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The Unvarnished Truth Matthew 10:34-39


The Unvarnished Truth

Text. Matthew 10:34-39
One thing that you’ll have noticed about this chapter as we have read it, is that as Jesus speaks to his disciples, he never sugar-coats his words, or plays down the difficulties or promises them that life as a Christian will be easy. He’s not the ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ person some people think him to be. Jesus said: ‘…he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.’ How different! According to Jesus, the Christian Life is a:-

1 Conflict. 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

It’s a battle. Now, we are more used to thinking of Jesus as the Prince of Peace, – Isaiah 9:6. At his birth the angels proclaimed the message, – ‘peace on earth, good will to all men.’ Why then is he talking in such stark terms about the warfare that is the Christian life?

  1. Because God’s peace is a personal peace. It is the peace that is established, when our sins our forgiven and our relationship with God is restored to what it was intended to be. It is the deep inward peace of knowing that whatever happens to us, we are safe in God’s care, and trusting in his will. John 14:27.
  2. Because God’s peace is an expected peace. While we have this spiritual peace in our lives right now, we look forward to the time when there will be peace on earth, in the future kingdom of God, when there will be no more conflict and war.
    Because God’s peace is unknown to the ungodly world. The seat of hatred and wickedness lies at the very heart, the wicked evil heart of men and women, in fact the very men and women who are the so-called peacemakers.
  3. Because we have an enemy of the soul. There is a spiritual foe, the devil, who seeks to wrench us from the hands of our God and bring us back into bondage, and drag us into the hell that has been prepared for him, and for all his followers and messengers.

The Christian life will be a life of warfare, a life of battle. Now, look at how close to home this warfare is. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ Now here is the reality. Becoming a Christian makes you different from other people. The world looks at you and can’t understand why your idea of a night well spent is a bible study, or a prayer meeting, and for the Christian, the people who understand you least of all can be your closest family. What is to be the Christian response to the hostility of the world? One of greatest weapons, defensive and offensive? It is peace! Hebrews 12:14 When the world wars against the Christian, the Christian strives to live at peace with all men.

2 Commitment. 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
The commitment that Jesus demands of us is 100% – it is total. Everything else and everyone else must come AFTER HIM. He gives us three stark examples:-

  • Jesus comes before my own KIN. What, even my family? Even my spouse, my children, my parents? Does that mean I need to love my family less because Jesus MUST COME FIRST? John 6:65  What does it mean when Jesus tell us to put him first, before everything else – even our immediate family?
    • Understand the METHOD Jesus is using to teach us. He’s teaching us as a Jewish rabbi would have taught his disciples, – he’s using hyperbole, driving the point home by finding the most extreme example. Commitment to Christ does not diminish our love for others! When Jesus illustrates this truth for his disciples, he chooses the closest relationships of all. Our commitment to Christ must be so intense that it is like putting your own child into second place. Think of how much you love your own son or daughter – the love you have for Jesus is to exceed that love. You’re not to love them less, you are to love Jesus so much, that your love for them seems less.
    • Understand the MEANING in his teaching. To be worthy of Christ is to be totally committed to him. He doesn’t ask for a half hearted commitment. In fact in Revelation 3, when he speaks to the half-hearted, laodicean church, he tells them that their lack of enthusiasm for for him is sickening. Revelation 3:5-6  Jesus is simply reinforcing what he said in verse 32-33.

See the balance here. Matthew Henry notes:- As we must not be deterred from Christ by the hatred of our relations which he spoke of (Matt. 10:21, 35, 36), so we must not be drawn from him, by their love.

  • Jesus comes before my own COMFORT. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. The disciples knew what a cross was – and it wasn’t a pretty piece of jewellery to be worn around the neck. To take up a cross and walk with it was a sign of shame, of pain of impending death, – exactly what the Saviour Himself would bear, just for us and He tells his that we must walk as he walked, and live as he lived and bear His shame… To take up a cross is to reject the comforts of this world, to count them as nothing in our quest to follow Jesus. Philippians 3:7-9
  • Jesus comes before my own LIFE! 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. The person who finds his satisfaction in ‘things’ – who lives for self advancement, who seeks only the fleeting happiness and excitement of this life, will suffer great eternal loss. It would be better to give up our claim on everything that we have in this life, and to lay up our treasure in heaven. Mark 8:36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

In these short verses Jesus treats us with complete honesty, for it is impossible that the sinless Son of God would mislead us – the Christian path is not a path of wealth or fortune or comfort or worldly pleasure. The Christian life is a life of conflict with the world, in what we are faced with a challenge, to put Christ first, before my relationships, before my well-being and before my very life itself.

From → Bible Study, Matthew

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