Reflective Bible Study.
Focus Passage: Matthew 10:16-42 (GNT)During one of Jesus’ earlier challenges to His disciples, it seems as though He foreshadows His second coming with some of the language He uses. Not only does Jesus say some challenging ideas in this discussion, He also gives hope through looking at the big picture. In this early challenge, Jesus is preparing the disciples to go on what we might call a short term mission trip. The disciples were to travel to the nearby towns telling people about Jesus and helping those in need. But even though the disciples would be helping people, not everyone would approve of their actions. Jesus warns them about what being a disciple will ultimately entail. He says, “People will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, run away to another one. I assure you that you will not finish your work in all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (v. 21-23) Before looking at exactly what Jesus said here, I find it interesting that this is His big challenge and warning for those He called to be His disciples. Matthew chapter 10 begins with Jesus choosing the 12 disciples, and then their first task is to travel to teach others about Him. In His words of caution for these disciples, Jesus seems to extend the warning to include their whole lives of following Him rather than just the immediate trip they were about to take. However, in this warning are some troubling and challenging ideas. Jesus warns that family relations will be strained over a family member’s choice to follow Jesus, and when it is the least culturally accepted thing to do, family members will side with the enemy rather than their own family. “People will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death.” (v. 21) In the past when I read this portion, I always saw the theme of choosing to follow Jesus as being more significant and important than simply following the family social script. This is definitely true, but even more disturbing is the opposite side of the equation that members of one’s family would turn against each other regarding Jesus – and even side with God’s enemies rather than with their own family. Jesus tells us as His followers that “Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved.” (v. 22) Hate for Jesus is at the core of the enemy’s actions. His attack on Jesus’ followers will be one that has hate built into its identity. Hate is irrational. Hate affects every area of one’s life. Hate hurts everyone it comes in contact with – from the person hating to the person being hated and including everyone who is connected with these individuals. But with the warning of hate, Jesus gives hope. He points us to the big picture. When we hold onto His promises, and remain loyal towards Him regardless of all the hate that the enemy sends our way, we will be saved. Eternity is longer than today’s trials, and when looking from eternity’s perspective, a world filled with hate is insignificant when compared with the love that God shows us and the future He has planned for His people. This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today! Read this article on the web on it's official page: Hated by the World: Matthew 10:16-42