SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Jesus prepares His disciples to carry His’ message into other Jewish towns. He also gives them power to drive out demons and heal the sick. Some of these guys, like Matthew, are brand new to following Jesus is already trusting them and sending them out to perform miracles!
- Jesus tells them that some people will probably hate and persecute them because they already hate Jesus. But he also tells his disciples that God knows them (so well He even knows the number of hairs on their head) and will take care of them.
- In verse 15 Jesus says that the cities which reject the disciples will get it worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. We find the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:1-29. They were cities during the time of Abraham that God destroyed because of their inhabitants' recklessly immoral behavior. Jesus may be making this statement because those long-ago-destroyed cities never got to hear the amazing message that these towns would hear and ignore.
- In verses 34-36 Jesus says He came to bring not peace, but division, even turning family members against each other. Jesus does not mean that this was His intent or purpose. In fact, throughout the Bible we are taught to love and submit to others, especially our family members. Jesus doesn't intend for division to happen because of Him, but knows it will, and is here acknowledging that.
- In verses 37-39 Jesus speaks to the question of, "If following Jesus will cause my parents or children (or anyone) to be against me, should I follow Jesus?" He says that while we should love others, our love for Jesus must come first, even more than we love our own lives.
- A paraphrase of verses 40-42 might read like this: If you help someone who can repay you, they’ll reward you. But if you help someone who can’t repay you, God will reward you.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- We see in this chapter that Jesus wasn't playing games. He is loving and gracious, but He is also God. And as God, He must come first in our lives. Not only because He deserves it, but also because ultimately it is the only way our lives will make sense and work. And He is loving and gracious, but He also has an important mission for us to engage in. And we need to fully engage in that mission (of showing people Jesus through our kindness and service, and telling people about Jesus with our words) even if it means suffering.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Honestly evaluate your life. Is Jesus first in it? And is the mission of letting the world know about Him the most important thing on your agenda? Are you willing to suffer (or lose friends) if necessary to put Jesus first and let the world know about Him? If you think the answer is yes, what evidence could you provide of that? If the answer is no, ask God to help you change that. And look for opportunities today to put Him first and to let people know about the love of Jesus.