by Mike Raiter

Day 23

Read Matthew 10:16-42

If a missionary society were to have a coat of arms it might have four panels, each with an animal: wolf, sheep, serpent, and dove. These four creatures colourfully portray the character and challenge of the church on mission. Disciples are often weak and vulnerable (sheep) in the midst of a hostile society (wolves), and so they must marry cunning (snake) with guilelessness and innocence (dove).

Jesus is Lord of all and, therefore, supreme over everything and everyone. Acknowledging, serving, and preaching Him must be our first duty

Jesus is sending out His followers to proclaim the gospel. Knowing that they will meet opposition, He wisely prepares them. Forewarned is forearmed. Our mission of taking the gospel to the world has not changed, nor has the opposition of those who oppose the true God. Yet, whatever the context, we are never alone, for God's Spirit is with us, strengthening us and giving us the boldness to speak (v. 20).

This opposition will come from governing authorities and even our closest relatives (vv. 18, 21). Jesus tells us not to be afraid because, firstly, the gospel just has to be preached; we cannot keep silent (vv. 26-27). Secondly, what is the worst a person can do to us? Destroy our body. How much wiser to fear and serve the One who governs our eternal destiny (v. 28). Nothing will ever happen to us unless our sovereign Father permits it. He loves us deeply and will protect and care for us (vv. 29-31).

Jesus is Lord of all and, therefore, supreme over everything and everyone. Acknowledging, serving, and preaching Him must be our first duty. From time to time there may be conflict between the demands that the world, or even our family, places on us, and the call to follow Christ. At that point the choice that each Christian faces is stark and clear. Yet here is the great paradox: those who make these ultimate sacrifices actually win! They find life, both now and forever (vv. 32-38).

Finally, because disciples are serving Jesus, anyone who receives their ministry is receiving the Son and the Father, and will live forever (vv. 39-42). What a privilege to proclaim the kingdom!

You sometimes hear a person described as a ″nominal Christian″. There is no such thing. If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all!

Think through:

Whom do you fear? Do you often meet fearful Christians? Whom does the Bible tell us to fear (v. 28)? How should this impact our other fears?

Think about some situations where you may be tempted to compromise your commitment to Christ. How can remembering Matthew 10 help us face these challenges?




About Author

Mike Raiter is a preacher, preaching trainer and former Principal of the Melbourne School of Theology in Australia. He is now Director of the Centre for Biblical Preaching and the author of a number of books, including Stirrings of the Soul, which won the 2004 Australian Christian Book of the Year award.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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