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. And HE WHO does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. HE WHO finds his life will lose it, and HE WHO loses his life for My sake will find it. HE WHO receives you receives Me, and HE WHO receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 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. 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. (Matthew 10:37-42)
The Story Of Who
Discipleship with Jesus is about the WHO. When people heard the teaching of Jesus they were astonished. It was unlike anything they had heard before. The Lord came with plain speech directed at the hypocrisy that pervaded the spirits of God’s people for centuries. He wanted His followers to return to the old paths of truth and obedience of His Father. When the Lord sent out the twelve disciples he strictly warned them of the trials of their journey. Along with personal choices the twelve had to make Jesus outlined the message they were to deliver to the people. It is a message that many would not tolerate today.
Christ did not come to bring peace for men but rather offer peace to man. His teaching would separate families because one would believe and another disbelieve. It seems harsh to consider that within a family the teachings of the Lord would cause division and through the teaching of God families would be separated. The teaching of Jesus is the same message from the beginning: nothing can stand before obedience to God. If love for mother or father is more important than love for God then salvation is forfeited. Even if love for our own children exceeds the love we have for the Father there can be no hope. The Lord rejects anyone who does not put His Father first. HE WHO!
To be a follower of the Christ there is a cross to bear. This language does not have the sting as it did in the First Century. We have taken the cross of Jesus and made jewelry out of it. It is fashioned as gold, silver, wood or some beautiful jewel to admire. For the people who heard Jesus the cross was a horrific instrument of death. Hanging a cross around the neck for the first disciples would be like putting a hangman’s noose or guillotine around the neck. The cross was abhorrent! Jesus said that if you want to follow Him you have to take up an instrument of surrender and death. This suggests complete obedience. When a person takes up a cross they are going to a place where they will die. Following Jesus Christ requires a death to self. Anything less is not accepted. HE WHO!
There is joy in rejecting family and taking up a cross for the Lord. Losing a family because of truth will find its reward in eternity. Many Christians were crucified (literally) for their faith. The difference for the follower of God is that life is about the blessings of eternity. Jesus plainly shows that you can have everything in this life like family and ease of worldly joys but without God will lose your soul. Persecutions will come in the lives of God’s people but losing life here for Christ gives life in Heaven. Living and dying for the sake of Christ is the eternal reward. HE WHO.
One of the important parts of being a disciple of Jesus is a spirit of benevolence. The Lord takes note of those who care for His people. Something as small as a cup of cold water to a little person means a lot to Jesus. Nothing is unimportant to the compassionate heart of God’s people. There is a sense of steel and velvet to the service of God. When men follow His word it may seem harsh and difficult yet through a love for others kindness is shown from a simple cup of water. All of this matters. HE WHO.
They [Christians] walk in humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them, and they love one another. They despise not the widow, and grieve not the orphan. He that hath distributeth liberally to him that hath not. (Aristeides, Apology, c. 150)