Morning Reflections 12/1/09

MATTHEW 10:24-33

24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!  26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.  28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

I'm not sure exactly what to do with this text.  The traditional way of thinking about it is that Jesus is continuing to prepare the twelve to be sent out on their mission in Galilee to proclaim that the Kingdom of God has come near.  He is preparing them by assuring them that the road is going to be difficult — that they will face enormous opposition along the way, but also encouraging them to stand firm because the Spirit of God will be with them as they go.  So the traditional way of thinking about this text is that Jesus is reminding his disciples that he himself, the Son of God, has been persecuted.  People accused Jesus of being in league with Satan or Beelzebub (lord of dung)… and since the disciples were no greater than their teacher and master they should expect the same.  

I wonder, though, if their might be a different way to read this.  Yes, Jesus is spending significant time in chapter 10 preparing the twelve for the difficulties that lie ahead and for the opposition that they will face.  That being said, he also spends significant time reassuring them of who they are — that they are members of God's family… children of their Father in heaven who have been made one with Jesus.  He reminds them again and again of the authority (and the power that comes in claiming that authority) they have been given as a result of their "family status".  He balances his warning with assurance.  So I wonder if in this section Jesus is again reminding them of who they are and the significance of claiming that identity in the face of darkness.  If those who come against them (or us) are in league with the enemy (the evil one, the dark side of the force… or however you want to describe the forces in this world that are fighting against good), then THEY are no greater than the one they serve… and the one they serve has already been defeated.  The one they serve has no power over anyone who is in Christ Jesus. (See v. 24-25)  Verse 26 says, "“So do not be afraid of them…" Is the "them" he is referring to those who call "the lord of dung" their master?

Jesus, give me the courage this day to stand in the face of the enemy and proclaim the good news of your love and grace and mercy!  Let me bring your light into the darkness and boldly proclaim your kingdom come!

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