Highlights In Today's Reading:
Thank God for today's message from Jesus who said: Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven (10:32). John the Baptist is about to be beheaded, but he made the right choice (10:28). Jesus praised him as His messenger (11:1-15). Unbeliever's actions and judgement (11:16-24). Life's greatest invitation: Come unto Me (11:28-30).
Jesus chose just ordinary men from the communities in which He taught, saying: I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men (10:16-17).
Christians are given a harmless "sheep-like" nature. Sheep are symbolic of innocence but not of cowardice. By their very nature, sheep are in need of a shepherd, for they will wander off and easily become prey. All we like sheep (Is. 53:6) need the True Shepherd as our Guide, Protector, and Provider, and we need His Word for our food (Matt. 4:4; John 10:11,14; I Pet. 2:2).
Sheep are contrasted with wolves, which are natural enemies of sheep. Wolves in human form (false teachers) may appear to be sincere sheep (Matt. 7:15). Often, their hostility toward Christ and His Word is hidden. But in due time a wolf's nature surfaces.
Jesus said: Ye shall be hated of all men for My Name's sake (10:22,24). But, with Christ, the Christian can stand boldly in the face of ridicule and even the fiercest enemy. Jesus assured us: Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. . . . (where) there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (10:28; 8:12).
Jesus said: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother . . . He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me (10:34-38). Yes! The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force (11:12). This means that His Kingdom followers are determined men and women who will not be intimidated or stopped by family members, friends, peer pressure, or fierce opposition — or even by the more deceptive and deadly lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:16). True Christians know that: No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him (II Tim. 2:4).
Thought for Today:
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth (I Chr. 16:31).
10:25 Beelzebub =prince of evil; 10:29 a farthing = small coin of little value; 10:35 variance =division, disagreement; 11:20 upbraid =rebuke.
For Matt. 10:11, 35-36: See Mic. 7:6. Matt. 11:5: See Is. 35:5; 61:1. Matt. 11:10: See Mal. 3:1. Matt. 11:23: See Ezek. 26:20; 31:14; 32:18,24. Matt. 11:29: See Jer. 6:16.
Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts for the week sponsored by Mrs. Norma V. Hurst • Country: Ethiopia (60 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: Amharic and Tigrinya • Unsettled after overthrow of communist regime • 41% Eastern Orthodox; 35% Muslim; 10% Protestant; 10% animist; .7% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Remember that the Lord is always ready to help you in times of trouble (Ps. 46:1).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:8