March 16

Text: Matthew 10:24, 25

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.  It is enough for the disciple that he become as his teacher, and the slave as his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! (NASB)

Tough job!  This commission was scary!  Jesus prepared his disciples for a hostile reception.  One verse is devoted to their message (verse 7).  One verse is devoted to what they should do (verse 8).  Seven verses (9-15) are devoted to their preparation/behavior as they travel.  The rest of it might be called “preparing for rejection.”  Rejection would not be limited to words like, “Get out of here!”  Jesus’ warnings included physical abuse, bloodshed, resentment, and court action.  This was no vacation!

We have “Americanized” the gospel to the extent that the maximum rejection rarely will amount to more than words—words that are cautious and reserved.  We are so accustomed to individual rights and freedoms that we think all people live in this environment.  Sacrifice is reduced to hurt feelings!

Why?  Why should the disciples expect such hostility?  The message (to us) seemed harmless.  Their deeds were marvelous.  Why would that message and those deeds provoke hostility?

A number of reasons and combined reasons were likely factors.  (Remember that Israel was an occupied nation of deeply religious people.)  (1) Israelites despised the Roman occupiers.  Yet, Israelites had learned to deal with the situation.  An old saying: “Let sleeping dogs lie”—do not create trouble where no trouble exists.  The word “kingdom” could irritate the Romans.  (2) The coming of the “kingdom” was not what the Israelites expected.  (3) Others recently claimed God sent them and stirred their passions.  Nothing good happened.  (4) It was okay for the men to go to the Jordan wilderness and discuss the kingdom with John the Baptist, but do not bring danger to the villages with their women and children!

Jesus said if some thought he was evil the disciples should expect no better treatment.  If Jesus suffered for God’s message, there was no injustice created by their suffering for God!  “Get your attitude right!”

Suggestion for reflection: Do I expect a crucified Savior to produce a life of ease?  (Read John 15:18-21.)

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