Bible Passage: Matthew 10:34-42
Big Idea of Message:
Ultimate love and loyalty belongs to Jesus alone.
The experience of the disciples and those who come to believe their message will be not only that they will be widely hated (cf. v 22) but that they will be rejected even by their own family members. This is part of the reality of the proclamation of the good news.
To be undeserving of Jesus is to be undeserving of what he brings; the two are inseparable.
32 “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge me before others, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever denies me before others, I will also deny him before my Father in heaven. 34 Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to turn
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and a man’s enemies will be
the members of his household.,
37 The one who loves a father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; the one who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Anyone who finds his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life because of me will find it.
40 “The one who welcomes you welcomes me, and the one who welcomes me welcomes him who sent me. 41 Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. And anyone who welcomes a righteous person because he’s righteous will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple,, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.”
34 “Do not imagine that I came to bring peace upon the earth. I came to bring not peace but a sword. 35 For I came to divide ‘a man against his father,’ and ‘a daughter against her mother’ and ‘a daughter-in-lawb against her mother-in-law,’ 36 and ‘a person’s enemies will be members of his or her household.’
37 “The person who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and the person who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his or her cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 The person who ‘finds’ his or her life will lose it, and the person who loses his or her life for my sake will find it.”
a. D it sys,c have υἱόν, “son,” rather than ἄνθρωπον, “man,” a harmonization with the LXX of Mic 7:6.
b. νύμφην, lit. “bride.”
c. “Or her” is added in order to be inclusive, as are the fem. pronouns of vv 38–39.
d. B* (but the original scribe caught his error and includes the words at the foot of the column) D and a few others omit the words καὶ ὁ φιλῶν υἱὸν ἢ θυγατέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος, “and the person who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,” probably due to homoeoteleuton (skipping from the ἄξιος at the end of the first clause to that at the end of the second clause). P19 apparently has an even larger omission for the same reason, down to the ἄξιος at the end of v 38.
e. For the fem. pronouns here and in the next verse, cf. Note c.
Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1–13, vol. 33A, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1993), 289–290.
There is a remarkable paradox in all of this. The way of the world—well illustrated in the incessant quest for “self-actualization” in contemporary pop psychology—leads only to a shallow and temporary fulfillment. The seeking of “life” at this level has left many in frustration and disappointment. On the other hand, and strangely, those who give up this useless quest, who instead yield themselves fully to the service of God and the kingdom—who willingly follow in the steps of Jesus—these are the ones who paradoxically find life, i.e., fulfillment and deep, abiding joy. And though the best of this fulfillment awaits the eschaton, it is already experienced proleptically in the present. Thus those who do not seek self-actualization as understood by the world, who love Jesus and the kingdom more than themselves (and in that sense alone “hate” their own life [Luke 14:26]), are alone the ones who realize true and lasting self-actualization and obtain personal fulfillment and the goal of their existence.
Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1–13, vol. 33A, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1993), 293.
Every criminal who is executed carries his own cross.”(Plutarch, De sera numinus vindicta)
Talk about my family, specifically my aunt, uncle, and cousin with transportation from airport. Goal – have the teenagers have an emotional response the vitality of their family in their lives.
This connection to family is only escalated in scripture, in the Hebrew culture.
Typical bet av probably averaged twelve to fifteen people, encompassing three generations: A senior man and woman, their children, and their grand children. The middle generation extended outward to take in all of the senior copuple’s male children, as well as their spouses. The senior family’s female children moved out of the bet av when they married. The bet av might also include other relatives whose households have dissolved through death or trauma.
Chapter 10 is the second sermon of Jesus and He wraps it up here. The sermon started with instructions for the short-term mission trip, then morphed into a general warning about persecution and violence which will come from religious folks, the State, your own family, and all of society. This will get progressively worse until the Son of Man comes back.
But all this hostility shouldn’t freak them out or cause them to live in fear. Rather, Jesus give three compelling reasons why they don’t need to live in fear.
In this final part of Jesus sermon in chapter 10 Jesus highlights three major points:
There will be Family Hostility.
There needs to be Family Priorities.
There will be Eternal Rewards.
II. Family Hostility (10:34-36).
Jesus will ultimately bring peace, but not right away.
This has to be one of the most striking statements that Jesus has ever made. Isn’t this a contradiction to what the angels said at the birth of Jesus, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Jesus is even called the Prince of peace. Blessed are the peace-makers, for they will be called the sons of God. God is a peace-maker. His gospel is called a gospel of peace. A gospel of reconciliation. It makes reconciliation not only between sinners and God, but between sinners and sinners.
What is meant by the statement “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
It means this… “The sword is the effect of His coming, not the purpose of His coming.” F.F. Bruce
There will be hostility in the family.
III. Family Priorities (10:37-39).
Mat. 10:37, “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.”
Principle #1: Ultimate love and loyalty belongs to Jesus alone.
Jesus demands this when He summarizes the Law.
Mat. 22:34-40, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Our number one priority is to love God above everything else.
Jesus says that our love and allegiance and loyalty to Him is to supersede every other relationship.
Charles Spurgeon before he got married, he had picked up his fiancée to take her to a place where he was going to preach. And when they arrived they were separated by the massive crowd of people. Spurgeon was a bit of a celebrity, even as a 20 year old. And thousands of people were pushing in to hear him preach. And so he sort of pushed his way up to the platform and after the meeting was over he couldn’t find her anywhere, so he just went over to her house. And he found her there and she was sort of pouting and crying. And she said, “Charles, you left me in that crowd all alone and you weren’t even concerned where I was.”
This is what he said, “I’m sorry, but perhaps what happened was providential. I didn’t intend to be impolite but whenever I see a crowd like that waiting for me to preach, I’m overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility, I forgot about you. Now, let’s get one thing straight, it will have to be the rule of our marriage that the command of my Master comes first; you shall have the second place. Are you willing as my wife to take a second place while I give the first place to Christ?”
He loved his wife, he loved her to the death; he never made a god out of her. His God was the true God.
Jesus demands this in His Church.
Revelation 2:1-5: ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Lovelessness is a serious matter to Jesus. They had abandoned love and loyalty and devotion to Jesus.
Jesus is worth our utmost loyalty and devotion.
It’s tough to find a balance without being too rigid or too lax.
1. It’s safest to stick to the principles.
2. Ultimate loyalty belongs to Jesus. He comes first.
3. The bottom line is that love for Christ must exceed every other kind of love.
Principle #2- Ultimate love and loyalty belongs to Jesus alone, above family, and above self.
i. “Take up your cross…” (38).
We will live for Christ, or we will live for ourselves.
This statement of “take up your cross is not a common metaphor for us today. Other than the Lord’s cross, we don’t think much about crosses. But Jesus’ audience did. They would have seen men pick up a wooden cross to their place of execution. And when that man walked off with a cross on his shoulders followed by a few Roman guards. He was not coming back anytime soon. It was the end of him.
This isn’t an addendum to your life. This is a nice add-on. Following Jesus isn’t like changing your political affiliation or picking up a new hobby. It’s a call to deny yourself and your priorities and adopt the priorities of your Master.
It’s a complete life-change. It’s a 180. And you don’t understand that, than you need to examine yourself with the words of Jesus here.
IV. Eternal Rewards (10:40-42)
a. This world may be hard for you as a Christian, but you will be rewarded.
There is a huge amount to say on this issue, but the main point is this: the moment you think following Jesus will be a poor deal for someone, you call Jesus a liar. Discipleship is not always easy. Leaving anything cherished behind is profoundly hard. But Jesus is always worth it.