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Commentary on Matthew 10:34-11:1 by B. W. Johnson, The People's New Testament (1891)

34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. Christ has to conquer a peace by overcoming the evil that is in the way of peace. Hence, to preach the gospel of purity and peace always arouses the opposition of the evil doer. Evil has to be put down before peace can prevail. Hence, while the great end that Christ proposes is peace, the immediate result of his coming, and of the preaching of the gospel, was opposition and bloodshed. I come . . . but a sword. The only sword that Christ or his followers use in the conflict is the Sword of the Spirit, but the persecutor has in every age turned upon them the carnal sword. The sword is sent, because persecutors use it upon the church.

35. For I come to set a man at variance with his father. This was not the Savior's object, but the effect. The conversion of individual members of the family would cause variance. In nearly all quarrels, except those about religion, the members of the same family stand together, but in religious feuds the family circle is often broken and its parts arrayed against each other.

36. A man's foes shall be of his own household. This has been verified thousands of times. Many a convert has been turned out of home and banished by kindred, because he had confessed Christ.

37. He that loveth father or mother more than me. The Lord does not require us to love these less, but him more. Love for him must become the dominant principle of life. Is not worthy of me. Will not be accepted as worthy.

38. He that taketh not his cross. Luke adds, daily; not once, but all the time. The cross is the pain of the self-denial required. The cross is the symbol of doing our duty, even at the cost of the most [63] painful death. Christ obeyed God, and carried out his work of the salvation of men, though it required him to die upon the cross in order to do it. And ever since, the cross has stood as the emblem, not of suffering, but of suffering for the sake of Christ and his gospel. And follow me. To follow Christ is to take him for our master, our teacher, our example; to believe his doctrines, to uphold his cause, to obey his precepts, and to do it though it leads to heaven by the way of the cross.

39. He that findeth his life shall lose it. Whoever counts his life of so much value that he will preserve it by sacrificing his Christian integrity, or will renounce his religion to save his life, will find in the end that he has lost his soul forever for the sake of a few fleeting years; while he who gives up all things, even life itself, will find an abundant reward in the life eternal. All self-seeking is self-losing. The Divine law is always to give in order to receive.

40. He that receiveth you, receiveth me. They would go forth in Christ's name, as his servants and ambassadors. They carried his message, and to receive it and them was virtually receiving him.

41. In the name of a prophet. That is, because he is a prophet. The apostles themselves were prophets.

42. Whosoever shall give to drink to these little ones. By the "little ones" are probably meant Christ's disciples. A cup of cold water only. The smallest act of kindness. If done "because he was a disciple," or out of regard for Christ, he should never lose his reward. Good deeds are never lost. Note the six things here spoken of as belonging to discipleship of Christ: (1) Confessing, or professing; (2) Fighting; (3) Bearing his standard (the cross); (4) Suffering; (5) Following; (6) Giving up life. These are all the duties of the soldier.

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