Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Succeeding Troubles: Matthew 10

In Summary:

In Matthew 10, Jesus calls and sends out the Twelve Disciples. Take note that the various Gospels record the individual calling of most of these men, but there is a separate time where Jesus appoints them as “The Twelve.” Matthew records that they are given authority over unclean spirits and power to heal, then sent out. Nowhere do we find Jesus expressing delight that these twelve have followed Him or stating that their call was a result of their awesomeness.

God’s call is His own to issue, and His to give in grace. Being called as an apostle was nothing to brag about because it was unmerited. The same is true of all believers and the life God has called each of us into: we are here by His grace. Any awesomeness we have is a gift of His, not our own.

The calling passage includes a list of the Twelve. Peter is first, Judas is last, and Matthew is included. His personal call was in Matthew 9, but here he is placed in the Twelve.

Jesus gives the Twelve instructions for their mission, including what to do, what to take, and what not to do and what NOT to take. The Twelve are to rely on those they minister among for their needs—but they are not to seek wealth in the process. They are to seek provision and trust God for the later needs.

The rest of the chapter addresses what the disciples, both the Twelve and the larger group, can expect.

In Focus:

Taking a look at Matthew 10:24 as our main verse, we see that Jesus highlights that He will suffer. And, since He will suffer, his successors should also expect trouble. After all, they are not going to be greater than He is. They will face the same opposition—and the more they are like Jesus, the more certain they can be of the persecution coming their way.

This includes warnings of the destruction of family relationships (10:21), homeless wandering (10:23), and worse (10:28). This last verse, though, is not only a warning but a hope. Yes, opposition to the Gospel can kill the body.

Only One, though, has power over the soul. And He watches over even the hair on your head.

In Practice:

What do we do, then, in light of this?

First and foremost, we strive to be like Jesus. We cannot be jerks or idiots and blame it off on the world’s hatred of Jesus. If you are slack in your work, they did not fire you for your beliefs. They fired you for being a slacker. So do the fullest of what you can do, because all that we do ought to glorify God.

Second, we expect trouble. Troubles from this world should be the normal experience of the Believer in Jesus. If your faith is always easy, you are isolated from reality. There are people who need you, both in the body of Christ and outside of it. But once you interact with them, you will see the trouble, and it will affect you.

Third, we stand firm. Matthew 10:38 is the clearest passage you will find on this. The call to follow Jesus is the call to publicly identify with His death. Not with His miracles, but His death. That’s not the call for some mythical set of “super-Christians” but for all who follow Him.

It is our job to walk the streets condemned for our Savior, publicly declaring who He is. Let it be obvious who we are, what we believe, and most importantly: Who we serve.

Christ is Lord!

In Nerdiness:

The Apostle lists are found Luke 6:14-16, Mark 3:16-19, and Acts 1:13. John names Apostles throughout, but has no definite list of the Twelve. There are differences in these lists, in both content and order. Some aspects are easy to explain: Simon the Cananaean and Simon the Zealot are easily the same person. Others are tougher, but many people had multiple names in that era (not to mention Jesus’ own habit of renaming people, e.g. Simon/Peter; Abram/Abraham,) so the idea that Bartholomew and Nathanael of Cana are the same person is not impossible. Still, these differences should be noted and not ignored. If we believe that God inspired Scripture down to the details, then the details matter.

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