Summary: Our role in taking on the burdens of others and living a Christian life.
2nd Pentecost 11
Life and simple acts of kindness.
Mathew 10: 40-42
This morning’s gospel is one of the shortest in the lectionary only being 2 verses long so I wanted to back up and take in two more verses so that this will make more sense to you the hearer.
38* and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39* He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. 40* "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. 41* He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42* And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." RSV
In this section, Jesus is speaking about the "life of burdens" that a Christian lives. He is talking about suffering and hardship.
Dietrich Bonheoffer the German theologian once wrote to his sister saying: "It is good to learn early enough that suffering and God are not a contradiction but rather a unity, for the idea that God himself is suffering is one that has always been one of the most convincing teachings of Christianity. I think God is nearer to suffering than to happiness, and to find God in this way gives peace and rest and a strong and courageous heart."
We live a life which is filled with the reality of living in a sinful and less than perfect world. Jesus is speaking about what has come to be called, "a theology of the cross"!! This theology says that through the brokenness of this world, through "crosses" life will be redeemed and renewed. Jesus is reminding the disciples and us that life is not easy. Living on this earth is very difficult. You and I will have "crosses" to bear. Life will not be easy. Living as a Christian, as a believer, in this world with the power of Satan to harness, means of life that is difficult, a "A Life of Burdens".
Sometimes, I think, Satan works extra hard to drive those away who are the most faithful to Christ. It seems that Satan is alive and well especially in the church. Jesus knew that. He knew life would be difficult for His followers especially after He ascended into heaven. Jesus speaks about this difficult life over and over again in the gospels.
In Matthew 16:24-28 He says, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Again in Mark 8: 34 and in Luke 9:23-27 and again in Luke 14:25-27, he says the same thing. This theme of a "rough road" is repeated again and again in the gospels.
Not only does this theme of cross bearing appear again and again, but also the idea of division, of a sword appears all over the gospels, as in this text for today and in Matt. 10: 21 it says, "Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death." And we find similar text in Mark, Luke as well as John. Also in the Old Testament we find such texts as in Micah 7:1-7 and we could go on and on.