You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together as we learn how to explore it on our own as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, at Christmas, we talk about Jesus as being the Prince of Peace. Oh, we get those Christmas cards that say, peace on earth, goodwill towards men. Yeah, it's great peace, but today's passage, something's going on.
Well, Jesus said I didn't come and bring peace on the earth, I came to bring a sword. What's that about? What's that about?
And if you're wondering that too, we'll find out today on More Than Ink. Well, hello, this is Jim. And this is Dorothy. And we are sitting across from each other at our dining room table, sitting inside when outside, beautiful spring is sprung everywhere. So finally. Yeah, we're sitting inside wishing we were outside, but not really.
No, we like doing this. So we're reading through Matthew and last time we were together in chapter 10, Jesus called the apostles to send him out into the harvest and just kind of to multiply the number of bodies going out there talking about the kingdom of heaven. And then he sobered them up. He told them it was going to be really hard. It's going to be hard. It's not going to be what they think. Yeah, so their natural reaction would be one of fear.
Well, they're going to encounter opposition, they're going to encounter abuse, they're going to encounter rejection. So all that was in the previous breath. And he said, you know, if they called me Beelzebul, they're going to call you just as bad. Exactly. Exactly. So, you know, I want you guys to go with both your eyes open. So here we go. So today he's actually going to address what is most probably arising in their mind, which is fear about the circumstance. I mean, how do you deal with this? So that's his topic today. He's going to talk to the guys who he's given this call to be sent out. And this is still part of that preparation.
How do you deal with the fear of the inevitable, which is you'll be persecuted. Right. Yeah, so that's where we pick up today in chapter 10, verse 26.
Okay. And he's still remember, he's still preparing these fishermen who are going to go out and spread the gospel and you know, they're, they're equipped to relate to fish, but not to people too well. So this is just a huge calling. So listen to how he addresses their fear because he's going to tell them repeatedly what what not to be afraid of and why not. Exactly. So here we go in verse 26. So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the house tops and do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. And are not two sparrows sold for a penny and not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father, but even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my father who's in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my father who is in heaven.
Okay, so did you hear it? Don't fear them. Don't fear it because they can kill the body and not the soul. Counting the fear. Right. There's three, three general areas that he talks about fearing.
Yeah, yeah, I had to just count them as you were going along. Well, so that's that's really the predominant response you're going to have to his warnings last time. I mean, right.
Because they're like, oh, this is gonna be hard. Yeah, yeah. So so what do you make of the fact in terms of trying to address their fears that you know, nothing is covered that won't be revealed? Oh, you know, I love this.
I thought about this a little bit. And there's two pairs of things. He says nothing's covered that won't be revealed.
And literally those Greek words are kalupto and apakalupto, right? Covered and opened, right? Covered and uncovered.
Right. And then nothing's hidden that won't be known. Well, that hidden is the word krypto, kryptos, meaning like encrypted. Like you can't understand it. You can see the symbols, but you don't get it. But he said, but it will be known. It will be understood. You'll perceive it. So, you know, he's saying that you're going to maybe sound like you don't know what you're talking about or people are not going to understand you.
You know what? It's all going to be made known. God will reveal the truth, right? And what I tell you in the dark, say in the light.
Well, is he talking about secrets? He's talking about inner guidance. Remember, he had told them that the spirit of their father will tell them what to say, not to be afraid in that moment. And that set me thinking way back in Isaiah 30. Isaiah says in verses 20 and 21 of Isaiah 30, he, your teacher, will no longer hide himself, but your eyes will behold your teacher. And your ears will hear a word behind you.
This is the way to walk in it whenever you turn to the right or to the left. So here's Isaiah talking about this internal guidance system that will become a reality for them. I think that's what Jesus is talking about. You know, don't be afraid that what you're saying they don't get. Just speak it because the spirit will open the words to you and open their understanding.
God will sort out the truth. Yeah, and don't we so often when we talk about the gospel, we feel like we're not making any progress. We feel like we have no traction in the people we're talking to.
But, you know, there's more traction than meets the eye. Also, I think as they receive the persecution, one of the natural things we do is we say kind of, why me? Or why is this happening to me?
Why is this going on? And so very much, it seems to be a mystery. I wonder if that's what's covered also when he's saying, you know, what's hidden, what's cryptos, you know, it'll be revealed. I mean, even though you don't know what's going on, I know what's going on and I see it and there's nothing happening. Even if people persecute you and think they're getting away with it, they're not because I see it. Everything's going to be revealed.
Everything's uncovered. That's really important for us because don't we so often ask the question, why? Why, why, why? Why is this so hard? Why is this happening to me?
Why is it not going the way I expect it to go? Yeah, yeah. And Jesus said, you know, God will sort it all out. You just keep following this guidance of the truth. And someday it may be revealed. I mean, you'll understand what's going on. It will be revealed, Jesus said. What's, what's encrypted now will be understood later. Isn't it interesting in the face of persecution, in the face of pushback, our natural inclination is just to kind of shut up. Is this just not saying anything? Because we know the next surge we say, we're just going to make it worse.
Right. You know, and Jesus is saying in 27, no, don't obey that impulse. You just, you need to get it out there that the gospel is a public thing. It's not a secret thing.
You need to take what I'm telling you in the dark, that is what's not, you know, largely seen and, and you need to say it in the light and, and what you hear whispered, man, you got to proclaim from the housetops. Isn't that interesting? Because that's actually what the Old Testament prophets did. Exactly. In the face of rejecting a rejectionable Israel who was actively persecuting them. They kept on proclaiming the truth. Knowing if they said another word, it would just get worse.
Cost them. Yeah, yeah. But Jesus said, no, man, proclaim it from the housetops. Okay. So don't be afraid of them. Right.
Because the truth is going to be proclaimed and eventually understood. And then the next thing he says, don't be afraid of those who kill the body, but can't kill the soul. Yeah. Right. Rather fear the one who can destroy both soul and body, right?
Because this is a message about God, not about your, your personal safety. Yeah. Yeah.
If all they can do basically saying, if all they can do is kill your body, it's nothing compared to killing the soul. Right. Yeah. Right. So that's, that's, yeah. But for us, when we lose our lives, we feel like we've lost everything. We think that's the worst thing.
And he's saying, nope, that's not the worst thing. Yeah, your body's going to, you know what? I got news for you. We're all going to die. Right. Right. Nobody's getting out of here alive.
We all have to go through the grave. Yeah. So, you know, the father sees it and knows it, right? The hairs of your head are all numbered.
Nothing is going to happen to you that God doesn't see. Yeah. So in a very simple sense, what is he saying here?
You know, preach it from the top of the rooftops and don't be all, don't twist yourself up about the consequences from men. Right. Because the consequences from God are much more profound in terms of the soul. And, and that's really what's at stake here as they're going out and talking about the kingdom of God. Right. Is the consequences of the wrath of God on, on a sinful people.
Right. So, so that's what, that's what needs to drive you, is the fact that these people, like Sodom and Gomorrah, I mentioned last time, are going to understand the wrath of God. So they need to fear that. And if, and if you're just having to face the consequences of men taking your life, pshh, no big deal. Because they took Jesus' life too.
Yes, yes. And it was according to the plan of God, it wasn't an accident. Exactly. That's the part about what, what's hidden will be known. You know, I think it was hidden at the cross. People looked at that and said, well, he saved himself.
He can't save himself. Yeah, it's a big deal here. That was kind of a mystery to them. Well, eventually it all became very clear what the whole process was all about. But Jesus had a clear eye on that all the way through. As we said last week, the writer of Hebrews says, for the joy set before him, he endured the cross. He looked right through the cross. Looked through the cross to what it was accomplished, yeah. And then the next, the next step in your natural thinking about this persecution is, this isn't fair.
I'm speaking for the Son of God. You know, they're persecuting me. Don't they know who I am? My worth?
Is my worth being hidden here? And so Jesus moves off into this topic about worth. He says, I see what you're doing.
I see who you are. You know, two sparrows, they're, you know, they're sold for a penny. But not one of them falls to the ground apart from your father. So God sees exactly what you're going through. He understands it even more so than a sparrow because he takes care of the sparrows. He sees you, he knows you, and he loves you.
Yes, and you have worth from him. And even, you know, a sparrow seems insignificant. But what about the hairs on your head?
That's right. Yeah, I mean, a single hair on your head, what's the big deal? We all lose hairs. But he says, you know, every single hair is numbered, which I find fascinating. It is really interesting, isn't it? Yeah, but God knows when they start falling out.
Exactly. So there's really nothing that's being lost in God's sight of what's going on here. Again, something that's hidden being revealed is the fact we know what you're going through.
And let me just say right now, I understand what you're going through, God says. And I understand who you are. And you have much more value to me than a sparrow. And you're not anonymous in a crowd of many because even the hairs on your head are numbered. So how much more do I not notice who you are? So he's really, he's really boosting them up in the midst of what seems like kind of a tidal wave of persecution that which makes you question what you're doing and question your worth and looking at all the injustice of it and thinking this isn't fair, because I'm a nice guy.
I'm a good person. You know, God knows what's going on. He knows what's going on. Well, so what do you make of this section starting verse 32, when he said after saying, don't fear, don't fear, don't fear. So, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father's in heaven, whoever denies me before men, I will also deny before my Father's in heaven. He's making this direct link of their message about Him has everything to do with His representing them before the Father. Yeah, exactly. It's all about Jesus and who He is.
Judgment hinges on Him. Yeah, in other phraseology Jesus uses, He says, it's really all about who you think I am. Exactly.
And if you accept me, you've accepted the one who sent me, He says in John. He's going to say that here, actually. Yeah, exactly. So, it's a real big deal. He ties together, you know, at least from an understanding of a prophet, you deny a prophet's message, you deny the giver of the message. Right.
He's saying this is even much more than that. In fact, this rang a bell, and I was recently in 1 Samuel for another reason, and I went back and here's God saying this to the prophet Eli, and the Lord declares, I'm reading to you from 1 Samuel 2.30, now the Lord declares, far be it from me, for those who honor me, I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. So, this is God speaking. Well, later on, He says to Samuel, when the people reject or the people ask for a king, and God says, you know, don't get in a sweat about that because it's not you they've rejected, it's me. It's me they have rejected.
I am their king, but they have rejected me. Yeah, yeah. So, it's interesting, too, because this will also give them a sense of hope in the face of persecution. I mean, the hope is the sense that if I preach the kingdom of God, if they repent and they come to God, they acknowledge who Jesus is, right, then there's the guarantee that in acknowledging who God is, they will find basically audience in heaven before the Father.
Right. And that's really all they have to do, which is really fascinating. It's all about who Jesus is, and Him being the King, and repent because the kingdom of God is near. So, this is really giving them, in a kind of a side-to-side way, a way of saying, if you could bring people to this point, then they're actually in. They'll be accepted in the kingdom of heaven. But, but if they don't do that, if they deny who I am, well, that's the end. You know, that just set me thinking about one of the places elsewhere I ran across this word kryptos in the New Testament is in Colossians 3, where Paul says, And your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him.
Right. So, it looks like you're hidden now, but you are in Christ, and you are known by God, and one day it will be fully revealed that God knows you. Yeah, the full knowledge of who you are, you're not privy to yet. Right, but God is.
But God is, yeah. And in fact, it reminds me of what the message God had gotten to me when I left work in the electronics industry. He says, You don't really know who you are, but God does. God knows who you are, and that'll be revealed as well. So, it's a little sense of hope, as well as kind of a sobering piece of judgment that's hanging over people's heads. If they deny me, if they deny who I am, I'll deny also them in my Father. Wow, it's powerful.
It's powerful. So, verse 34. Verse 34. Don't think that I've come to bring peace on the earth, right? They're thinking, wait, we thought the kingdom of God was gonna be peace, right? Peace, love, and joy, right? Don't think that I've come to bring peace on the earth, verse 34.
I've not come to bring peace but a sword. For I've come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother, a daughter in law against her mother in law, and a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Wow. This is serious stuff. This is life and death business. This is a big deal, and this is reality. He's not exploding this bigger than what it is.
This is a real deal. However, it does bring up the issue. At Christmas time, we read Isaiah 9-6, and he's called the Prince of Peace. Right, right.
Well, what's going on here? Well, peace with God. Ah, and that's what we have to distinguish, because he says here, I didn't come to bring peace to the earth. Right. But what his mission is, is to bring peace between us and God. Right. Because when we're in sin, we're actually at war with God.
Right. And well, that'll be extinguished by the price that Jesus pays for us, and there will be peace with God. But while you're sending this message around the world, guys, you're going to be opposed, and you're going to find persecution and lots of pushback, and it's going to cause little brushfire wars, even in families, and not even little. I mean, it's going to be big.
It's going to be really big. So even before he said, you know, don't be surprised if people in their family, you know, turn you in and persecute you, and they're going to kill each other. Yeah, very families will divide over Jesus. This is the idea of a sword, a sharp division. Yes. Being able to slice between two things. Right. Hebrews uses that image of a two-edged sword, being the word of God.
It cuts going and coming. Yeah. Slices to divide and expose the truth. Yeah. So could you actually say that in Jesus' purpose of spreading the news about the Kingdom of God, that he actually comes to bring division, rather than unity?
Well, yes, because it really is very binary. Yes. You either receive Jesus, the only one whom God has sent to provide the only way, truth, and life. Yeah. Or you reject the only remedy that God has provided. Yeah.
There's only two choices. No man can come to the Father except through me. So many times, in a secular sense, people look at Jesus and say, you know, he taught really good stuff, and he was all about peace and stuff like that. But he actually said, no, I came to kind of separate people based on who you think I am. Terrifyingly divisive things. And people will war with each other over who I am. Over who he is. Over who I am.
And that's on purpose. And it's not because Jesus loves that kind of contentious behavior. It's just that the issue of who he is is paramount to everything for your long-term destiny. It is central. It's central.
It's absolutely central. So much so that a person's enemies will be those in his own household. Parents and children and sisters and brothers, you know, that's just, it's going to tear apart families. Some of you who are listening to this have had this, this is in your personal experience, that when you came to Christ and chose him and laid aside your old system of belief, it cost you, your family. Cost you, perhaps, your job.
Cost you maybe your neighborhood or your neighbor relationships. Yeah. Yeah, where we live in specific, we see this happen in the flesh all the time. Yeah, people who make a profession for Christ, which is very much against the mainstream culture here, and suddenly you're pushed out of your family. I mean, they become your enemies. I mean, and they think you have become their enemy. I mean, it's really bad.
You see this also in the Jewish community, more so, I think, in the Orthodox Jewish community. But they'll use a phrase, they'll say, in understanding that you have chosen another way, they'll say, you're dead to me. Yeah, you're dead. You're just dead. There's no more connection. We'll act as though you never existed and don't even exist right now.
We just heard this from someone we were in conversation with earlier, just today. I don't wanna lose my family. That's right.
Yeah, I don't wanna lose my family. But Jesus is gonna call people to make a choice based on who he is, and that's deliberate on his part. And he did everything possible in these three years of public ministry to lay that out there and say, this is who I am. And in fact, next time when we get together, John the Baptist comes back on the scene, and he basically says, so are you the guy? We're gonna come back to saying, you've done enough. And Jesus will say, we'll evaluate what I've done.
Yeah, because the issue is life and death. There is only one way into life, and it is the way that God himself has provided. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. But isn't it interesting, in 37, he says, if you wanna kinda deal with the fact that your family is starting to alienate you, your thinking is, well, maybe I should tone it down a little bit.
Maybe I don't need to be quite as bold about who Jesus is, because look what it's doing to my family. And in 37, he says, oh, no, wait, 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. So in reality, he's saying, there will be division in your family, and don't soft pedal the gospel because of that.
You need to love me first. And he's not saying don't love your family. That's right, that's right. But there is a love that is greater.
Yeah. And I also put this in the category of, if in the home front, you're trying to keep the peace by not speaking about who Jesus is, don't do that. Ultimately, that will backfire. Yeah, and if their eternal destiny is at stake because you just wanna keep the peace at home now, that's not loving toward the people in your house. You really need to put who Jesus is on the front shelf.
You need to show who he is. So then he says, whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Well, Jesus has not been crucified at this point, but they all know and they have seen many times what the cross is like. And when someone is given a cross to carry to their own execution, they know it's a one way trip to death.
That's the way it goes. And so he says, all of this persecution, all these family problems you're gonna have, you need to just take that cross and just keep following to your death because that's exactly what's gonna happen. And it's gonna happen to Jesus in reality, yeah. And then I love how he says it, so whoever finds his life will lose it. And whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. So in a real sense, you need to in this world and even the context of your family, you need to lose your life.
That is, they may persecute you even to the point of death. You need to pick that up because don't worry about that because I have life planned for you anyway. Well, because the life in Jesus transcends the grave, blows right through death.
That's the whole point of the resurrection. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And we just talked about that. Don't fear that people can just kill your body. That's just not the deal. Well, let's finish up these last verses here.
We're almost out of time. Verse 40, whoever receives you receives me. And whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he's a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. And the one who receives a righteous person because he's a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he's a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
Okay, so two things strike me here. One is Jesus is making this inseparable link between himself and the one who sent him and the ones he is sending. That's a receive me, receive the one who sent me.
And I'm sending you and if they receive you, they've received me. You cannot tease that apart. And then he starts talking about rewards. Well, there's a lot of talk in the New Testament about rewards. What is a reward? It's the fruit resulting from your labor.
It's what is due you because of what you've done. Right. Right? And he had just talked a whole lot about rewards back in the Sermon on the Mount in chapters five and six of Matthew. Right?
It's not that we work to receive our salvation, but there is, God is just and he does reward those who seek him. Yeah. Well, and I look at it a slightly different way, too.
I think that's correct. But there's also the idea that when the prophet comes, he's coming to warn, especially in the Old Testament and here as well, the warning is repent the kingdom of God. Right. His judgment is at hand and the king is going to wield ultimate power and justice. And you're going to get what you've worked for.
Right, and you're not going to miss this. So the deal is if a prophet comes to you and warns you about this and you respond in the positive and go, okay, I'm with the program, I'm in, what are rewards that I'm going to reward that is? Because you accepted the word of the prophet. Both for you and for the prophet.
And the prophet, yeah. So really, those words are meant to bring life to you, not death. And so you need to, you know, the degree to which you accept that message, you accept the reward of that prophet. He's bringing you life after all.
So accept it and find that life. That's the reward. Well, and Hebrews 11 says, 11 and six, without faith, it's impossible to please God. The one who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. In other words, those who seek God and believe him will receive what is due them because of that. God responds to our faith in him.
Yeah, yeah. And I love the closing line here about giving a cup of cold water because he's a disciple. He's getting at the point that we will see others who are being persecuted, disciples who are being persecuted, and in tough situations, and in compassion, if you identify with them and you give them a cup of cold water, you know, you're doing a great thing for them as well as identifying. Because again, our natural fleshly tendency is just to kind of keep some distance because we don't want to be caught up in that stuff.
We don't want to be with them. Yeah, but what if you're the person who steps out of the crowd with a cup of cold water for that person who's being persecuted and say, you know, I'm with you. I'm with you. I'm with you, the disciple. It's all about identifying with Jesus, being connected with him.
Yeah, yeah. Who is Jesus? Is he indeed the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? Is he bringing ultimate justice when he comes a second time?
Yes, he is. And what about those people who deny who he is? You know, they're not going to accept the word of the prophets or just even the word of us. What a horrible place they're going to be in when he comes and proves who he is. And at that point, then it'll be too late to be on his side in that sense.
You've already rejected him. So the prophet's reward to us is just accepting those words. And that's all he sent the apostles out to do here, is to preach, you know, qualify who they are by their message. Well, the message, I'm thinking the miracles. Oh, by the works that go with the miracles.
Yeah, it qualifies that. But the point of those miracles isn't to make them superstars. It's to give them some standing so they can say, but here is my message.
Listen to this. And their reward will be, if you believe, the harvest. Right. Jesus had sent them out, Lord of the harvest. Yeah, and that's the harvest. It's all about who's Jesus. And that's why we have that on the back of our t-shirts at church. It's all about Jesus and who he is. And it's really nothing else. And that was his message to Nicodemus as well.
He must believe. Well, we are totally out of time. And we're going to come back in to chapter 11. And as I mentioned before, we're going to look at John the Baptist, who we haven't seen for some time since the beginning of Jesus' ministry.
Now he shows back up on the radar again while he's in prison. It's an interesting thing. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we'll see you next week here on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, morethanink.org. And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember, the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself, and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Okay. I got nothing. Don't ask me anything about that. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City.
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