In all of chapter 10, the Lord dealt with his disciples about preaching the kingdom of heaven, a Jewish kingdom over which Jesus would eventually rule. In the first part (10:1-15), he commissioned his disciples to preach the kingdom. In the second part (10:16-31), he warned them of the opposition they would face as they preached. Now, in this lesson, we see the costs of discipleship in this kingdom. Actually, there are three costs and there are also rewards.
The Costs 10:32-39
1. A Confession 10:32-33 – This basically has to do with the disciples confessing him in spite of being opposed. Peter missed his opportunity to confess Jesus during his trial when he denied him in Matt 26:69-75. However, after he was restored to his discipleship in Jn 21:15-17, he confessed him many times in front of adversaries (Acts 4:18-21; 5:28-32; etc). Likewise, Stephen confessed him before the mob that killed him (Acts 7). They were certainly confessed before the Father; their names are recorded in the eternal scripture for all to see.
On a spiritual note, Christians have a concern over confessing the Lord because our reign with him during the millennium is contingent upon us not denying him here (2 Tim 2:10-13).
2. A Sword 10:34-37 – When the disciples went about preaching the kingdom, even their own families rejected them. There was division right in their families as Jesus said there would be (10:21-22). Jesus had this problem with his family (Mk 6:4; Jn 7:3-5). These verses show us that the kingdom will brought in not by peace negotiations but by war.
3. A Cross 10:38-39 – Jesus could have saved his life on Calvary and he would have lost it (Matt 27:42; Phil 2:5-11). There must be a cross before there can be a crown. The disciples had a cross to bear (Matt 20:22-23). And they will get a throne in the kingdom (Matt 19:28). Likewise, Paul showed us that the Christian life is a life of daily dying on the cross with Christ (1 Cor 15:31; Gal 2:20) followed by a reign with him (2 Tim 2:12).
The Rewards 10:40-42
1. Prophets Reward 10:41 – Prophets preaching the kingdom were persecuted, scourged and killed (Matt 23:34). Therefore, receiving prophets, like the Shunammite woman who housed and fed Elisha (2 Ki 4:8-10) and the widow that helped Elijah (1 Ki 17:13), resulted in rewards as they were both rewarded.
2. Righteous man’s reward 10:41 – Receiving a righteous man, like Barzilai received David in exile (2 Sam 17:27-29), results in a reward like David rewarded Barzilai with the offer to live with him for the rest of his life (2 Sam 19:33). Rahab received righteous men and survived the fall of Jericho.
3. Disciples reward 10:42 – This is for taking care of the disciples. The nations in the judgment of nations (Matt 25:31-46) are judged based upon how they treat the Jews and those who treat the Jews right are blessed.