Friday, October 29, 2010

You Will be Hated by All for my Name's Sake

“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22)

The other day I was reading Matthew 10 in my normal reading schedule. I know I’ve read this passage many times in my life but something really stuck with me the other day as I read the words of Jesus to his disciples. As a matter of fact I had to go back over the text to see if I was reading things correctly. Jesus tells his disciples, “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

If you are not familiar with the text this is where Jesus calls his twelve disciples together to instruct them of the mission ahead. Jesus has called out these specific men to be his disciples and follow him no matter the cost. Their callings are pretty amazing. These men were working normal jobs like you and I when Jesus comes by and says “Follow me.” Then we see these men completely drop everything at that moment to follow Jesus. As they go about following Jesus, being taught and seeing miracles, they had to be excited and humbled that this man would want them to follow him and learn from him. We too, as Christians, ought to be humbled and excited about God’s calling of us. But I think so many just want the fire insurance without walking through the furnace.

Jesus is clear about the cost of following him. Remember he said to deny self, pick up our cross and follow him. This doesn’t give us the idea of a picture perfect path of green pastures and beautiful flowers. But we can understand, from the Scriptures, that Christ is calling us to lose our lives here so that we may gain eternal life with him. We are losing for the sake of gaining. We know this is true because we know Christ’s death and resurrection where he defeated sin and death for good. Now go back to Matthew 10 and put yourself in the shoes of the disciples. Jesus hasn’t died or resurrected at this point yet Jesus has called these men to drop everything and follow him. Now he clearly commands them to go proclaim, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 10:7). And what is the reward? Persecution.

Jesus goes on to tell them, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles” (Matt. 10:16-18). Alright guys it is time to go proclaim the kingdom of God but let me tell you what is going to happen: dragging and flogging. Also, “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” How could this be? Why would they stick around for the punishment? Faith. We can clearly see these men had a divine perspective. They were already looking for the eternal reward without knowing how it would come about. They trusted in Christ. Christ was their master. This is why Jesus encourages them with his words that follow: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matt. 10:24-25).

Christian, how much have you been maligned for the sake of your master? By God’s grace we may never experience being dragged across the ground to be flogged. We may never even experience someone hating us over the message of Christ crucified. But we have to examine our hearts to see if that is because we have been blessed to be protected by God’s grace or because we haven’t said a word about Christ to a dying world. Sadly too often for me it is the latter part of that statement.

Grace upon grace,

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