The Weekend Word
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
- When I read this, I want my “warm fuzzy” Jesus – my buddy Jesus – my life coach Jesus.
- But in the end, only the cross builds the kingdom.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
- The cross trumps blood.
- The fuzzy Jesus is only good to build your own kingdom. Listen how many preachers will preach only a warm fuzzy Jesus and have the worship team sing only ‘Jesus is my girlfriend type songs.
- Only the cross builds the Jesus kingdom
36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
- You cannot allow your family to stand in the way of you becoming a disciple of Christ.
- It’s easy here in America. If you come from a non Christian family, they may look at you funny as if you are going through a new fad.
- But in some countries you have to face shunning or death.
- On the other side, we must remember that we are called to suffer, and this is huge … but we are not called to make others suffer.
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
- Are you worthy? What does worthy mean?
- Does worthy depend on you or Jesus?
38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
- Not one of us is worthy.
- This is the whole point of Christianity – we are not worthy, we cannot make ourselves worthy
- Jesus had to die for us.
- What does it mean to “take up your cross”? I think it is used as a big ‘throw everything in it’ statement.
39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
- If you live for you – and all that that may entail – you will lose your eternal reward.
- If you give up all for Jesus, you will have life.
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.
- Sounds simple – I just don’t know if we see it this clearly.
41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.
- Now this is where it gets a little tricky.
- Is this incentive to do good / right? Do right and get rewards?
- Is this a quid pro quo relationship?
- Do my good works earn me rewards?
- What were the role / purpose of a prophet? – to proclaim the good news
- What is the good news? To proclaim the “good rewards” procured for us in Jesus.
42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
- This is kind of like the description of the Sheep in Matt 25 – they just do and receive.
- What is the difference between a prophet’s reward and a righteous person’s reward?
- V. 42 = a disciples reward
- V. 40 the reward is me.
How do you receive Jesus? By how you treat others – again Matt 25.
Messengers from John the Baptist
1 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.
- Jesus instructs and then moves about. More like verbal instruction then life instruction.
- The question is – did the disciples go out as they were instructed?
- In which cities? The ones they came from or the ones they had visited?
2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples
- I don’t think Herod gave day passes or work furloughs.
- Matthew jumps ahead to ch 14 – but he must assume the hearers know the timing of events.
3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
- This is such an interesting passage – and can be taken 2 ways.
- Way #1
- John is in prison at this time – and he may have been reflecting back to what he preached and who he was thinking the Messiah would be – to free the oppressed – but hey, look, John is now in prison, he is the oppressed.
- “I am risking my neck for you? Am I wasting my time??
- Are you the one?
- John is in a long list of those who are blinded by how they would run things.
- It can’t be this way because if I ran this – well, it would be much different
- “I have been watching and this does not match my expectations – let me explain this to you Jesus!”
- Way #2
- John is asking for the benefit of his followers to prepare them for his upcoming death.
- Luther and the Early Fathers make the case that this is not a crisis of faith.
- A teacher does not always ask a question because he does not know the answer or to get an answer.
- But to put the thought in a person’s mind and heart, so that they will come to the answer that the teacher already knows.
- An inductive style of instruction – a question, a follow up question and then the light goes on.
- John has been filled with the spirit since he was in his mother’s womb.