The Gospel Reading I am looking at is taken from Mathew 10: 24-39, other lectionary readings that you may want to look at are: Jeremiah 20: 7-13, Psalm 69: 7-10, (11-15), 16-18. Romans 6: 1b-11
Gospel Matthew 10.24-39
“This reading continues Jesus’ teaching to the disciples about mission. The first section focuses on the identification of the disciples with their teacher – if he has been persecuted and maligned, then they must expect the same, especially to the degree that they emulate him. Beelzebul (Lord of the House) is derived from the Philistine Baal, and by Jesus’ time had come to be used to refer to a demonic force hostile to God. So the slander is effectively saying that Jesus was in league with God’s enemies.
Jesus goes on to reassure and encourage them. The gospel of the kingdom is being revealed so they should not be afraid, even of physical death. (It is unclear whether the one who can destroy both body and soul (v.28) refers to God or to demonic powers.) Sparrows being one of the cheapest things to buy, Jesus’ followers are obviously of much more value than sparrows. And yet, God knows when a sparrow falls and how many hairs there are on the disciples’ heads. So, they can be sure that God will watch over their lives.”
I will refer in part 3 of the Blog to a fantastic book called “Spitalfields by Dan Cruikshank, he looks into the history of Spitalfields through the eyes of the buildings, in some ways this is part of my own history, where my forbears toiled as weavers, the life of the Huguenot in the time after the Edict of Nantes was a harrowing one, this is not the time for a history lesson but I will in part 3 show some comparisons with the passage from Mathew.
“In the culture of that time, one’s family was one’s primary unit of belonging – there was much less focus on individuals, and their wants and desires, and more on family honour and prestige. In light of that, Jesus’ acknowledgement of those who acknowledge him to the world can be seen as a statement of acceptance by Jesus’ Father into God’s family. Then we have further comments on the possibilities of the gospel bringing family strife (cf. Micah 7.6 and expectations that this would be a feature of the end of the age). Loyalty to Jesus is more important than the culturally important claims of blood relatives. Following Jesus is the primary call in life; whoever is not prepared to set aside anything else in life that interrupts the claim of Christ will not be worthy of the kingdom.”
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