Matthew 10:16 – 33
April 8th, 2018
My overall goal for this article is twofold. First, it’s to help you better understand the scripture text we are using so that you understand you are called to discipleship and secondly, to assist you in discovering how this passage in Matthew 10 gives a practical look at what discipleship looks like for you today. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can leave this place knowing, understanding and owning our call to being disciples of Jesus Christ.
I will be talking about Matthew 10, but before I get into the text I would like to give some background to give us context as to what Jesus is saying. Not to long before this Jesus finished preaching his Sermon on the Mount and then He went out and ministered to the people. He ministers by serving the people, he cleanses a leper, heals a paralytic, restores sight to a blind man, heals a woman with a bleeding disorder, heals Peter’s mother-in-law, calms the storm, casts out demons and evil spirits, and brings a young girl back to life. He spent a great deal of his time teaching, healing and ministering to those around him. It is during this time Jesus models discipleship to His followers.
Chapter 9 concludes with Jesus’ famous call to discipleship where he says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” He is saying, there is plenty to do and there are not enough workers to accomplish the task, so pray the Lord would send you to the harvest.
At the beginning of chapter 10 Jesus calls his disciples and gives them authority to go out to the lost sheep of Israel (their own people) and proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand. As they proclaim the Kingdom they are also called to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. Jesus commissions them to go out and do what He did. Jesus does what all good leaders do…He models discipleship (shows them) and then commissions them to go out and do as he does. This is called “The Law of Replication”. One of the more frequent questions I am asked about either becoming or developing disciples is “What are some good programs or models for discipleship?” I could easily point them to the thousands of resources available online, in churches and in bookstores, but instead I point them to Jesus and His Word. Jesus showed us how to be disciples and I believe firmly that discipleship is caught and not taught. This simply means the best way to learn how to be a disciple is to be around other disciples who are following their calling as disciples of Jesus.
Read Matthew 10:16 – 25
Proclaiming, healing and casting out demons sounds like a big deal. This commissioning would certainly bring a lot of attention to the cause of Jesus Christ and His disciples, right? I mean why wouldn’t people come in droves to see this new phenomenon? But Jesus sets the record straight by saying this is not going to be easy; I am actually sending you out as sheep among wolves! You are going to face opposition, you are going to face intense persecution and in fact those who you love, and trust are going to oppose you because of the truth you represent. And people won’t hate and persecute you because they don’t like you, they will do this because they hate me. However, He gives them assurance and a promise, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” He then gives the disciples permission to leave and go to the next town. Jesus informs the disciples that this persecution is inevitable because a student is not above his teacher… Basically He is saying, “If I am persecuted for what I say and do, then so will you.”
Read Matthew 10:26 – 33
Now that Jesus spends a good deal of time telling his disciples about the cost of discipleship, he encourages them to not fear the opposition because they oppose the truth. He implores them to not fear those who can kill the body and cannot kill the soul, but to instead fear him who can destroy both body and soul… or more practically for us today this can mean do not fear those who try to control and intimidate, but fear God, because His kingdom, His righteousness, and His truth is what matters most. This fear is considered a reverential awe. This means that we know our place before a holy God. This kind of fear we should have for God reminds me of a conversation in the book “THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis where the young Susan is talking to Mr. Beaver and he says, “Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr. Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.” This is a perfect picture of God, He holds the power of death and life, so this does not make him safe, but He is also a loving God who cares deeply for His people. God cares about the sparrows, so He certainly cares about you. So, don’t worry and don’t fear.”
Now, Jesus gives the disciples the charge to be bold about their faith. There will be opposition and persecution. There will be betrayal and intimidation. You may lose what is important and precious in your life for my sake. But don’t let that stop you… Be bold because if you acknowledge Jesus before men, then He will acknowledge you as one of His own. But if you deny Him before man, then He will deny you before the Father.I am going to stop here but reference a few points in the next passage (34- 39) but I want to encourage you to continue reading this chapter because Jesus says, “Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” He continues, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Powerful, powerful words. So, what do they mean for you today?
We have looked very quickly at this passage and in doing so I hope I accomplished my first goal of helping you understand the scripture passage and that you all know that you are all called disciples of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is not something reserved for the ultra-spiritual, it is a call for everyone. Now for my second goal… To help you discover what discipleship looks like for you today. I would like to bring to your attention in your bulletin to the…
Five Truths to Living as a Disciple of Christ
- You are sent out to proclaim to truth. (Matthew 10:5) Jesus calls out his disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel. Jesus has called you and me to go out into the world and proclaim His truth (Matthew 28:18)
- You have authority in Christ (Matthew 10:1) Jesus gives authority to heal, proclaim and cast out demons to his disciples. Jesus has given us authority to go out in the power of His Spirit. We can pray for healing, we can boldly proclaim His Gospel and we can expose and cast out evil in our midst.
- You will face opposition/persecution (Matthew 10:16-23) Jesus was crystal clear on this point. There is no getting around it. There is a cost to discipleship. You will face opposition, persecution and you may lose things. You need to decide, is following Jesus worth it to you?
- You must be bold (Matthew 10:32) You and I have great news that we are commissioned to share. The news that Jesus is alive, and His Kingdom is at hand. He is a good King and His Kingdom is like no other earthly kingdom. We must proclaim this good news unashamedly and since we will face opposition we need to have boldness.
- You must be selfless (Matthew 10:9, 38 – 39) The call of discipleship is a call to the Kingdom of God and not a call to the Kingdom of me. Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. When Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow him, this is a call to selfless living. It is the call to saying to our King, “I want to serve you. I want to live for you. I have desires, dreams and hopes for my life and I know you are a King who wants me to have good things, but I also know that I want YOU most of all.”
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
(Read Matthew 4:1 – 10)
Jesus was tempted by the devil (the accuser) in the wilderness and Jesus responded and rebuked his temptations with Scripture. How do you resist temptation when they come your way? Do you have a Bible reading plan?
(Read Matthew 4:12 – 17)
After Jesus resisted the devil and the angels ministered to Him, He began his ministry by proclaiming the Kingdom of God was at hand and repentance. What conclusion(s) do you come when you read about repentance and the Kingdom of God? Are the two mutually inclusive?
(Read Matthew 4:18 – 22)
What do you notice about Peter, Andrew, James and John’s responses to Jesus call to discipleship? Do you think there is a cost to discipleship?
(Read Matthew 4:23 – 25)
One of the rules of about leadership is that it is caught and not taught (You learn by observing and then doing). The same rule applies for discipleship. How does Jesus display the act of discipleship to His disciples?
(Read Matthew 10:16 - 25)
Jesus is sending his disciples out to the “lost sheep” of Israel, and he warns them about the opposition they will face. He also says, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.” What warning signal goes off in your head when you hear this?