Word of the Cross Bible Study – February 22nd, 2012

When a person accepts Christ as Savior, the profession carries with it certain consequences, not particularly desirable as the human naturally seeks comforts in this life.

Read Matthew 10:34-39 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (ESV)

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth” - The word "earth: is said by scholars to better translate "land." Whereas, the expectation of the Jews was, that, when the Messiah should come, all prosperity should be accumulated on the land of Judea. This was grounded on several prophecies of the Old Testament, not rightly understood by them at that time. The importance of our Lord's teaching here is this. Do not imagine, as the Jews in general did, that he came to take dominion over world powers as to bring prosperity to those who seek the one God of Abraham.

“I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” - By the "sword" may be meant the word of truth or Gospel, which is the means of dividing and separating the people of Christ from those of the world, and from their principles and practices. That his word would cause divisions, discords, and persecutions for those who are faithful. It was not the intention of Christ, in coming into the world, to cause such things; but this, through the evil and wickedness of men, was eventually the effect and consequence of his coming.

Luke 12:51 reads "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division."

And a person's enemies will be those of his own household - The Lord here and the former verse is referring to their own traditions in teaching. He is quoting from Hebriaic literature, namely Babylonian Talmud: Sotah, folio 49 and Babylonian Talmud: Sanhedrin, folio 97a. Also, Isaiah 3:5 and Micah 7:6 make equal references.

Matthew 10:21 reads "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.

Christ having strengthened the minds of his disciples, proceeds to open more largely and particularly the sorrows, troubles, and afflictions they must expect as the faithful his Gospel. As true followers of Christ should not only be persecuted and betrayed, and delivered up into the hands of the civil authorities, by persons that were strangers to them; but even by their nearest relatives. This reveals the corruption of human nature, its enmity to the Gospel of Christ, and the malice and hatred of Satan against Christ and those of him.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me…” - The intent of this passage is, to show, that as Christ is infinitely above all creatures, he is to be loved above the nearest and dearest relations and friends. That person therefore, that prefers father and mother over Christ, and their instructions, and their preferences, to the truths and ordinances of Christ: who, to please them, breaks the commands of Christ, rejects his Gospel, and either denies him, or does not confess him by choice. He whom we love the most is he whom we strive most to please. We cannot "...love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." Deut. 6:5 if another is preferred on earth over God.

“…is not worthy of me” - or "fit for me": Is not appropriate to be regarded as a follower of me, or is not a Christian. It is not fit and proper, that such a person should name the name of Christ, or be called by his name, and should be considered one of his disciples. They are not fit to be a member of the church of Christ on earth, nor for the kingdom of heaven

“And whoever does not take his cross” - When persons were condemned to be crucified, a part of the sentence was that they should carry the cross on which they were to die to the place of execution. To carry it was burdensome, was disgraceful as it was an addition to the punishment. So "to carry the cross" is a figurative expression, denoting that we must endure whatever is burdensome, or is trying, or is considered disgraceful, in following Christ.

“Whoever finds his life will lose it” - He that is anxious to save his "temporal" life, or his comfort and security here, shall lose "eternal" life, or shall fail of heaven. He that is willing to risk or lose his comfort and "life" here for my sake, shall find "life" everlasting, or shall be saved. The manner of speaking is similar to that where he said, "Let the dead bury their dead." Matthew 8:22.