Mat 10:17-20 What encouragement does Jesus give his disciples in Mat 10:19-20 to face the inevitable oppositions they will encounter? What examples do we have in Scripture that this is true? See Joh 9:24-34, Act 4:13-14, and Paul’s defenses before the Jews, Felix, Festus and Agrippa (Act 22-26) in spite of his lack of eloquence (1Co 2:1,4, 2Co 10:10, 11:6). What encouragement ought this to give us in our own personal witness? Is it the eloquence of our words or the sincerity of our faith that wins others to Christ?
Mat 10:21-23 Did Jesus say in Mat 10:22 that it is the one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back that will be saved? What apologetic value would His words have had to the Jews at the time Matthew was writing who had at one time come to accept Jesus as their Messiah but were now in danger of falling away because of the increasing rejection and hostility by their fellow Jews? What value ought His words to have for us when faced by rejection for Christ’s sake by others, even those of our own family? When persecuted in one city for their faith and adherence to Jesus does He say that they should just tone down their witness and keep quiet about the gospel? What does He say? See Mat 10:23. Was there a danger that they would run out of cities to flee to before the return of their Lord? To what sort of coming of the Son of Man does Jesus refer to in Mat 10:23: His coming in judgment upon the nation of Israel, or His coming to be present (parousia) at which time “the dead in Christ shall rise” and those who “remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1Th 4:15-17)? Note: the Greek word for “comes” in Mat 10:23 is erchomai, not parousia. When did the Son of Man “come” that the disciples would not have completed the cities of Israel until that time? Note: Jesus came in judgment upon the nation in 70 a.d., over 40 years after this time. What do Mat 10:21-23 indicate about the catalyst of persecution for the spread of the gospel? What examples do we have in Scripture of the gospel being spread by persecution? See 12:14-15, Luk 4:29-31, Joh 10:39-40, 11:53-54, Act 8:1,4-5, 9:24-25,13:50-51, 14:6-7,19-20, 17:10,14. Should we today fear man’s persecution as we boldly proclaim the gospel in the world, that perhaps we may need to flee, and if so there may be no place to which to flee? Cf. Rev 12:13-14.
Mat 10:24-25: What was the reproach of the epithet Beelzebul (NAS) or Beelzebub (KJV)? See 12:24, Mar 3:22; note also that in Hebrew Baal-zebul means lord of the exalted house which Jesus as “the head of the house” is, but with a slight change of pronunciation to Baal-zebel means lord of dung, itself likely a slur of Baal-zebub (lord of flies), the false god of Ekron (2Ki 1:2-3); thus the term came to be used of Satan (Luk 11:18). In what ways have the wicked always maligned the righteous? See 2Ch 36:16, Isa 5:20, Jer 20:7-8. In what similar ways are the righteous followers of Christ maligned today? Think bible-thumper, religious fanatic, narrow-minded bigot, fundamentalist, kool-aid drinker, anti-intellectual, unscientific, right-wing extremist, low-level terrorist, etc… How ought we to respond when reproached for our faith in Christ? See 1Co 4:12b-13a. When reviled for Christ what ought our attitude to be? See Mat 5:11, Act 5:41, 1Pe 4:14.
1. See 1Ki 8:13, Isa 63:15 for the Hebrew word zebul; see also Hab 3:11 (NAS places = lofty dwelling; cf. KJV). It is also related to the name Zebulun (see Gen 30:20 where the verbal form is translated as dwell by the NAS and honor by the NET).↩