As we gather here today, let us reflect on the words of Matthew 10:24-39. In this passage, Jesus speaks to his disciples about the challenges they will face as they carry out his mission. He reminds them that they will face persecution and opposition, but encourages them to remain steadfast in their faith. Let us delve into this sermon and find inspiration and guidance for our own lives.
24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.
25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
This passage is part of Jesus’ instructions to His disciples as He sends them out to proclaim the kingdom of God. He is preparing them for the challenges they will face, emphasizing the cost of discipleship and the rewards for those who remain faithful. The references to family tensions illustrate the radical nature of Jesus’ call, where loyalty to Him might even cause divisions among the closest relationships.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24). These words from Jesus highlight the reality that as followers of Christ, we should not expect an easy path. Just as Jesus faced opposition and persecution, so too will we. However, we are called to trust in the guidance and teachings of our master. We must remember that we are not alone in our struggles and that Christ is always with us.
The Cost of Discipleship
Jesus continues by emphasizing the cost of discipleship. He says, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38). This powerful statement reminds us that following Jesus requires sacrifice. It requires us to deny our own desires and take up our cross, symbolizing the willingness to endure hardship for the sake of the Gospel. This may involve facing ridicule, rejection, or even physical harm. However, Jesus assures us that the rewards of discipleship far outweigh the challenges we may face.
Living a life of discipleship means placing our trust in God and surrendering our own will. It means prioritizing our relationship with God above all else. Jesus says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). When we let go of our own desires and submit ourselves to God’s will, we discover a life of purpose, fulfillment, and eternal significance.
Persecution and Fear
Jesus acknowledges that following him can be a difficult and even dangerous journey. He says, “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” (Matthew 10:28). Here, Jesus reminds us that our ultimate fear should be directed towards God, not the world. He reassures us that even in the face of persecution or death, our souls are secure in God’s hands.
While the prospect of persecution may cause fear, Jesus encourages us to stand firm in our faith. He says, “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” (Matthew 10:32-33). These words remind us of the importance of boldly proclaiming our faith and not allowing fear to hinder our witness.
God’s Provision and Care
In the midst of the challenges we may face as disciples, it is essential to remember that God provides for us and cares for us. Jesus reassures his disciples, “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” (Matthew 10:29-31).
These words remind us of God’s intimate knowledge of us and his deep love for us. We can take comfort in knowing that he is aware of even the smallest details of our lives. When we face challenges or feel overwhelmed, we can trust that God is with us, providing for our needs and guiding us through difficult times.
The Call to Action
As we reflect on the words of Matthew 10:24-39, we are called to action. Jesus challenges us to examine our own lives and the level of commitment we have to him. He says, “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” (Matthew 10:37). These words remind us that our love and devotion to Christ should surpass any other relationships or attachments in our lives.
Our faith should be the foundation upon which we build our lives. Jesus says, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38). Taking up our cross means embracing the challenges and sacrifices that come with discipleship. It means living a life of obedience and surrender to God’s will.
Living in Light of Eternity
Jesus concludes this sermon by reminding us of the eternal perspective we should have as his followers. He says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). These words remind us that our focus should not be solely on the temporary pleasures or comforts of this world. Rather, we should live with an eternal perspective, prioritizing the advancement of God’s kingdom above all else.
When we embrace the call to discipleship and surrender our lives to Jesus, we experience true freedom and joy. The trials and difficulties we may face become opportunities for growth and transformation. Our lives become a testament to the power and love of God, as we live out our purpose as his disciples.
A Prayer for Strength and Obedience
Heavenly Father, we come before you today, inspired by the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:24-39. We acknowledge the challenges and sacrifices that come with discipleship, but we also recognize the immeasurable rewards and blessings that await us. Give us the strength and courage to take up our cross and follow you, even in the face of opposition or persecution. Help us to prioritize our relationship with you above all else and to live with an eternal perspective. Guide us in our journey as disciples and enable us to be bold witnesses for your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.