The Scriptorium

Warning and Promise

Being a witness has its challenges. Matthew 10.16-26

Matthew 10: The First Sending (3)

Pray Psalm 22.23-25.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.

Sing Psalm 22.23-25.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.

For He has not despised the anguish of our King,
Nor from Him hid His eyes, Who knew such suffering.
Let praise arise from all who love and serve the Ruler of the skies!

Read Matthew 10.1-26; meditate on verses 16-26.

1. Of what did Jesus warn His disciples?

2. What did He promise them?

Don’t you love the way Jesus uses metaphors? He piles them on here: “sheep in the midst of wolves”; “wise as serpents”; “harmless as doves”. This is how the disciples were to think about their mission. They would be the objects of ravenous hatred on the part of some. So they needed to know how to move about among such people silently, stealthily, and without creating problems for themselves by needless provocations (v. 16). In spite of their best efforts to be meek, peaceable, quiet, and wise, people would dislike them and seek to do them harm (v. 17).

And if this was true for them, why should we think it would be otherwise for us?

Can you imagine one of the disciples breaking in at this point to explain, “Uh, Lord, evangelism is not my spiritual gift”? Jesus has the answer: “Go do it anyway, for I am commanding you; and when push comes to shove, and you need to have the right words to say, I’ll provide them. And when I do, then the words you hear coming out of your mouth won’t be your words, but those of the Spirit of God” (vv. 19, 20).

Think about that for a few minutes! What a tremendous fear-dispeller! It’s not that they didn’t need to prepare. Jesus had been preparing them for some time now. They knew what the Good News of the Kingdom entailed, and what they were to say. But you can’t prepare for every objection, threat, or tirade by unbelieving folks. So just keep to the main points, and God will give you the words you need.

But being a witness for Christ is a hard road. Someone will always be looking to do you in (vv. 21-23). When you encounter such people, there’s no need to keep provoking them. Just move on, looking for the next “worthy household” where people will welcome what you have to share.

Jesus promised them also that He’d be right behind them (v. 23). He would walk the same path they did. What they had seen in Him, they should follow, teach, and do (vv. 24, 25). They should strive to be like Jesus, and so should we. And if that means people will say bad things about us or threaten us or wish us ill, well, it’s nothing more than what Jesus endured, and look where it got Him (Ps. 110)!

Don’t be afraid, witness for Christ. Don’t cover the light Jesus has lit in your soul. Let it shine! Make His Good News known! He is right behind, right there inside you, and His Word will never return to Him without accomplishing what He sends it out through you to do.

1. What are the main points of the Gospel of the Kingdom?

2. Why are Christians no more consistent than they are at making this Good News known?

3. How can believers help one another be more faithful in this calling to take the Good News to the people in their Personal Mission Field?

He is teaching them a new sort of warfare. He sends them out exposed, with only one coat, barefoot and without a staff, without clothing or provisions. The manner of their battle array is entirely unimpressive. He calls them to allow themselves to be totally supported by the generosity of such as receive them. All this is to accentuate his unspeakable power. Then, to press this reverse strategy to its limits, he tells them to exhibit the gentleness of sheep, even though they are going out among wolves, and not simply toward the wolves but trustfully moving right into the midst of the wolves.
John Chrysostom (433-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 33.1

Lord, as I look at the day ahead, I see opportunities to go in Your Name and to…

Pray Psalm 22.26-28.
Jesus suffered and prevailed; if we have to suffer for the Gospel, we will prevail as well. Praise the Lord for His presence with you as you go out into your Personal Mission Field today.

Sing Psalm 22.26-28.
Psalm 22.26-28 (Darwall, Rejoice, the Lord is King)
The suff’ring King shall eat and praise with us the Lord.
Forever we His praise repeat and trust His Word.
Praise God above, all you who keep His vows and who His mercies love!

All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord;
All those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King! His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore