Matthew 10:27–11:1 (NKJV, also appearing in Mark 6:12-13; Luke 9:6, 12:1–12)
27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Jesus continues to describe a radical discipleship here that–in some ways–transcends that of the Jewish leaders. He tells His disciples things in private, then instructs them to preach it on the housetops. He has already told people not to tell of His wondrous works, yet they do anyway. He speaks of a powerful courage that oversteps the fear of retribution, and reminds them of his disciples’ great value to Him. He finally ties favor and Godly approval to confession. This is not confession of sin, but confession of faith and identification with Jesus Christ.
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after 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 in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”
11 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.
The latter part of this passage speaks to the need to sacrifice, if necessary, the most dear things from your life pre-Christ for those things that God holds dear, post-Christ encounter. Peace is not as virtuous as obedience to God. Relationship with Christ is more dear than relationship–even with family! Your own life is not the ultimate experience, but rather life with Christ and the reward He will give.
Jesus then instructs his disciples to honor those who are His vessels of leadership and of His word. Receive a prophet, receive a righteous man, and their reward will be yours as well. But also, give a cup of water to a little one. Little one could represent a child or a person of low stature in the social structure. Either way, God tells us to bless those who may seem unimportant or lowly. God is ushering in a selfless idealogy that honors leadership and the lowly. a discipleship that is selfless in its focus. We must give honor to those who are above and below, for God’s discipleship is not self-centered. Unlike the Pharisees who announce every good day they might do from the street corners, Jesus instructs His disciples to honor Him.
Artwork from: https://ymi.today/2015/03/typography-matthew-1028/