Read Matthew 10 - 11
In Today's Reading:
Mission of the 12 apostles; John the Baptist's questions; Jesus pronounces judgment on unrepentant cities; the great invitation
When Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then said He to His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous (plentiful), but the laborers are few; Pray . . . the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest (Matthew 9:36-38). In answer to this need, Jesus chose just 12 ordinary men whom He taught, saying: I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be . . . wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (10:16-17). Christian persecution, often in the form of pressure to compromise, tests our sincerity. Times of peace often cause the sheep (believers) to be indifferent but during persecution the sheep (believers) discover they must depend on the Good Shepherd. Wolves are the natural enemy of sheep. Although wolves (false prophets) in human form sometimes appear to be sheep (7:15), their indifference to the Word of God becomes apparent. Like Satan (4:5-6), they only quote the few verses that support their agenda.
If we follow our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have a "sheep-like" nature, symbolic of innocence and dependence, not of cowardice. Sheep, by their very nature, are in need of a shepherd or they will wander off and easily become prey to many enemies. Still worse, if one wanders, the entire flock may aimlessly follow. There is never safety in numbers for sheep; a shepherd is always necessary. All we like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) and need the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14) to guide us each day.
With Christ, the Christian can stand boldly in the face of the fiercest enemy. He assures us: Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). The Christian has no reason to expect kindness from a hostile world when our Master faced fierce enemies during His earthly life. Jesus said to His followers: If you were of (belonged to) the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. . . . they will also persecute you (John 15:19-20).
10:25 Beelzebub is the fly god idol of the Philistines, meaning dung god or filth god, since the fly finds its food in refuse; 10:29 a farthing is a very small coin; 10:35 variance = a state of disagreement; 11:20 upbraid = to rebuke, denounce, condemn.
For Matthew 10:11, 35-36: See Mic. 7:6. Matt. 11:5: See Isa. 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 The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Henry Rogers · BP Staff: Rita Guerra · Government Official: Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) · Country: St. Kitts-Nevis (42,000) in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies · Major language: English · Religious freedom · 74% Protestant; 7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Believe that what God promises, He will bring to pass (Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3).
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 1:18