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Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 10:34-42.

Matthew 10 34-36 by Kathy Fisher

Jesus: A Cause of Division – Matthew 10:34-36

Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.

For I have come to set
a man ‘against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’

Jesus says

  • Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. (Matthew 10:21)

and now here in the above passage

  • For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; (Matthew 10:35)

This is from Micah

  • For the son belittles his father, the daughter rises up against her mother, The daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and your enemies are members of your household. (Micah 7:6)

Here, Jesus did not mean to say that the object of his coming was to produce discord and contention, for he was the Prince of Peace,

  • His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, Upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains. By judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this! (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. (Isaiah 11:6)
  • “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”(Luke 2:14)

but he means to say that such would be one of the effects of his coming. One part of a family that was opposed to him would set themselves against those who believed in him. The wickedness of men, and not the religion of the gospel, is the cause of this hostility.

The Conditions of Discipleship – Matthew 10:37-39

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,

and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The first mention of the cross in Matthew,

  • and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38)

explicitly that of the disciple, but implicitly that of Jesus (and follow after me). Again in

  • Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)

and in Luke

  • “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. ( Luke 14:26–27)

Crucifixion was a form of capital punishment used by the Romans for offenders who were not Roman citizens.

One who denies Jesus in order to save one’s earthly life will be condemned to everlasting destruction; loss of earthly life for Jesus’ sake will be rewarded by everlasting life in the kingdom.

  • Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)

Here is the marcan parallel.

  • For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:35)

in Luke

  • For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:24)

and in John

  • Whoever loves his life* loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. (John 12:25)

Rewards – Matthew 10:40-42

Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward,

and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward.

And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.

In all the illustrations mentioned in the above passage, Jesus meant to teach substantially the same thing – that he that would entertain kindly or treat with hospitality himself, his disciples, a prophet, or a righteous man, would show that he approved their character, and should not fail of proper reward. To receive in the “name” of a prophet is to receive “as” a prophet; to do proper honour to his character, and to evince attachment to the cause in which he was engaged.

  • “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40)
  • “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)
  • Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me,” (John 12:44)
  • “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (John 13:20)

Few would refuse a cup of cold water to any man, if thirsty and weary. The phrase “these little ones” in

  • And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)

are clearly meant to describe his disciples. They are called “little ones” to denote their want of wealth, rank, learning, and whatever the world calls “great.”

In Luke too we find a passage on Jesus being the cause of a division.

Jesus: A Cause of Division – Luke 12:49-53

I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!

There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?

No, I tell you, but rather division.

From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three;

a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father,

a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother,

a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Here in Luke, Jesus says

  • “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Luke 12:49)

Luke’s image is that of the earth’s inhabitants set “on fire” by the message of the Gospel.

Fire is used in Scriptures to symbolize God’s judgment where the just are purified and the evil ones destroyed

The Messenger of the Covenant – Malachi 3:1-5

But who can endure the day of his coming?
Who can stand firm when he appears?
For he will be like a refiner’s fire,
like fullers’ lye.

He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the Levites,
Refining them like gold or silver,
that they may bring offerings to the LORD in righteousness.

Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in ancient days, as in years gone by.

I will draw near to you for judgment,
and I will be swift to bear witness
Against sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers,
those who deprive a laborer of wages,
Oppress a widow or an orphan,
or turn aside a resident alien,
without fearing me, says the LORD of hosts.

As metal is refined of dross by fire, so people are tested as genuine by life’s ordeals.

Christ becomes a “sign of contradiction,” people are divided over him – whether they are for him or against him. One cannot remain neutral; one must take a stand. Since the world has values contrary to Christ’s, division results between those who accept Christ and those who reject jim. His good news is bad news for those who refuse him.

The word “baptism” used by Jesus in

There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! (Luke 12:50)

means his death.

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