September 17, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Wednesday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 119:113-128, 1 Kings 8:22-30, 1 Thes. 2:17-313
Evening – Psalm 119:129-144, Mt. 10:16-31

Commentary, Matthew 10:16-31

Our Lord’s commission to the disciples continues in tonight’s reading.  It is not the kind of speech leaders generally use to inspire and encourage people.  Our Lord speaks of persecution, scourging, imprisonment, and death in His service.  Obviously His words look beyond the ministry on which He is sending the disciples in Galilee.  His words look on to the time after His own execution when His Church will be persecuted in Israel and the world.

The disciples should expect opposition, often violent opposition.  They should expect to be treated as the Lord Himself was treated, and it should be enough for them to be like their Master in this sense (Mt. 10:25).  Therefore they should not fear their enemies or the ordeal before them.  They should fear only God.  This means they will endure the sufferings, and will not stop ministering as Christ directs them.

Our reading closes with a reminder that God sees and watches over the disciples in their service (vss.29-31).  The sparrow has never been considered a valuable bird.  Most people think it is not beautiful to look at or pleasant to hear.  In Galilee, sparrows were often captured and eaten.  They could be purchased very cheaply.  So the sparrow was considered a lowly bird. 

To the world, the Church is like the sparrow.  Yet God’s eye is on the sparrow.  Not one of them falls without His knowledge.  If He knows about the sparrows, He knows about His servants, even down to the hairs on their heads.  If He watches over the sparrows He watches over His servants, and they will be blessed.

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