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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, June 23, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 10:24–39          

“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 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 the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (NRSV)

This entire passage includes Jesus’ words directed to the disciples. He is encouraging them to tell of their faith, to witness to what they know of him, to speak out even though there are so many barriers to doing so. Jesus recognizes how hard this will be for them—and for us. More than once he tells them not to be afraid.

One barrier mentioned by implication is the barrier of hierarchical systems. “A disciple is not above the teacher . . . and the slave above the master.” Another barrier is family pressure. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”

So the question for us today is how do we tell what we know of Jesus? Or how do we testify to his love? How do we express that Jesus is the one we choose to follow and that’s why we do the things we do? A lot of us witness or testify by our deeds and service, but when push comes to shove, it’s harder for us to verbalize how our service and deeds are connected with what we believe.

How easy is it for you to claim in words that you live the way you do because you have decided to be a follower of Jesus? What makes you afraid to talk about your faith, and how it has changed the way you choose to live?

Dear Lord, give me courage to claim you as the one who has saved me from a life of meaninglessness to a life of meaning. Give me courage to build a language of discipleship that is loving and inviting. Take away my fear about doing so. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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