Tuesday (3/31/20) - Lord God, by your Word fill me with a spirit of discipleship and commitment
Matthew 10:16-33 - “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel. “Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names! “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
Many times, fear and uncertainty can play a big part in my willingness (or unwillingness) to commit to someone. I like to know all of the possibilities – what could happen, what could go wrong, what we are going to do when things don’t go as planned. I want to have confidence in the people in charge, knowing that they are able to do what they say they can do. If I have enough faith in that leader, I am willing to follow them through some real difficult times.
Jesus presents a rather intimidating picture of what it means to be his disciple. There are no promises of an easy life but rather a promise of difficulty and struggle. He warns that a true disciple will be persecuted and betrayed and possibly even murdered. And then he gives us this incredible statement – don’t be afraid! How can we be anything but afraid when we consider the problems that Jesus himself said was possible?
The answer lies in where we place our faith. If I have faith in myself or my family as the “one thing” that will save me, I am going to be disappointed. The same goes for placing my faith in my friends, my career, my investments and my government. While all of these things provide some measure of security and comfort, none of them offer the same level of security as Jesus Christ. He reminds us that we have no reason to be afraid of those terrors that can take away our temporary things because we have a God who loves us more than anything. He has made a promise that he will keep us because we have value to him – value not because of who we are but because of who he is.
Don’t be afraid to follow Christ as a true disciple. He showed us how much he valued us on the cross when he paid for our sins. He showed us how much he loved us when he opened the tomb and rose again, conquering death. And he continues to show his commitment to us every day as he provides for us. While we may walk through valleys filled with shadows and death, we know that he is with us and we know that he is capable of getting us to the other side.