God’s Life-Giving Word of Discipleship
Matthew 10:16-31: Jesus continues to instruct his disciples. He warns them of coming persecutions and encourages them to be brave and trust in God.
[Jesus said:] “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”
(Mark 13.9-13; Luke 21.12-17)
16 “Listen! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves. 17 Watch out, for there will be those who will arrest you and take you to court, and they will whip you in the synagogues. 18For my sake you will be brought to trial before rulers and kings, to tell the Good News to them and to the Gentiles. 19When they bring you to trial, do not worry about what you are going to say or how you will say it; when the time comes, you will be given what you will say. 20For the words you will speak will not be yours; they will come from the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “People will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. 22 Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, run away to another one. I assure you that you will not finish your work in all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “No pupil is greater than his teacher; no slave is greater than his master. 25 So a pupil should be satisfied to become like his teacher, and a slave like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul, the members of the family will be called even worse names!
Whom to Fear
26 “So do not be afraid of people. Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known. 27What I am telling you in the dark you must repeat in broad daylight, and what you have heard in private you must announce from the housetops. 28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. 29For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father's consent. 30As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!
Based on today’s reading, what would you say are the challenges of being a follower of Jesus? What words of encouragement does Jesus offer?
Lord Jesus, it can be challenging to make sacrifices in order to serve you, but you have assured me of your steadfast love. Make me mindful of those first disciples who gave their lives to follow you. Grant me the strength to serve you faithfully all the days of my life. Amen.
Those who are martyred for their faith
Matthew 10:32-42: Jesus outlines the rewards of discipleship.