HAVE NO FEAR Matthew 10:5a, 21-33 Sermon

Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 with No comments


Predictions, projections, and best guesses—everyone likes to state what they think the future will hold. Meteorologists forecast the daily weather, sports journalists predict the outcome of a championship series, pollsters project the probable winner of an election, news commentators declare the direction of the nation, and futurists explain what the world will be like a few decades hence. In addition, our daily conversations are sprinkled with future talk: “Who do you think will win?” “What are your retirement plans?” “What will your son do after graduation?” Often these amateur prophecies are not fulfilled exactly as stated: Partly sunny turns into a downpour, the underdog becomes an upset victor, a technological breakthrough changes the way we live, and an unexpected event alters our plans. With biblical prophets, the story reads quite differently. Inspired by God, each of their predictions would come true, in exact detail. The Gospel of Matthew provides amazing examples of the power and accuracy of God’s prophets who had foretold the coming of the Messiah. From his humble birth by a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14) in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2), to his crucifixion (see Psalm 22:14, 16–17) with criminals (see Isaiah 53:12) and resurrection from the dead (see Psalm 16:10), Jesus did what the prophets had predicted—he fulfilled every prophecy and fit every description of the Jewish Savior. As you read this Gospel, follow the dramatic story, predicted in detail centuries before, of Jesus, the Messiah, King of kings and Lord of lords … and your Savior too.

Bruce B. Barton, Matthew, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), x–xi.

Matthew 10:1-33

English Standard Version

10 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans

Christ told his disciples to go to the Jews first with the Gospel. 

This doesn’t mean that Christ was only giving the Gospel to the Jewish people. It just meant that moment in time in Jesus’ ministry, he wanted the Gospel preached to his cultural group first. 

Today, that causes me to think.  Here in this church, it’s easy to assume that everyone has a complete grasp on the gospel message. It’s easy to assume that our Lutheran, Christian group gets it. But do you realize that as Christians, we need the Gospel just as much as non-believers do? Do you think here in America that Christians understand the Gospel? I believe there is tremendous confusion even in our churches about who Jesus is, what he accomplished, and why it matters. I believe we have to have a clear understanding of the Gospel before we can go out and preach it. Because make no mistake, the pure Word of God will challenge and create a reaction in those who hear it. I do not believe you can be a Christian in today’s world and escape some kind of persecution for your faith. This is why Christ tells us to be both wise and innocent. We are in a world where Christianity is becoming more and more hated. But have no fear. Jesus has us covered. 

Persecution Will Come – 

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.



Get flogged, dragged before leaders

Don’t be nervous; the Spirit will speak through you.

Families will betray each other

All will hate you because of Christ

Endure to the end to be saved. 

Leave if you are persecuted. 

Israel still needs the Gospel.

A disciple is not above his teacher, but may be like his teacher. 

If they called Jesus the devil, what will they call you? 

Jesus likens the enemies of the Gospel to ravenous wolves. That is serious language that we should not be taken lightly.  Then he says that we should be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. I know that there is the serpent in the Garden, but in the Eastern parts of the world, serpents are revered for their wisdom and intelligence. I married a Chinese woman; serpents are respected in their culture. We have to be cunning and pure to make it in this world. We’re gonna get persecuted. Today, all around the world, Christians are being martyred, thrown in jail, they’re having their property confiscated, all these things. Families are turning on each other. In many cults and other religions, family members will in fact disown you or turn you in to authorities if you convert to Christianity. And that’s getting off easy. Jesus predicted the utter hatred the world will have for us. But the Spirit of God will give us boldness and wisdom to speak in front of people, wisdom that the world cannot contradict (Luke 10:10). But those that endure will be saved. Remember this Christian walk is a marathon. Maybe an ultramarathon. Jesus also said to expect opposition, but don’t foolishly throw our lives away. If we are persecuted in one location, it’s okay to leave. Jesus said that he would never be beneath us, but we could be like him. Now if we are like him, and they called Jesus the devil, of course people will say horrible things about us. But have no fear. Jesus is near. 

Now what did Jesus mean by saying that the disciples would not go through all the towns in Israel before the Son of Man came?  Because of the events of the book of Acts, it seems more likely that Jesus was referring to events after his resurrection. The meaning of his words would be that the task of the mission to the Jews would be so great and so difficult (for many would refuse to believe) that it would not be accomplished even by the time of his second coming.

Bruce B. Barton, Matthew, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), 209–210.

It’s hard sometimes to see Christ being near us when we are being persecuted. Since the time of Jesus, his followers have endured some of the most horrible atrocities. 

Besides being put to death they [Christians under Nero’s persecution] were made to serve as objects of amusement; they were clad in the hides of beasts and torn to death by dogs; others were crucified; others set on fire to serve to illuminate the night. Tacitus, Roman historian

Bruce B. Barton, Matthew, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), 208.

Hebrews tells us in chapter 11 Verses 35-38 Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

This is referring to a lot of the saints of the Old Testament, but in Jesus’ time and after his time ,the church faced horrible persecution from the Romans.  And today, many Christians are still being martyred. But Jesus tells us to have no fear.

Have No Fear

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Don’t fear the authorities. 

The covered will be revealed, the hidden will be known

Repeat what I say in the dark in the light

Proclaim what is whispered on the housetops.

Don’t fear those who have no say over your immortal soul. 

No sparrow falls without the Father.

Our hairs are numbered.

Acknowledge Me; I’ll Acknowledge You.

Deny me; I’ll deny you.  

Christ is describing the great love that the Father has for us. He says that everything that is done to us as his believers will be revealed and exposed to the light. Christ says, we cannot fear those who have no immortal hold on us. Why should we be afraid of them? Even the sparrows don’t fall from trees without the Father being there. And if our hairs our numbered, how can we doubt the incredible love which the Father, Son and Spirit all have for us? 

For one thing, Jesus never commands us to meet insults with more insults. 

STICKS AND STONES Jesus was accused of being Beelzebub, and he told his followers to expect the same treatment. Words are powerful weapons, and Jesus’ disciples can count on hearing a good number of bad ones slung at them. When you’re the victim of intimidation or slander, keep your cool. Jesus took those knocks too. Instead of getting testy, try laughing a little, and if that doesn’t quiet the name-calling, try a solid, forthright, clear-eyed comeback such as, “Would you please stop? That hurts, and it’s not true.” Trading insult for insult is never Jesus’ way.

Bruce B. Barton, Matthew, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), 210.

WHEN BAD NEWS COMES During the Vietnam war, the worst sight in the world (State-side) was two dress uniforms walking up to a door. It meant a casualty at that house, and many tears were shed at those doorsteps. Bad news comes. People without an anchor—without God—are shaken to the foundations. Grief strikes us all with bitter arrows, but God’s people rest in hope, respond with courage, and live on by faith. God’s care for each of us is greater than the enemy’s hatred. Grieve when bad news comes, but don’t fear. Have No Fear. 

Bruce B. Barton, Matthew, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), 212.

It has never ceased to amaze me that we Christians have developed a kind of selective vision which allows us to be deeply and sincerely involved in worship and church activities and yet almost totally pagan in the day-in, day-out guts of our business lives … and never realize it. Keith Miller

Bruce B. Barton, Matthew, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996), 213.

Folks, we can trust in the goodness of Jesus Christ, even in the face of persecution. With Christianity being more and more marginalized, we can know that the hairs of our heads are still numbered, and the Lord has our back, always.