Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keep us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.”
This is week 49, Matthew, part 47 in the series. Today, Pastor G talks about Matthew 10:24-42. Jesus concludes His instructions to the Twelve about what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus, what to expect and how to do their best to reach a world system that is against them and their mission.
“Matthew: Part Forty-Seven” by Pastor Greg Scott of Waikoloa Community Church in Waikoloa, HI. 49th in the “Just Jesus” series based on 1 Corinthians 2:2
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. ~ John Wesley
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! ~ Matthew 10:24-25
Beelzebul, aka Beelzebub, actually was, originally, based on the name of a Philistine false god. The name is thought to be a Hebrew variation of the Philistine’s language. The Hebrew name was designed to smack talk the deity as the “Lord of the Flies” – kind of the Lord of a manure pile that is covered in flies. Everybody say BLECH! Originally, though, it probably meant “Lord of the High Place (The Zebul)” or possibly the god of a place called Zebub.
In the Old Testament, the Israelite king Ahaziah prayed to Ba‘al Zebûb, the god of Ekron, seeking healing from a serious fall he had taken. The prophet Elijah condemned him for this idolatry, and King Ahaziah died. Beelzebul/bub also appears in Christian texts as the name of a demon or devil or the prince of demons or referring to Satan himself. Jesus says “If they are going to call me – the Son of God – God in the Flesh – Demon-Possessed if they are going to call me Satan – how much worse will they do to you?” Don’t be surprised if the life of a disciple of Jesus is tough. Jesus continues.
“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. ~ Matthew 10:26
Eventually, everything Jesus has been saying and teaching and alluding to will be revealed.
What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. ~ Matthew 10:27
In other words, these private discipling sessions He has with them cannot end with them. When He is gone they are going to have to pick up the family business and get the word out. Even though it will be dangerous they will need to step into the light, be visible, be bold. Tell the world who Jesus is no matter what it costs.
Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. ~ Matthew 10:28
The world leaders might kill your body but your soul will live forever. Only God has the power over what happens to your soul when your body dies.
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.~ Matthew 10:29-31
Sparrows are a dime a dozen, even cheaper and more common than that. Most people don’t pay a single thought to the life of a sparrow. And yet not a single sparrow’s life will end without God, their loving creator taking notice. He cares about every life that He has created. Jesus says, listen, don’t miss this, listen to me now. If God cares that much about a sparrow, think about how much He cares about you.
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. ~ Matthew 10:32-33
“I am THE way, and THE truth, and THE life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. ~ John 14:6
If you reject Him, the only way, the only truth, the only path of life, then you are are on your own. Jesus can’t vouch for you on judgment day. Again, this is “count the cost” time. Jesus is asking us, “Are you with Me? No matter what? Even if it leads to death?”
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came 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 man’s enemies will be the members of his household. ~ Matthew 10:34-36
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He gives His peace to us. He is peace. He is Yahweh Shalom, the God of Peace. So this seems like a very strange passage then doesn’t it? He says He didn’t come to bring peace but a sword? That He came to set families against each other? That, of course, was NOT His INTENT. He WANTS to bring, to give, to share, His shalom, His peace with everyone. He is saying here, even though that’s the case, initially, that’s not what His coming will BRING ABOUT. Instead, initially, it will bring conflict. Some will accept Him and some will reject Him. Even people in the same home, the same family. Someone may tell you “Choose! Jesus, or me!” When that happens, Jesus wants you to be prepared. Following Him is an all or nothing proposition. Don’t sign on as a Christ follower if you aren’t going to stay the course.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. ~ Matthew 10:37-38
One of the most basic philosophical definitions of the word God is “The Greatest Possible Concern.” The thing or person you value above all else. So, it stands to reason, if you love anything or anyone more than you love God, then, by definition, that thing or that person is your ACTUAL God, no matter who you CLAIM your God to be.
He is going to die on the cross. If we are really, truly, fully devoted followers of Jesus, then our life may take the same journey. If they killed Him they won’t think twice about killing you. If, when faced with your own persecution, incarceration, torture, murder, because of your association with Jesus, you’ll need to go all the way to the end. Persevere in the faith even unto death.
He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. ~ Matthew 10:39
A powerful and poetic conclusion. If you pursue a life without Christ, no matter how successful, influential, powerful, that live is, if you’ve done it while rejecting or later betraying Jesus, it will all be for nothing. You will one day die, you will lose that life you have found, that life you have built for yourself and there will be no eternal life waiting for you. On the other hand, even if you end up losing this life, dying on the cross or in some other way because you were following Jesus, this life is not all there is. There is another, better life than this one. Even if you lose this life, if you stick close to Jesus, you will find the life that lasts forever.
“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. ~ Matthew 10:40
You and me, as Jesus followers, God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, God the Son, we have all become ONE just as Jesus prayed we would, all because Jesus died for us. As Christians, we are saying if you have seen me, you have seen Jesus and you have seen the Father. We are just here to do what they tell us to do and say what they tell us to say. We are representing them. We are their body but they are the head.
He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. ~ Matthew 10:41
Just as we are receiving the reward of eternal life in the next world and abundant life in this world by following Jesus, so will anyone who receives the Kingdom of God message we are sharing. These rewards were not just for the original disciples! They will also for every person who becomes a follower of Jesus until the end of the age.
And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. ~ Matthew 10:42
Even the smallest act of kingdom living, giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty person is noticed by God. The life of a sparrow, God cares about that. The exact number of hairs on your head, God cares about that. You doing a kind act for a representative of Jesus or doing a kind act to someone else in the name of Jesus or in the name of a representative of Jesus, God cares about that. God rewards kindness. God rewards altruism. God rewards love. Jesus is still, to this day, 1988 years later, recruiting followers, disciples, partners in ministry. The message has not changed.