The Messiah’s Opposition Grows
Read Matthew 10-12 out loud
After demonstrating his authority in power through miracles of healing, Jesus confers authority to his disciples to minister in the same way. Before Jesus sends his disciples out among the Jews, he instructs them about how they are to minister and warns them about the persecution they will face. This instruction is recorded in chapter ten which ends with the promise of blessing for those who welcome the apostles and receive their ministry.
Chapter eleven opens with Jesus’ disciples being sent out to minister while John the Baptist’s disciples are being sent out to inquire about Jesus’ identity. With John in prison, there was some doubt about whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah – the person who many believed would immediately bring a new political kingdom. Jesus affirms his Messiahship by citing Isaiah 29 and Isaiah 35. He then goes on to clarify John the Baptist’s role as a new Elijah before warning against unrepentance and inviting his hearers to rest in him.
In Chapter twelve, opposition against Jesus by the religious authority grows. They criticize Jesus’ disciples for collecting food on the Sabbath, conspire to destroy Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, and attribute Jesus’ power to Satan. In response, Jesus asserts his authority over the Sabbath and calls out the religious elite for their evil and hypocrisy. With the opponents of Jesus clearly identified, chapter twelve ends by identifying Jesus’ family as whoever does the Father’s will.
- Why is Jesus’ gospel so divisive? According to chapter 10, what are the challenges Jesus’ disciples will face? What are the promises he gives them in the face of those challenges?
- How does chapter 10 encourage you to walk in true discipleship by making Jesus’ gospel known to others?
- Reflect on Matthew 11:25-30. In what ways are you weary and heavy-laden? What would it look like for you to rest in Jesus today?
- In Matt. 12:33, Jesus says “the tree is known by its fruit.” What does this mean? What actions/words in chapter 12 exemplified the fruit of the religious authorities?
- According to Matt. 12:48-50, what ‘fruit’ shows that someone is part of Jesus’ family?
Ask God to give you grace to do His will and courage to proclaim His gospel with boldness as you live in light of Jesus’ authority.