By Rev. Dr. Sergio Arevalo, Jr.
Los Angeles, CA
June 22, 2014 (2nd Sunday after Pentecost & LIS Sunday)
Last Friday we had our talent presentations and moving up ceremony for our preschool pupils. It was a wonderful event not only for children, and their parents, but also for us. It was a revelation of God’s love to them, to our church and to the preschool. We should thank the Lord for that noble activity. We should also thank our brethren who sacrifice their lives, treasures, and times just to serve them in one way or another: our director, Ate Jenny; our administrator, Kuya Raul; our member at large, Ate Becky and Ate Meds; our jacks of all trades, Ed and Tata; to our young people, RR, Joshua, Francis, to our teachers and staff, and to all our donors and prayer warriors.
Cooperation for the glory of God is a veracity of our discipleship. Indeed, discipleship is not just coming to church on Sundays if we are in the mood, and going home after the service. Discipleship is deeper than that in the seminary of Jesus Christ. We will surely experience at least these three things: (1) A disciple shall suffer like Jesus; (2) A disciple shall acknowledge Jesus, (3) A disciple shall bear the cost of following Jesus.
I. A Disciple Shall Suffer Like Jesus (v.24-25).
Matthew 10:20-26 explains that a disciple shall experience suffering like what Jesus experience. If he experienced that, we are not better than him. Jesus teaches us more the theology of the cross rather than theology of abundance. Jesus says, “If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they do the same to those of his household!”
However, Jesus encourages us not to fear enemies (v.26-31). Jesus says, “What I tell you in darkness you must speak in the daylight, and what is whispered in your ear you must shout from the housetops. Stop being afraid of those who kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell” (vv.27-28).
Jesus encourages his disciples to continue his mission to tell the truth. Jesus says, “What I tell you in darkness you must speak in the daylight, and what is whispered in your ear you must shout from the housetops” (v.27).
Telling the truth is hard sometimes but it is revealed in times of suffering and trials in life.
Jesus says “Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before people I, too, will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before people I, too, will deny before my Father in heaven.”
You might say that acknowledging Jesus before people is so easy. Yes, indeed, simply because we are in a free country, and Christianity is not persecuted. In North Korea nowadays when they acknowledge Jesus as their lord, they will be in trouble. Actually right now as I speak here, there is a so called holocaust camp in North Korea. North Korean government is persecuting those Christians who acknowledge Jesus in front of the government officials, and the military. It means death and persecution among them.
However, if we do the acknowledgment, Jesus will acknowledge us before our Father. But whoever denies Jesus before people. Jesus will also deny us before His Father.
Being a disciple, one should bear his/her own coast of discipleship.
III. A Disciple Shall Bear the Cost of Discipleship (vv.34-39).
Once again, Jesus said, “I came to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will include members of his own family.’ The one who loves his father or mother more than me isn’t worthy of me, and the one who loves a son or daughter more than me isn’t worthy of me” (vv.35-37).
In those words, Jesus is saying us that “we should love him more than our family members (even our mother, father, son, daughter, or spouse). Jesus also encourages us to take up our own cross and follow him, and he said, “The one who doesn’t take up his cross and follow me isn’t worthy of me.”
The government of Polish Prime Minister Jaruzelski had ordered crucifixes removed from classroom walls, just as they had been banned in factories, hospitals, and other public institutions. Catholic bishops and other Christians attacked the ban that had stirred waves of anger and resentment all across Poland.
Ultimately the government relented, insisting that the law remain on the books, but agreeing not to press for removal of the crucifixes, particularly in the schoolrooms.
But one zealous Communist school administrator in Garwolin decided that the law was the law. So one evening he had seven large crucifixes removed from lecture halls where they had hung since the school’s founding in the twenties. Days later, a group of parents entered the school and hung more crosses. The administrator promptly had these taken down as well.
The next day two-thirds of the school’s six hundred students staged a sit-in. When heavily armed riot police arrived, the students were forced into the streets. Then they marched, crucifixes held high, to a nearby church where they were joined by twenty-five hundred other students from nearby schools for a morning of prayer in support of the protest.
Soldiers surrounded the church. But the pictures from inside of students holding crosses high above their heads flashed around the world. So did the words of the priest who delivered the message to the weeping congregation that morning. “There is no Poland without a cross.” (sermonillustrations.com).
Indeed, sometimes we should not only bear our crosses, we should also offer our lives for Jesus (v.39). “The one who finds his life will lose it, and the one who loses his life because of me will find it.”
Those are the three things expected of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Are we willing to suffer for Jesus? Are we willing to acknowledge Jesus even in times of persecution? Are we willing to bear the cost of discipleship?
Martin Luther says, “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing” (sermonillustrations.com)