Matthew 10:5a, 24-25 - These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, ... "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 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."
You probably remember a children's game called "Follow the Leader." A group of children choose a leader and follow in a line behind him or her. They go where the leader goes and they do what the leader does. And what happens to the leader happens to them—if he gets muddy, so do they. If she gets burrs in her socks, so do they. Children accept those things as part of the game.
Jesus tells us that it's the same way for us when we follow Jesus. We must go where He goes and do what He does. If Jesus goes to places or among people we are not comfortable with, we follow Him. If Jesus cares for people in ways that take more time or commitment than we're used to, we do that too—and become more and more like Him in the process. And if trouble comes to Jesus—and it did—we can expect it to come to us as well. All these things are part of being Jesus' disciples.
It's kind of Him to warn us, isn't it? Because a lot of us have got it stuck in our heads that if we are nice to people and do good things, the world will treat us kindly. But it doesn't happen that way. Sooner or later, someone we help will betray us; someone we've defended will lie about us; someone we've trusted and loved will sacrifice us to get something they want more. And then we are shocked.
When that happens, turn to your leader, to Jesus. He is the One who came into this world for your sake, though He knew full well what it would cost Him—hard work, suffering, and death on a cross at the end. He knows your suffering as well. Trust Him to bring you safely through it. Lean on His gentle strength and understanding. At the right time, He will raise you up again, even as He Himself rose from the dead for our sakes. In this life we will certainly suffer, but we will also certainly rise again—because Jesus is in charge, and we belong to Him.
WE PRAY: Lord, help me as I follow You, especially in the hard times. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When has following Jesus got you into something you were not expecting?
2. How do you feel about that experience now, looking back on it?
3. Right now, would you say that you are living through a hard part or an easy part of following Jesus?
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