Matthew 10: The First Sending (5)
Pray Psalm 149.5-9.
Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishments on the peoples;
To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute on them the written judgment—
This honor have all His saints.
Praise the LORD!
Sing Psalm 149.5-9.
(Toulon: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art)
Sing to the Lord, exult with great delight!
Sing on your beds with joy to God by night!
Sing praise and take His Word into your hand.
Publish His grace and wrath in every land!
Read Matthew 10.1-37; meditate on verse 32-37.
1. What did Jesus come to bring to earth? What does that mean?
2. Where are Jesus’ followers supposed to confess Him?
Confess Jesus; deny Him. We face this choice every day. If we fear God, we will confess Jesus, come what may. If we fear people, and what they might think or do, we will deny the Lord in our words and actions. We should not want to provoke the consequences of such denying (v. 33). To confess Jesus is to agree with Him concerning Who He is, what He has accomplished, what He demands, and what He promises. Confessing is an act of the tongue, but it must be backed up by a life for which that confession is the explanation (1 Pet. 3.15).
In fact, Christ, Who is the Prince of peace, did come to bring peace, but not as the first fruit of His effort. Peace is the condition of the Kingdom which exists where righteousness obtains, and righteousness is established by the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Jesus came to bring that Sword (v. 34), and it often has dividing effects. But the way to true and lasting peace is by the Sword of Jesus. The Sword of the Spirit is the cutting edge of the Kingdom and its coming on earth as in heaven.
We are to seek the Kingdom and righteousness of God, and peace, joy, and all things else will come with that. Men seek peace through compromise. Jesus establishes peace not through compromise, but by truth. Truth offends many, and makes a clear cut between those who submit to truth and those who insist they are truth in themselves (cf. Ps. 12.1-4). Jesus rides out with His Sword each day for the cause of truth, meekness, and righteousness (Ps. 45.3-5; Rev. 6.1, 2). Those who receive that truth, submitting to it and wielding it with King Jesus, make divisions and enemies; yet they know peace and joy in the rule of their King.
If we love Jesus, we will take the Sword of truth in hand for all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities. If we love anything or anyone more than we love Jesus, we’ll keep the Sword of the Spirit in its sheath, not wanting to offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable. Here’s a test for how much we love Jesus: How ready and consistent are we at wielding the Sword of the Spirit at every opportunity?
1. What does it mean to “wield the Sword of the Spirit”?
2. If someone asked you to confess Jesus, what would you say?
3. How can we know if we love Jesus as He expects?
This is peace: when the cancer is cut away. Only with such radical surgery is it possible for heaven to be reunited to earth. Only in this way does the physician preserve the healthy tissue of the body. The incurable part must be amputated. Only in this way does the military commander preserve the peace: by cutting off those in rebellion. John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 35.1
Lord, today I take Your Sword in hand to…
Pray Psalm 149.1-4.
Praise the Lord for making you, saving you, teaching you to know and praise Him, and sending you to beautify the world with His salvation.
Sing Psalm 149.1-4.
Psalm 149.1-4 (Toulon: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art)
Sing to the Lord a glorious song and new!
Praise Him you people, to Whom praise is due!
Let us rejoice, let us be glad in Him
Who has created us and cleansed our sin.
Praise Him with dance, with tambourine and lyre!
To be so praised is God’s one great desire.
Lord, beautify Your holy ones with grace;
show us the mercy of Your saving face.
T. M. Moore
Worship the Lord!
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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).