Helping Jesus Today: Matthew 10:16-42

Focus Passage: Matthew 10:16-42 (GNT)

16 “Listen! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves. 17 Watch out, for there will be those who will arrest you and take you to court, and they will whip you in the synagogues. 18 For my sake you will be brought to trial before rulers and kings, to tell the Good News to them and to the Gentiles. 19 When they bring you to trial, do not worry about what you are going to say or how you will say it; when the time comes, you will be given what you will say. 20 For the words you will speak will not be yours; they will come from the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “People will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. 22 Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, run away to another one. I assure you that you will not finish your work in all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “No pupil is greater than his teacher; no slave is greater than his master. 25 So a pupil should be satisfied to become like his teacher, and a slave like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul, the members of the family will be called even worse names!

26 “So do not be afraid of people. Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known. 27 What I am telling you in the dark you must repeat in broad daylight, and what you have heard in private you must announce from the housetops. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. 29 For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. 30 As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!

32 “Those who declare publicly that they belong to me, I will do the same for them before my Father in heaven. 33 But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; 36 your worst enemies will be the members of your own family.

37 “Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples; those who love their son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples. 38 Those who do not take up their cross and follow in my steps are not fit to be my disciples. 39 Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.

40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes God’s messenger because he is God’s messenger, will share in his reward. And whoever welcomes a good man because he is good, will share in his reward. 42 You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward.”

Read Matthew 10:16-42 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Jesus concludes His first big commission to His disciples by describing them as His representatives. In an interesting chain of statements, Jesus describes how people can truly help God, and this help comes through how we treat His followers. Jesus concludes this set of instructions by saying, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes God’s messenger because he is God’s messenger, will share in his reward. And whoever welcomes a good man because he is good, will share in his reward. You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward.” (v. 40-42)

In essence, the principle Jesus is sharing with His followers is that God rewards people based on how they treat His followers. This principle is profound, encouraging, and challenging.

The profound truth in Jesus’ words is that how people treat God’s followers is symbolically equivalent to how they treat Him. This is profound because it is a very practical measure for how God views human interaction. Someone who claims to believe God but who does not welcome or help people they know are His followers is rejecting God through their actions.

This is also encouraging for us as believers. If someone rejects us because of our belief in Jesus, this truth teaches us to not take it personally. In reality, the person rejecting us is really rejecting God, and we are free to move on in life. Perhaps it wasn’t the right time for them, or maybe we just planted some seeds that the Holy Spirit will grow later in the person’s life, but regardless of what God’s big picture is, when we face rejection because of our belief in God, we can move on freely because Jesus tells us they are rejecting God and not just us.

However, this principle is incredibly challenging too. The truth Jesus has shared has implications around how we as followers of Jesus treat other followers of Jesus. If we love sinners like Jesus did, but we are hostile towards those who are in the church, we are falling into the negative side of this teaching. While Jesus did share some harsh words aimed at the religious leaders in the first century, He was never hostile towards them. Many of the leaders were hostile towards Jesus, but Jesus didn’t return their anger. If we are to be like Jesus in this matter, we too are challenged to love and be kind towards those who are in the church – whether they believe the same doctrines as we do or not; whether they like the same style of music as we do or not; and whether they are friendly towards us or not.

The big truth in this conclusion to Jesus’ first big set of instructions for His followers is that how we treat others, and how they treat us when we are Jesus’ representatives on earth, is equivalent to interacting directly with Jesus in each and every case. This truth frees us up to not take rejection personally, and it also challenges us to be more kind and loving towards followers of Jesus who may look and act different from us.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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