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Bible Pathways - October 4, 2005

October 4


Read Matthew 10

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 saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, 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). Christian persecution, often in the form of pressure to compromise, tests the sincerity of our beliefs. Times of peace often cause the sheep to be indifferent but during persecution the sheep realize they must depend on the Good Shepherd.

If we follow our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have a "sheep-like" nature, which symbolizes innocence, gentleness, and dependence. If one sheep wanders, the entire flock may aimlessly follow. There is never safety in numbers for sheep; a shepherd is always necessary to oversee them. 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 as our Good Shepherd, Christians can boldly face 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). Christians have no reason to expect kindness from a hostile world. Jesus said to His followers: If ye were of 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).

Word Studies:

10:25 Beelzebub = prince of evil; 10:29 a farthing = a small coin of little value; 10:35 variance = division, disagreement; 11:20 upbraid = to rebuke.

Cross References:

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.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mrs. Ruth Day, Mrs. Len Smith, and in honor of Charles & Bernita Preston · Staff: Diana Hash · Government Official: Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) · Country: Rwanda (8 million) in central Africa · Major languages: Kinyarwanda and French · Religious freedom · 40% Roman Catholic; 21% Protestant; 14% belief in false gods, ancestor worship, and spirit-possession cults; 9% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Kneel in a humble spirit of reverence as you pray to the Lord (I Kings 8:54).

Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 2:1

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