MORE TO LIFE
Gracious Lord, teach me to walk with you, to wait upon you, and to worship you. I bless your name today.
Read MATTHEW 10:24–33
24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
- Matthew 10:29 Or will; or knowledge
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.’1 What do you think Paul means by this?
In today’s passage, Jesus warns his disciples not to be afraid of people. This is not because he believes God will protect them from all harm. Indeed, he warns them that following him will lead them into dangerous situations: just as people treated Jesus badly, even calling him Satan (Beelzebul, v 25), so they will treat his followers.
How can Jesus expect his disciples not to be afraid after dropping such a bombshell! His focus seems to be on the disciples’ actions, not their emotions: it is not the feeling of fear that mainly concerns him here, but rather that this emotion will hold them back from wholeheartedly following him. To help prevent this, he reminds them that this life and its sufferings are not all there is, warning them not to lose sight of the reality of eternal rewards and judgment. He also reassures them that even though there is suffering involved in following, this does not mean we are of little value to God. The Lord watches over the life of each tiny sparrow, so how much more does he care about everything we are going through? Our lives are ultimately in his hands and we can trust in his care and provision to help us through anything.
This is still tough teaching, though. It is easier to focus on the joys of discipleship than its costs. What happens after death is often not at the forefront of our minds, yet this passage suggests that it should motivate us in the here and now. Recognizing that this life is not all there is helps us to make the sacrifices involved in following Christ and to choose the narrow, more difficult road, knowing that our efforts will ultimately be rewarded. How does believing in life after death affect you?
Does fear hold you back from serving God wholeheartedly? Pray for help to overcome those fears and for a fresh sense of God’s love and the joy of heaven.
Lord, there are many aspects of my life that I need to work on. Grant me discernment and wisdom as I seek to be the person you
want me to be.
1 1 Cor 15:19, NRSV
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