Summary: Does Jesus really call us to a simple, exciting life?
“Divide and Conquer”
Drew Dyck once volunteered at a youth event put on by a national youth ministry. Near the end of an evening full of games, fun, and food the leader began his devotional talk by stating, “Being a Christian isn’t hard. You won’t lose your friends or be unpopular at school. Nothing will change. Your life will be the same, just better.” Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? I wonder if the disciples were expecting the same thing. Jesus had just called and commissioned them (9:35-10:10) to go into the towns and villages to preach, heal, raise the dead, and drive out demons. Sounds simple enough and exciting, doesn’t it?
But is this what following Jesus is really all about? Does He really call us to a simple, exciting life? Let’s listen in on what Jesus told the disciples as they prepared to go out and do as He had instructed them.
Jesus CAUTIONS AND CLARIFIES because He knew the disciples might not have a handle on what this commissioned life would be like. (11-24) He CAUTIONS them, “When you head out you will sometimes feel like helpless sheep among starving wolves. Many will not listen to your message; many others will not like it. Doors will be slammed in your faces. Share my message in a Synagogue and you may be dragged into the streets and flogged. But if you preach in the streets you might be arrested and taken to court. Even your friends and family may turn against you. After all, if I’m rejected and mistreated, you will be too. Understand I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to divide. So take your sword and get going and divide!” Rather than encouragement, Jesus gave A WARNING.
Jesus wouldn’t make it in today’s church, would He? He’s just not visitor friendly. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if I said to those of you visiting today, “Oh you’ll love it here at Hope. When you leave here today we expect you to spread the Word everywhere. Get ready to rumble with the world because they won’t like you anymore. But that’s okay – we want you to be about the business of dividing, not multiplying. In fact, here’s your sword.” Would you be interested in joining us if our church motto said, “Hope Church – an army of sword bearers seeking to divide our families and our world?”
So what’s the deal? Jesus’ own life CLARIFIES what He means. Jesus taught that there were two gates, one small and one wide. The wide gate leads to a broad road and into hell and the narrow gate leads to a narrow road and into heaven. He indicated that people were like trees – either good growing good fruit or bad growing bad fruit. Jesus spoke about two foundations – one solid rock and the other sinking sand. Building on the rock provides for survival and strength whereas building on the sand leads to destruction. Jesus claimed he was the only way to the Father. He was the narrow gate, the good tree, the solid rock.