Acknowledging Christ ~ the following is taken from "Study Guide for Matthew 10", by David Guzik: 6. (Matthew 10:32-39) The attitude Jesus’ disciples must be equipped with. “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
a. Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven: The disciple must confess Jesus publicly – before men. If we will not be public about our allegiance to Him, we cannot expect Him to be public about His allegiance to us.
i. Everyone Jesus called He called publicly. There is really no such thing as a “secret”
Christian, at least not in a permanent sense. This is a contradiction in terms – an oxymoron.
ii. Each individual Christian life should supply enough evidence – evidence that can be seen by the world – that they are indeed Christians. It is to be feared that many modern Christians, if arrested for the crime of following Jesus and tried in a court, would have the charges dismissed for a lack of evidence.
iii. “What Christ is to you on earth, that you will be to Christ in heaven. I shall repeat that truth. Whatever Jesus Christ is to you on earth, you will be to him in the day of judgment. If he be dear and precious to you, you will be precious and dear to him. If you thought everything of him, he will think everything of you.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
iv. Yet we dare not miss that Jesus here claimed that one’s eternal destiny depended upon their response to Him. “This ‘egocentricity’ is a striking characteristic of the teaching of Jesus. ‘It is without parallel in the world of Jesus’ (Jeremias, NTT, pp. 250-255). Even more remarkably, the saying is patterned on 1 Samuel 2:30, where the one honoured or despised is God himself.” ~ R.T. France
b. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword: The message of Jesus – as reflected in the Sermon on the Mount – is indeed a message of peace. Yet since it calls the individual to a radical commitment to Jesus Himself, it is a message of peace that divides between those who choose it and those who reject it. The division between these two choices explains how Jesus did not come to bring peace but a sword.
c. For I have come to “set a man against his father”
…and “a man’s enemies will be those of his own household”
: The dividing line between those who accept Jesus and those who reject Him would even run through families. The sword Jesus spoke of would sometimes cut through families.
d. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: In strong terms, Jesus explained that the disciple must love and follow Jesus supremely. Our devotion to Jesus must come above even our own household.
i. We should expect that normally, following Jesus makes us better husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, sons, daughters and so forth. Yet there are times when the presence of Jesus divides rather than unifies.
ii. The greatest danger of idolatry comes not from what is bad, but from what is good – like love in family relationships. The greatest danger to the best comes from second best.
e. Take his cross and follow after Me: The disciple must follow Jesus even to the place of taking his cross. When a person took a cross in Jesus’ day, it was for one reason: to die. The ancient Roman cross did not negotiate, did not compromise, and did not make deals. There was no looking back when you took up your cross, and your only hope was in resurrection life.
i. His cross: Your cross isn’t really your particular trial or trouble. The cross means one thing: death – death to self, but resurrection life unto God.
ii. This is the first mention of the cross in Matthew’s Gospel, and it is not directly associated with Jesus’ own crucifixion. Such an extreme statement – likening discipleship with the horror of crucifixion, something too terrible to be mentioned in polite company – must have jarred the disciples.
iii. Yet they knew what the cross was all about. “Crucifixion itself was not an uncommon sight in Roman Palestine; ‘cross-bearing’ language would have a clear enough meaning, even before they realized how literally he himself was to exemplify it.” ~ R.T. France
iv. “When the Roman general, Varus, had broken the revolt of Judas in Galilee [4 bc], he crucified two thousand Jews, and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee.” ~ John Barclay
f. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it: The disciple lives in a paradox. He can only find life by losing it, and he can only live by dying. Resurrection life can only come after we take up our cross to follow Jesus.
i. “Bearing the cross, we are to follow after Jesus: to bear a cross without following Christ is a poor affair. A Christian who shuns the cross is no Christian; but a crossbearer who does not follow Jesus equally misses the mark.” ~ Charles Spurgeon https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Mat/Mat-10.cfm?a=939034