What was Christ saying in Matthew 10?
Jesus was preparing his disciples for the road ahead. He told them they are the ones who will bring the gospel to all of Israel, the power of God would fall and the Kingdom would be established (v.5-6). He let them know they were going to do the same things that he had been doing (v. 7-8). He warned them not to get caught up in the cares and possessions of this life (v.9-10). He let them know to go forth with peace and love and not worry if they were rejected (v.11-15). He cautioned them that they were not going to be completely accepted and fought even by those who were close to them (v. 16-23). However, he promised the power of God would be with them to guide and protect them (v. 24-31). He revealed the purpose of God and how it needed to become their purpose (v.32-35). Christ told them what it truly took to follow him, culminating with our scripture focus (v.36-39). Finally, he closes it out with the promise of blessing to the people who would receive what they offered (v.40-42).
Let's look at this again. Jesus inspires his followers by telling them they will do something that brings the power of God down. This new purpose and power will impact their immediate world and they will do the things that Christ himself has done. How powerful, to be inspired while also being told specifically what you'll be able to do! Christ then works to focus them in the right direction by taking the focus off of the cares of this life and focusing them on the eternal. He also forewarns them that this new path will not be an easy road and they will face rejection and persecution; but that is okay because God will be there with them to guide them through it all. He gives them the purpose behind what they are doing and what must be done to truly fulfill this purpose. Finally, he ends it by promising them that their task will not be in vain. People will buy into the message they bring, lives will be changed and God's Kingdom will be established.
Becoming a Laborer
In the midst of this motivational mission briefing, Christ tells them if someone loses his life for the sake of Christ, he'll find it. This concept fits perfectly into his message. Christ's message in chapter 10 is all about changing our perspective in life, and doesn't a change in perspective mean losing something old to gain something new? Remember some of the last words Christ says in the previous chapter:
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Clearly, chapter 10 is detailing what it means to become a laborer and it's a message for all of us to hear and heed. We must be willing to give up our lives to follow Christ. We must take up our cross daily (v. 38). We must take up the sword of truth and put Christ above all other relationships (v.34-37). We must be willing to confess Christ even though it means we are persecuted or ostracized from society for it (v.32). We know God is looking out for us and that he wishes to take care of us, but His value goes beyond the temporal to the spiritual (v28-31). He will empower us to spread His good news to all the earth, starting with those we are most able to affect now (v.26-27). We just have to be willing to give up our lives to follow after him (v.39). When we abandon the cares of the temporal and focus on the Kingdom of God - a spiritual kingdom - we truly lose our lives for His sake. In that sacrificial action, we find a new life in the spiritual and discover our true purpose. It goes beyond seeing to now believing and living, and that's the best place to be.
Fulfilling the Promise God Has For Us
One final thought on this subject: When we get to chapter 11, John inquires of Jesus to know if he is the chosen one. Here is Jesus' reply:
Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Doesn't that sound like what Christ was telling his disciples to do in chapter 10? It wasn't just that Christ was doing these things. By Chapter 11, his followers were doing it as well and they would continue to do so after he ascended into heaven in Acts 1. We can do it too because we are in the same position as those followers in Matthew 10. We are hungry individuals hoping to be used by God. The question we must ask ourselves is will we follow the plan Christ has laid out for us? If we do, we'll lose our lives in one sense-our earthly and temporal goals-but we'll gain a whole new existence in the other-our true spiritual purpose in God.
So now we see one angle of what it means to LYL. What are your thoughts on this passage of scriptures? Do you think we conveyed what Christ was saying to his disciples and to us or is there more to the passage in your eyes? Tell us in the comments.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.