Daily Devotional

March 4, 2021

Daybreak: Matthew 10:16 through 11:1

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)

A scrubby, prickly-branched juniper held a few wax candles and some homemade paper chains on its branches. With eyes shining and wearing wide grins, we children placed our freshly-laundered socks beneath the tree. Christmas was almost here — just a few more hours of anticipation before the big day! Then, as in years past, Mother began sneezing and the familiar red rash appeared. Why did she always have to get sick at Christmas time? It was years before I realized that Mother endured annual misery so her children could have a Christmas tree, the source of her allergic reaction. A juniper was the only tree our family could afford; it was free, because we could cut one from a nearby pasture. 

Clearly, making this holiday sacrifice demonstrated my mother’s love for her children. In light of our focus verse, did that mean that she was not “worthy” of the Lord? Since our mother loved us that much, shouldn’t we, as her children, return that love with all our might? Would that make us not worthy of Jesus? For a number of years, such thoughts puzzled me. 

When I became a little more spiritually mature, I realized that the key in this verse is three words: “more than me.” That phrase is used twice, referring to both the parents and the children. The Lord deserves our first love. Because God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die, we can be forgiven of our sins. Therefore, the Lord deserves our love, worship, and obedience. Pleasing Him must be more important to us than pleasing our parents or our children. We must not love our family, or anyone, so much that we compromise the values God has put into our lives.

Giving the Lord first place in our hearts will bring us benefits. When we love the Lord in this way, He can show us how to love our family better. If the love of Christ is supreme in our hearts, it has a radiating effect. His love will flow out of us to others, perhaps even sacrificially, as my mother’s love did.

Be sure the Lord is your first love today, and then let His love warm your home and those around you.

Background

Persecution of God’s people was not a new thing in the Bible. In this lesson, Christ told His disciples that they were to expect persecution then and in the future. Along with this warning, He devoted equal time to giving them promises of God’s care and watchful eye.

Christ compared sending His chosen followers out as sending “sheep among wolves,” and He instructed them to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Doves are mentioned more often than any other bird in the Bible. A long list of their characteristics can be compiled from Scripture references, and ornithologists would agree that these traits are still found in the species today. These traits include their timidity when attacked and their lack of self-defense; no doubt these were the traits Jesus was encouraging in His followers. On the other hand, in Jesus’ time, serpents were considered wise animals. The Lord let His followers know that wisdom would be necessary to face the persecution, and yet they were not to be vengeful or retaliatory. 

When Jesus said, “Take no thought how or what ye shall speak,” He was referring to a crisis situation. He did not mean that Christians should not study His Word, but rather that they should not worry when they faced their adversaries. If study and prayer had been done, they could trust the Holy Spirit to speak through them. 

Jesus referred to Beelzebub, who was considered the prince of devils. At times, Jesus was accused of using Beelzebub’s power to accomplish His miracles. If that accusation was made of Jesus himself, His disciples needed to expect similar indictments. 

The Lord called for open confession of faith; secret discipleship was not an option. His followers needed to make public admission of their allegiance to Him and trust Him to help them bear the consequences, which would most certainly follow. He promised that the Father, who noted the sparrows, would certainly be with them in their time of need.

At the close of this section, the Lord indicated that even a seemingly insignificant service would be noticed and rewarded if it was done with the right attitude. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III.    The proofs of the King’s claims
    L.    Authority to command men
        3.    The King’s instructions
            b.    The danger in the ministry (10:16-23)
            c.    The comfort in the ministry (10:24-33)
            d.    The priorities of the ministry (10:34-39)
            e.    The rewards of the ministry (10:40 — 11:1)

A Closer Look

  1. List at least three verses from our text which indicate that following Christ will not be easy.
     
  2. Martyred missionary to the Aucas, Jim Elliot, once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Which verse or verses from our text express this same thought? What might we be called upon to give to God today?
     
  3. What can we do to strengthen our resolve if and when we face persecution?

Conclusion

Jesus wants to be the Lord of our lives every day. Let us challenge ourselves today to be certain that we have given Him first place in each detail and situation.

Reference Materials