Saturday after the Festival of the Transfiguration of our Lord
Scripture: St. Matthew 10:17—11:1 (NKJV)
10:17 “But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities 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 a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!
26 “Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 27 Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. 34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to
‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”
11:1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.
The joy and peace of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ also brings with it unfortunate consequences in the world.
False teachers reduce the truth of God to Gospel-sounding phrases, but they often leave out the full counsel that repentance and discipline are also important components of true faith. It is true that “Jesus loves you,” and “Your sins are forgiven,” but these men who serve their own understanding also teach people to disregard the humility that the Spirit would work in us. Evil pride and sinful habits have to be left behind. Sometimes we will be poor and unsuccessful in this world; sometimes we will be despised by our families and loved ones on account of the truth. These are real parts of the true life in Christ Jesus.
If our focus is on our own happiness or success, or the approval of worldly people and institutions, then our focus is not properly on Christ crucified and observing all that He has commanded. He comforts us and loves us, but He also warns us and teaches us. In the wisdom He reveals to us in His holy Words we are blessed with a clear picture that our life in Him will have its challenges and sacrifices, but we also have the most important blessing of all. We have the forgiveness of sins and abundant life, now and forever, according to His kingdom and righteousness through His Word and Spirit!
We pray: Almighty and Everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth the right hand of Thy majesty to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.