Mat 10:32-33: What does it mean to confess Jesus before men? Cf. the two other uses in Matthew of the Greek word used here for confess, Matt 7:23 (NAS “declare”), Mat 14:7 (“promise”). Is there a difference between believing in Jesus and confessing Him? See Joh 12:42 and observe that to “confess in/with/by” (literal) another is a public declaration of covenant-like faithfulness that you are taking a stand to stand with or by the other; cf. Luk 12:8, Act 7:17 (“assured”), Act 23:8 (“acknowledged”), Act 24:14 (“admit”). What does this teach us about what it means to be denied by Jesus before the Father, and therefore the serious consequences of denying Jesus? Think: How shall we fare in the day of judgment if we have not Jesus to stand with/by us? What apologetic value would the reminder of Jesus’ words in Mat 10:32-33 have had for those Jews to whom Matthew was writing who were on the fence and in danger of denying Christ because of the intense and increasing opposition of their fellow Jews? What value ought they to have for us in the face of the increasing hostility from the world to Christ’s gospel? If and when called upon to take a stand for Jesus, such as happened to Richard Wurmbrand, or has happened to Christians all over the world throughout history, will you confess Him before men? Cf. Luk 21:34-36.
Mat 10:34-39 What word in Mat 10:34 describes the kingdom that first-century Jews believed the Messiah, the son of David, would immediately establish? Hint: what marked Solomon’s kingdom? Cf. 1Ch 22:9-10 and note that the name of the son of David “Solomon” means “peace”, even as Jesus is also referred to as the “prince of peace” (Isa 9:6). How did Jesus dispel that notion? What does this teach us about the only means by which true and lasting peace is established, even in God’s kingdom, and the inevitable conflict it produces? Cf. Mat 3:12, 13:40-41, 49, Mic 7:1-6. Might many Christians today, like the first century Jews, be mistaken that the coming of Jesus’ kingdom will bring immediate peace without first a separating out of and from all the evil that militates against a lasting peace? What do Mat 10:34-36 teach us about the extreme polarizing nature of the person of Jesus? Cf. Mat 10:21-22. Why is that? See Mat 10:32-33, 37-39. Again, what apologetic value would these words of Jesus have had for those Jews to whom Matthew was writing? When forced to choose between Jesus and a brother, or a parent, or a child, what must the choice be for those who want God’s lasting peace? See Mat 10:37. Is there a difference between being worthy of eternal life and being worthy of Christ? Are any of us worthy of eternal life in ourselves? Who and/or what makes us worthy of eternal life? What do these verses teach us about what it means to be worthy of the Christ who makes us worthy of eternal life? See Mat 10:39; cf. Luk 7:4-7, 15:17-24 and think: in what way did the Roman centurion and prodigal son “lose” their lives but find eternal life; contrast Luk 6:46, 14:16-20, Mat 22:2-8, Act 13:45-46 and think: in what way did these “find” their lives but lose eternal life?
Mat 10:40-42 What do these verses teach us about a future reward for Christian service in this life? What reward does Jesus say those will have who receive God’s servants and support them even in small ways? What does it mean to receive a prophet “in the name” of a prophet, or a righteous man “in the name” of a righteous man? Cf. NIV “because he is” a prophet, “because he is” a righteous man; see also Gen 12:3. What apologetic value would these verses have had for those Jews who were fearful of confessing Jesus or assisting the spread of the gospel? for those who were in danger of falling away because of the mounting opposition? What encouragement would they have given the disciples in the midst of much opposition as they sought to be faithful ministers? What do these verses teach us about the importance of receiving and encouraging God’s workers? “In a war, if you can’t shoot at least carry bullets.”