In Today's Scripture Reading:
Mission of the 12 apostles; John the Baptist's questions; Jesus pronounces judgment on unrepentant cities; great invitation
When He (Jesus) saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous (plentiful), but the labourers are few; Pray . . . the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers 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 to be indifferent but, during persecution, the sheep discover they must depend on the 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 His Word becomes apparent. Like Satan (4:5-6), they only quote the few verses that support their agenda.
The Christian is given 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 which 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 his Master faced fierce enemies during His earthly life. Jesus said to His followers: If ye were of (belonged to) the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. . . . they will also persecute you (John 15:19-20).
10:25 Beelzebub =b> prince of evil; 10:29 a farthing =b> a small coin of little value; 10:35 variance =b> division, disagreement; 11:20 upbraid =b> to rebuke.
For Matthew 10:11, 35-36: See Micah 7:6. Matthew 11:5: See Isaiah 35:5; 61:1. Matthew 11:10: See Malachi 3:1. Matthew 11:23: See Ezekiel 26:20; 31:14; 32:18,24. Matthew 11:29: See Jeremiah 6:16.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Scott & Theresa Herrick • Staff: Rita Guerra • Government Official: Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) • Country: Lesotho (2 million) within the east-central part of the Republic of South Africa • Major languages: Sesotho and English • Limited religious freedom • 43% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 6% ancestor worship, divination, and spirit-possession cults • Prayer Suggestion: Trust in the Lord; He is your refuge (Psalm 15:1-4).
Memory Verse for the Week: Malachi 3:10