Thursday June 25, 2020

Today’s Reading: Matthew 10:32-37

Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34

Meditation: The message that Jesus gives to people about Himself and His Kingdom is divisive. It separates people and severs relationships. Why? Because it is a message that demands a response from each person who hears it. Each person’s response dictates their identity, their authority, and their life journey. Those who choose to heed Jesus’ message become citizens of the Kingdom of God who willingly follow Jesus as their King. Those who choose to reject Jesus’ Message reject His Kingship and willingly stay behind instead of following Him to His Kingdom.

This is why Jesus likens His message to a sword. Families have been divided and relationships have been severed because not everyone chooses to follow Him. Jesus’ Kingdom is comprised only of people who decide to completely trust in His Kingship, obey His authority, and prioritize Him first. This thought can be jarring. Isn’t this a bit too much to ask of us?

While Jesus holds high expectations for His Kingdom citizens, they are not standards that He has not first set Himself for our sake. Jesus rules as the Good and Righteous King Who withheld nothing of His own in order to have us enter into His Kingdom. To draw near to us, He left His Heavenly Throne and stepped down to Earth. To teach us, He walked with us, experiencing human limits and human suffering. To save us from our sin, He took the weight of it upon Himself. To share His righteousness with us, He died the death of a criminal. Even now, He is preparing a place in Heaven for us.

The choice we make to follow Jesus responds to the choice He first made to be near to us. How much can we give to Jesus, Who has given us His whole self?

Prayer: Lord God, through Jesus You so freely gave of Yourself for my sake. Thank You for Your great love which has saved me, freed me, and destined me for eternity with You in Your Kingdom. Help me to live by Your example, that I would give my all to put You far above everything else that I hold dear. I want to stay near to You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.

Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Matthew 10:26-42; Leviticus 9-10; Proverbs 23