21 June 2020Matthew 10:24-39
‘A disciple is not above the teacher and a slave is not above the master ...’ (v. 24)
Psalm: Psalm 69:7-18
At the beginning of Matthew chapter 10, Jesus has summoned and sent the twelve disciples on their first mission to proclaim the good news, cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons. The rest of the chapter is instructions given to the disciples, which Matthew also intends as instructions for the churches he is writing for.
At the heart of these instructions is the expectation that the disciples will be treated as Jesus was to be treated. In other words, the mission the disciples and the church are being sent on is the way of the cross.
In some of the most famous verses in the Bible, we are reminded that God knows when a sparrow falls to the ground. Unfortunately, even though God knows about it, the sparrow has still fallen to the ground. The point is not that God will protect us from suffering and death but rather that God sees our suffering and death and that justice will occur. This is the way of the cross.
The next few verses about inter-family conflict form some of the most difficult teachings of Jesus. We should be clear that Jesus is talking about his expectations for his followers rather than a hoped-for outcome. Inter-family conflict is not the sign of a true disciple any more than is being accused in court. However, as the world and its ideals, structures and vested interests are challenged by the preaching of the gospel, we can expect to be treated as Jesus was treated. We should also remember that God sees it all and that Jesus, having gone to the cross, was raised from the dead.
- What difference does it make to view evangelism and mission as ‘the way of the cross’?
- Have you ever experienced opposition or persecution because of your faith? How did you experience God during this time?