“Therefore, the one who [a]confesses and acknowledges Me before men [as Lord and Savior, affirming a state of oneness with Me], that one I will also confess and acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven. But the one who denies and rejects Me before men, that one I will also deny and reject before My Father who is in heaven.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword [of division between belief and unbelief]. 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 a man’s enemies will be the members of his [own] household [when one believes and another does not].
“[b]He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his [c]cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].
The Reward of Service
“He who receives and welcomes you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives and welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous (honorable) man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones [these who are humble in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water to drink because he is my disciple, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.”
- Matthew 10:32 The word “confess” used in conjunction with “before” connotes a legal statement or a testimony in a legal setting.
- Matthew 10:37 Commitment to Jesus takes precedence over all else.
- Matthew 10:38 The historical background behind this statement is that those who were about to be crucified had to carry the crossbeam to which they would be nailed or bound. In addition to the terrible agony that crucifixion inflicted, it was such a great indignity that some of the Roman writers used the word cross as a curse word in the expression “Go to a bad cross!” (Lat i in malam crucem).
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and to preach in their [Galilean] cities.
Now when [a]John [the Baptist] in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and asked Him, “Are You the Expected One (the Messiah), or should we look for someone else [who will be the promised One]?” Jesus answered, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive [their] sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed [by healing] and the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed [joyful, favored by God] is he who does not take offense at Me [accepting Me as the Messiah and trusting confidently in My message of salvation].”
Jesus’ Tribute to John
As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out in the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind [which is commonplace]? What did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing [entirely unsuited for the harsh desert]? Those who wear soft clothing are in the palaces of kings! But what did you [really] go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [more eminent, more remarkable, and] [b]far more than a prophet [who foretells the future]. This is the one of whom it is written [by the prophet Malachi],
‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
I assure you and most solemnly say to you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater [in privilege] than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize]. For all the prophets and the Law prophesied up until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is [the fulfillment of] Elijah [as the messenger] who was to come [before the kingdom]. He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.
- Matthew 11:2 John and Jesus were about the same age and were related through their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary (Luke 1:36).
- Matthew 11:9 John was unique among the prophets because he was sent to prepare the hearts of the people for the immediate disclosure of their Messiah.