Taking Up Your Cross (Article) Matthew 10:34–39
10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34–39, ESV)
Whom was Jesus talking to?
- He was talking to his disciples (10:2).
Who were they?
- They are a small band of men. They are fishermen, a tax collector, political activists. They were young.
What was he saying, and what had he already said?
- They were to go to their people, the Lost Sheep of Israel (10:6).
What were they to say?
- They were to proclaim the coming kingdom of God (10:7).
What are they to do?
- Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons (10:8).
What would happen?
- Some would receive them or not (10:13–14).
- Some will deliver you to the courts (10:17).
- Some will flog you in the synagogues (10:17).
- Some will drag you before the leadership of the land (10:18).
- Brothers, Fathers, Children will deliver God’s people over to death (10:21).
- You will be hated (10:22).
- You will be persecuted (10:23).
- You will be maligned and misrepresented and misunderstood (10:24).
Jesus says that he will bring ultimate justice and reward at the end of all things.
That is the context of the passage. We often see Jesus as a cool guy who could say the perfect thing; he loves the children and fixes all the wrongs. Yet, in these few words, he tests the allegiance of his disciples. Whom do they love most? Do they love their family, whom he said would betray them to death? Do they love their friends? Do they love even their lives more than Jesus? Jesus said they would soon be sent off to raise people from the dead. They will see the power of God at work. Would they remember it when they were being dragged out, humiliated, and threatened with death?
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What is most important to you today? Does it align with God? Are you willing to follow Jesus to the point of death to your dreams, desires, and delights?
How did the disciples move forward?
- They had each other. They went forward in the community.
- They also had Jesus’s Words. He gave them comfort in his promises. Do not be afraid
- They also had his power. The Holy Spirit empowered them to do the work of the ministry.
Today, we can move forward as a church family. We are part of something bigger than ourselves. We are together. We need each other. Maybe you don’t feel like you need the church, but the church needs you. You are an encouragement.
Today, we can move forward with Jesus’s promises. He is our life. He is our hope. He is our love.
Today, we can move forward with Jesus’s power. The Holy Spirit has given us the ability to do God’s work here and now. We have the fruit of the Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, and the presence of the Spirit to be God’s witnesses.