Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Sep 4 2020 - Matthew 10:24-11:6 – Are you the one?

Jesus tells his disciples to be bold in preaching the good news of the kingdom; they are to go and shout it from the housetops. But at the same time he warns them that their message will stir up opposition. There has been, and will be, opposition to Jesus and there will be opposition to those who follow him and serve him; the servant must not expect better treatment than his master.

As if to illustrate this point, the focus now turns to John the Baptist who has been imprisoned for his preaching of righteousness. John is perplexed and sends some of his followers to ask Jesus, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Matthew 11:3). John had prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah. He had called the whole nation to get themselves ready for what God was about to do and he had pointed his own disciples to Jesus and encouraged them to follow him. But now he was in prison and with little hope of being released. If Jesus was truly the Messiah, come to establish his kingdom, why was Herod still in power? Why were the prisoners not released?

Jesus does not give a detailed answer to John. He simply sends the messengers away with the instruction, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me" (11:4-6). Jesus had not come to establish the kind of kingdom people had been expecting – or even the kingdom that John had been hoping for. He had not come to take on Herod on his own terms but to undermine the whole system of self-assertive power. Jesus wants John to recognise that he came not to crush but to heal. He will bring healing and transformation to a broken world by taking the world's brokenness upon himself.

And he sends his disciples out as recruits in his mission to heal the world, telling them that they too will be wounded healers. They may even be wounded by those who are closest to them, those whom they love. The kingdom will be established through the pain and power of the cross – a cross his followers must also bear (10:38).

Those who would follow Jesus and be agents of the kingdom are not promised a peaceful life (10:34). But they are assured that they are loved and valued by their Father in heaven; he takes note when a sparrow falls to the ground and they are of far more value to him than a sparrow – the very hairs on their heads are numbered. And just as they have been ready to speak to others about Jesus, so Jesus promises that he will speak up on their behalf before his Father. None of those who respond to and follow the Saviour will fail to receive a reward from his hand.

Lord Jesus, I fear the scorn and disapproval of others and I do all that I can to avoid being hurt. Help me to care far more for the deep hurts and brokenness of others than for my own comfort. Your Spirit has whispered words of love into my heart and assured me that I am a child of God.  You have shown me that every blessing I possess streams from your cross. Help me to proclaim from the housetops the good news of your love and mercy.

Peter Misselbrook