Shocking! Scripture, reflection and prayer.
Matthew 10:32-39 "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 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
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
“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. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (NIV)
“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?
“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.
"If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me." (Message)
Reflection. Shocking! Sometimes when I am refereeing a football match I will give a decision and a player, who disagrees with the decision, will say, 'Shocking.' On the radio there are presenters who are known as 'Shock Jocks.' On the television in the UK think of Piers Morgan. In Palestine about 2000 years ago think of Jesus! Did I just compare Jesus with Piers Morgan? Shocking!
Let's be very clear about this, Jesus said some very shocking, outrageous things. 'I did not come to bring peace but a sword.' That goes against the idea of 'gentle Jesus meek and mild,' does it not. Shocking!
Context is all. The shocking and outrageous statements in the passage are deliberately thus. They make it plain that Jesus demands total commitment. He demands a commitment even beyond those of family. Jesus is helping us to understand that following him will mean that people may not like us. They may well ask us to choose between them and Jesus. Jesus is saying, 'Choose me. Put me first.' The reward is to find who you truly are...oh, and you then find Jesus. Fully.
Prayer. "All for Jesus, all for Jesus,
This our song shall ever be."
And Jesus's people say, Amen.