by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas Valiyaparambil
Next Sunday is the second Sunday after Pentecost. Gospel reading is from Mathew 10:32-39. In the gospel, Jesus tells us what he expects of his disciples.
Gospel Reading: (Mathew 10:32-39)
32 Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my
Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before
my Father in heaven. 34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the
earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn: a
man against his father, a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. 37 Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
The meaning of "disciple" is, "one who accepts and follows a teacher or a doctrine." A disciple of Jesus is a person who follows Jesus and his teachings. Thus every Christian is a disciple.
In Acts 11:26, we read the disciples were first called "Christians" in Antioch. There shouldn't be any distinction between a disciple and a Christian. Every Christian is a follower of Jesus. We are all disciples of Jesus.
What does Jesus expect from his disciples? This is the subject matter for this Sunday's gospel reading.
It is clear from the reading that Jesus expects complete commitment. The gospel projects three components of commitment. They are:
1. Acknowledge Jesus before others: "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." (v. 32-35)
"Whoever disowns me" refers to a life long denial of Christ. Peter denied Jesus, but that was not a life long denial. We all sometimes deny Jesus with our unkind actions or behavior, but we repent our sins.
2 Love Jesus more than anything or anyone else: Jesus said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his family. (v.34)
Sometimes when a person becomes a disciple of Jesus, his family turns against him. Therefore, a choice must be made between Jesus and family. Family ties cannot be allowed to pull a disciple from complete allegiance to Jesus. His love for us demands that we love him for more than all others.
3. Willing to give up everything to follow him. Jesus said, "Anyone who 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. (v,38,39).
In the first century, if anyone was carrying his cross, it was clear that he was on his way to die. Many have been losers for Jesus with their life, but will not be a loser by him in the end.
Large crowds followed Jesus in the beginning, but the crowds gradually disappeared. It was because Jesus demanded total commitment from his followers. He made sure that the cost of discipleship was high. Jesus said, "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower, will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (Luke 14:28). Jesus has already counted the cost of discipleship for us. The cost is everything we have. Jesus didn't say, "Follow me, and you will be happy, and wealthy." Instead he said, "Discipleship is going to cost you whatever you have. Do not expect comfort and ease."
Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his sour. (Mathew 15:24-26).
The "whole world" refers to all the things that could possibly be achieved or acquired in one's lifetime. Gaining the whole world looks more appealing than losing everything for Jesus. But the reward for following Jesus is eternal life. While the final result of gaining the whole world is the loss of one's soul.
As Christians, disciples, or followers of Jesus, acknowledge Jesus before others, love Jesus more than all others. And be willing to give up everything for Jesus. That's how we become true Christians.
I Have Not Come to Bring Peace
by Aaron Burgess
Taking Gospel to the People
by Elisabeth Johnson
True Discipleship, Christ Brings Division
by Edward F. Markquart
Battle Your Heart to Keep Jesus First
by Gregg Bitter
Radical to the Extreme
by Robin Fish, MO
Losing Life and Finding It
by The Joshua Victor Theory
Peace With God
by Dr. Lonnie H. Lee
The Welcome Wagon
by The Rev. J. Curtis Goforth, O.S.L.
Second Sunday after Pentecost
by Richard Alan Jordan
Receive The Righteous Man
by Rev. Kurt Hering, UT
Love Me More
by Monte Marshall, TX
Freed to Love with Integrity: The Good News of Matthew’s Hard Word
by Sarah Dylan Breuer, Cambridge, MA
Devotional Thoughts Based on Matthew 10:34-39
by James T. Batchelor
Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost
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