Read Matthew 10
Twelve disciples chosen; questions sent by John the Baptist; great invitation.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matt. 10:7).
Following His request for prayer to send forth labourers into His harvest (Matt. 9:36-38), Jesus chooses seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come (Luke 10:1).
Jesus chose just ordinary men from the communities in which He preached to send out as lambs among wolves (10:3). Wolves are the natural enemy of sheep. Although wolves often appear as sheep (Matt. 7:15), beneath the surface the hostility against Christ and the Lord's work never goes away — it is relentless. The wolf's eyes, teeth, and muscles are always poised to destroy the one whose conversation, conduct, and conscience are set on glorifying Christ. With heartless cruelty, the world pursues Christ and His disciples as did Herod, the Pharisees, the rulers, and even Pilate who found no fault in this man (Luke 23:4) yet cooperated in putting Christ to death.
The Christian has a “sheep-like” nature, but is not “sheepish.” The sheep is a symbol of innocence, not cowardice. The Christian can stand bold in the face of the fiercest enemy, for he fears not them which kill the body. . . but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (10:28). The disciple is not above his Master (10:24). And the Christian has no reason to expect kindness from a hostile world, when his Master faced fierce enemies. Christian persecution, often in the form of pressure to compromise, has always been a test of sincerity. Persecution immediately divides the professor from the possessor; it separates the tares from the wheat. Times of peace have too often become a time of ease, lukewarmness and indifference.
The diciples were warned to beware of men (10:17). Sheep could not defend themselves, consequently they needed to stay close to the Shepherd.
Jesus continued by saying that the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force (11:12) meaning that the Kingdom will be entered by men and women who will not be intimidated or stopped by friends, peer pressure or fierce opposition. His true disciples, like the Apostles who were beaten for witnessing of their faith in Christ, rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:40-42).
Thought for Today:
We will find new joy in our Christian lives when we learn to yield our will and do God's will.
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.
10:25 Beelzebub, prince of evil; 10:29 a farthing, a small coin of little value; 10:35 variance, division, disagreement; 11:20 upbraid, rebuke.
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Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:17