January 15th Fear God not men
26: Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27: What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29: Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30: But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31: Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Confessing and denying Christ
32: Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33: But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Call to conflict
34: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35: For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36: And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37: He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38: And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39: He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Rewards for good reception
40: He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41: He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42: And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
In this passage Christ continues to instruct the Apostles for the Ministry that they will have toward Israel. Christ encourages the Apostles to fearlessness. He tells them to preach on the house tops and not to be afraid of men, but to have an overriding fear of the Lord. He reminds them that sparrows are sold for very little yet God values them and cares for them. He says that the hairs of your head are known by the Lord - one by one. The test in that day will be who will confess Christ as Messiah? He says don’t think that he had come to bring peace on earth but a sword. Christ has come to set men against each other, over him. And a man must put Christ first, over the closest of family relationships. The disciple is to take up his cross and follow him. And the test for others is the giving of a cup of water in Christ’s name. All of these things are the description of the apostolic ministry and its outworking in ministry. It is not a description of an evangelistic ministry in the church age. In the next chapter Matthew reminds us that this is the commanding of the twelve disciples.
- What does Christ mean by 'the fear the Lord'?
- What does Christ mean 'to confess him'?
- What does the Lord say is the method whereby Israel will demonstrate their reception of the Gospel of the Kingdom?