretches. Take time to consider these unblushing promises as we seek to walk in the way of our Lord.
Review and Apply
- Over the past few months, what have you been doing to become like your teacher and master?
- How do trials and suffering advance us in becoming like Jesus? Give examples.
- Explain why the world is at such odds with a gospel of such good news?
- How can the promise of final vindication for the truth and value of the gospel encourage us to preach it and live it with greater joy?
- How does a right and healthy fear of God lead us from fear of others? Give an example in your life where this would relieve fear of man.
- Why do you struggle resting in God's unfathomable love for you?
- Where and how can you better “acknowledge” Christ before men? Where have you failed in this and why?
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