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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

WARNINGS AND ADVICE FOR HIS APOSTLES

Matt 10:21-26 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

Sending His apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Vs. 6) with instructions to preach the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Vs. 7), Jesus continues, in the lesson text, to warn and advise them what they were to expect from those that hear and witness their Holy Spirit-inspired message. Although there may be few exceptions, the Jewish nation, and the Law of Moses on which its religious and civil doctrine is founded, is firmly established on strong family relationships. Family purity, within ancestral ties dating back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was essential in God's plan of salvation through Christ Jesus. At this time in Jewish history, Jesus warns them of what would take place with the coming of God's kingdom. That strong family relationship will be jeopardized by the gospel message of Jesus and His apostles. Many Jewish families will be torn apart - brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

Although, at the time this occurred, it may have been difficult to imagine such disruption and savage, revengeful warring among Jewish families, both biblical and secular historians assure us that this is exactly what took place. Jewish zealots, both then and now, reject Jesus as the promised Messiah and vehemently oppose the tenets of Christianity. Such hostility resulted from opposition to Christ Jesus, and led to cruel torture and violent deaths within families that were split over accepting or rejecting the doctrine of Christ. Not only was there dissention within families that resulted in punishment and even death, but there was also hatred that led to all manner of violent acts among Jewish men and women. Although these persecutions would be perpetrated against His followers, Jesus offers this consolation: there is a sure reward promised for those that hold out and endure the wrath of unbelieving Jews. Those that are faithful to the end shall be saved. On the other hand, this verse insinuates that there is no possible hope of eternal salvation for those that reject Jesus as the Son of God, and His New Testament doctrine.

Jesus makes other warnings to His apostles and followers. Because the establishment of God's kingdom was soon to come, Jesus warned them not to war or seek retribution against those that persecute them, but flee from their presence. He advised them to use sound judgment and seek peace when confronted by opposition. This was the surest way to avoided persecution and remain alive until the day of rejoicing when the soon-to-come kingdom would be firmly established. Jesus continues by assuring His apostles of the truth found in this proverb: The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. In other words, if the master or lord is hated and persecuted, then it is true that his disciples and servants will be received and treated in the same manner. It was true during the earthly ministry of Christ, and it is true today. Although the opposition may be expressed either mildly or more severely in different countries or ethnical societies of the world, yet Christians can be assured that all manner of persecution is to be expected. Followers of Christ can never expect to be universally received with open arms by people of the world. Jesus confesses that He was, and will be, called Beelzebub, the prince of the devils, that is, Satan. Therefore His disciples will suffer the same insinuation. Here Jesus consoled His apostles by saying: Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. Although they may be ridiculed, rejected, and persecuted by the world, yet the day will come when the righteous Judge will reveal the doctrine of Christ to be true; enemies will be punished and believers will be rewarded.