- Matt. 9:35-38
- Matt. 10:1-15; Mark 6:7
- Matt. 10:16-42
- Matt. 11:1; Luke 9:6
- Mark 6:14-16; Luke 9:7-9
- Matt. 14:3-12a; Mark 6:17-29
- Mark 6:30-33; Luke 9:10-11a; John 6:1
As Jesus traveled throughout the towns and villages He was moved with compassion because the people were harassed and helpless, like sheep with no shepherd to lead them. Jesus called the apostles together and sent them on a mission to preach the good news of the kingdom throughout Judea, heal the sick, and cast out demons. As Jesus was instructing the apostles about their mission, He warned them that there would be those who wouldn't receive them or heed their teachings.
Jesus cautioned the apostles that people would be divided over Him, even within families, and that they would suffer persecution on His behalf. While Jesus' words had a special importance to the 12, this promise of suffering is still true today and will be for as long as time continues. Consider the words of Jesus:
16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! ... 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. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
(Matt. 10:16-25, 28-39 NIV)
To be a disciple of Jesus comes with a significant cost, giving up our wants and wishes in order to give Jesus reign and rule in our heart and life, even to the point of death. But the reward of the disciple of Jesus is so very much worth the cost, however large it may be.