[Aug 13]--Final Instructions Part 4

Matt. 10:37-42

At times I have to wonder about some peoples’ perception of Jesus. Their image of him is of a mild-mannered teacher who just instructed us to love one another, basically Mr. Rogers in a robe. Anyone who presents this picture of him is either deceiving you or has never read the Gospels. The Jesus of the Bible says some pretty controversial things, some things which cause any careful reader to scratch his head.

We read that Jesus told us to “hate” our parents, and today’s passage might shed some light on that. It’s not that we’re supposed to actively wish them harm—this is the same One who told us to honor our parents in his Top Ten list. But we can’t let love and respect for our parents be a rival for our First Love. It’s the same thing with our children. C. S. Lewis mentioned a painting he once saw which depicted the Lord commanding his disciples to hate their parents, and their reactions are telling. Most of the twelve are standing with puzzled looks on their faces, but not Judas. He look absolutely gleeful in being relieved of this responsibility. And just to put the nail in the coffin that this is a concession to any selfishness on our part, he also puts our own lives on the list which must be given up in his service.

Now most of us won't be called upon to literally give up our parents, our children, or our lives for him. But we have to commit ourselves--we have to resolve in our heart of hearts--that everything we have belongs to him, twice over. We must count ourselves as dead men who just happen to be walking around, living sacrifices if you will. Once we give up our lives to him, we’ll find in the end that it wasn’t really much of a sacrifice at all. In losing ourselves in him we’ll finally “find ourselves.”

And he ends this passage with a word of encouragement. They would, over the coming years, be hated above all others. They'd be accused of everything from cannibalism to incest in the early church. Their message would never be the most popular, and they could expect to be treated no better than their Master. But there was a good side to this. He told them not to take this personally. However they were treated, Jesus would see it as being done to him. Anyone who received their message was accepting God’s message, and anyone who rejected them would really be rejecting Christ, not them.

So I ask you, before we move to another chapter in Matthew tomorrow, how do you view yourself? Do you see yourself as the Lord's representative and messenger? Do you see yourself as dead to the world? Are there any rivals to your First Love? Please excuse me, I need to go do some repenting right now.

Lord Jesus, you are my all in all, but I certainly don’t act like it sometimes. Any idols in the temple, any rivals to you, please cast them out. Right now.

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