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Matthew 10:24-33

The Word of God

'A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 'So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 'Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven'.

Matthew 10:24-33
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In this Gospel reading Jesus continues to elaborate on the price we will pay for being his followers. He also opens up for us the reality of his Father’s provident concern for us of which he gives us two striking images. One is of the Father’s care for everything in creation, even for small birds that are almost valueless in most people’s estimation. The second image is of the hairs of your head that the Father ‘counts’ or gives his full attention to and cares for.
    • In an age when we incline to see everything in material, monetary and functional terms it is good to talk to Jesus about how nothing “falls to the ground unperceived”, much less you who “are of more value than many sparrows”.
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    • When we feel the heat of persecution, we do well to look at the incredible accusations levelled at Jesus himself, especially that he was the master of the house of Beelzebul!
    • “Do not be afraid”. This is an invitation we encounter so often in the Bible. God is reminding us all the time that we can face our difficult choices without fear, trusting in his aid and protection. We meet these words so often because we do need to hear them repeatedly in our lives. Let me ask for the grace to trust God, as I hear him telling me not to be afraid.
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    • Jesus encourages us to focus on what is truly real. The soul will last, but the body will die. Persecutors of the Gospel can do no more than this finite world affords them. They may beat you and insult and even kill you should you follow Jesus, but they cannot kill your soul or take away your eternal reward.
    • Faith in Jesus Christ is a total human experience, not something to practise only on Sundays. Faith without action is dead. I pray therefore that mine may be a living faith and that I may accept God’s direction for my life’s journey.
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    • The words of Jesus are an encouragement not to be deterred in the face of challenge or opposition. The loving attentive care of God the Father extends even to the sparrows, and we are of more value than many sparrows.
    • Father God, you have created me in your image and likeness, every hair on my head you have counted. You know all my concerns and accompany me on all life’s journeys. Help me to recognise your supporting presence and not to be afraid for you are with me always.
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    • Is Jesus really asking me to settle for being treated as he was treated? I can admire him and seek to follow him – but to be ready to be treated as he was seems too much to ask. Jesus, only if my heart is like yours can I live as you did. Speak now to my heart and help me to listen, to learn and to love as you did.
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    • The sparrow was one of the smallest and cheapest of creatures in the market; and yet the Father’s attentive and protective care extends to it also. This simple image reassures us that, no matter how small, vulnerable and insignificant we may feel at times, we are always supported and valued by a loving, caring God.
    • ‘It is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher.’ We all need role-models when we are growing up – people whom we admire and wish to imitate in our own unique way. For the Christian, the role-model is Jesus Christ, who reveals to us what God is like. Lord Jesus, may I prove to be a true disciple of yours by listening attentively to your word, and by caring for the poor, the weak and the needy.
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    • The underlying message of these various sayings of Jesus is encouragement. When events go against us, we are to remain confident, trusting in God’s care. We are not to be deterred in the face of opposition. Why? Because Jesus is with us always.
    • We read here of the sovereignty of God over all creation. His loving regard extends even to the hairs of our head. He is aware of a sparrow alighting on the ground. How much more of his attention do I enjoy, given that I am the apple of his eye, created in his own image and likeness. So whatever happens, I am not to be afraid. All will be well for me.
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    • Without neglecting our basic equality, I can realise that I have much to learn from others. I ask for the humility I need to remain a learner and disciple.
    • It is enough for me to be like Jesus. I am made in the image of God. I pray that I may bear in mind how deeply I am honoured and blessed by God’s love for me.