GOSPEL READING: Matthew 10:17-22
17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Meditation: What is the connection between Bethlehem and Calvary – the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and his passion and death on a cross? The very reason the Son of God took on flesh and became a man for our sake was to redeem us from slavery to sin and death and to give us new life as the adopted children of God. The way to glory in the kingdom of God is through the cross. If we want to share in Jesus’ glory, then we, too, must take up our cross each day and follow in his footsteps.
The cost of following and serving the Lord Jesus Christ
Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed him. Here Jesus says to his disciples: This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it? This is not the world’s way of offering a job. After the defeat at Dunkirk during World War II, Churchill offered his country “blood, toil, sweat, and tears.” Suffering for the name of Christ is not the message we prefer to hear when the Lord commissions us in his service. Nonetheless, our privilege is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who laid down his life for us. The Lord gives us sufficient grace to follow him and to bear our cross with courage and hope. Do you know the joy and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ?
Lord Jesus, your coming in the flesh to ransom us from slavery to sin gives us cause for great rejoicing even in the midst of trials and pain. Help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships, adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving you. Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back from doing your will.
3 Yes, you are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 You hate those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad for your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction, you have taken heed of my adversities,
8 and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors!
16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your merciful love!
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Your Father speaks through you in every age, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
“To be sure, we heard in that reading, ‘But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious how or what you are to speak… for it is not you who are speaking but the Spirit of your Father who speaks through you.’ And he says in another place: ‘Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world’ (Matthew 28:20). Does this mean that the people who heard those words of the Lord would be here until the end of the world? The Lord was referring, rather, not only to those about to depart from this life but also to the others, including us and those who would come after us in this life. He saw everyone in his single body, and the words he spoke, ‘I am with you even to the end of the world,’ were heard by them and by us too. And if we did not hear them then in our knowledge, we heard them in his foreknowledge. Therefore, safe as sheep among the wolves, let us keep the commandments of him who directs us. And let us be ‘innocent as doves but cautious as snakes’ (Matthew 10:16). Innocent as doves that we may not harm anyone; cautious as snakes that we may be careful of letting anyone harm us.” (excerpt from SERMON 64A.2)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.
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