Something about this passage really struck me while I was preparing for Sunday morning. In verses 21-22, Jesus reiterates the point that the gospel divides. Christians will be hated on account of their love and devotion to Jesus. We will face the same treatment as Jesus did. Yet Jesus takes it one step further. He says that the gospel divides at the most profound levels. Family members will turn against one another because a Christians primary allegiance will shift from family to Jesus.
But here’s the interesting part. Jesus makes it clear that he is the reason for this division and persecution. What was the charge brought against Jesus that led to his death? Blasphemy. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. He claimed to be God. In Deuteronomy 13:6-11, Moses tells the people to stone anyone who tries to lead them away from Yahweh toward another god. So here’s the irony. The Pharisees saw Jesus as a person who was trying to lead Israel away from the one true God. He was put to death for this heresy. Likewise, Jesus’ disciples were persecuted because they followed in his footsteps. They were also seen as idolaters and false teachers. This simply highlights the fact that the religious leaders of time were so consumed with their self glorifying righteousness that they failed to see Jesus for who he truly is. He is God in the flesh. He is Immanuel. And he has come down from heaven to save us. The kingdom of heaven is near. Repent and believe.
Matthew 10:16-25 (ESV)
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.