The Sabbath played a big role in the worsening relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees. Matthew gives us only these two stories. By the end of the second story, we learn that Pharisees are planning to kill Jesus partly because of his views on the Sabbath.
For people who are self-satisfied and indifferent to God, miracles change nothing. They believe they already have wisdom and they reject Jesus. But those who are know they are needy and weary understand the miracles and embrace the wisdom of Jesus teaching. To them Jesus promises rest.
What Malachi predicted is finally happening. This generation finally stands in the presence of the herald and the Messiah. How does this generation receive that message? Jesus explains with an analogy: Jesus and John are like children sitting in the marketplace playing the flute and calling to their friends to dance, but their friends refuse
Jesus was so different from the Messiah people expected, even John the Baptist had moments where he wondered if Jesus was the Messiah. If he’s really a prophet, how could John become confused? In this passage, Jesus answers that question.
Matthew shifts his focus to the how people respond to Jesus. Most reject him. Even John the Baptist becomes confused, because Jesus is not acting like the Messiah he expected.
Jesus ends this discourse by telling the Twelve their role is like the prophets. They are standing in the place of Jesus. How people respond to the apostles reveals how they respond to Jesus.
Ultimately Jesus’ role is to bring peace and restoration to the earth, but not yet. Now he came to bring a sword because his message requires a choice and that choice divides even families. To follow Jesus, you must be willing to live with that rejection and hostility, even if it means losing your closest family members or your very life.
All of us face the question: What am I going to believe so much that it changes the way I think, respond and make choices? I make those decisions based on what or who I fear most. Jesus says the wisest choice is to fear God.
Matthew 10:23 is one of the most difficult verses in the New Testament. It raises many eschatological problems. This podcast provides an overview of the options and issues.
On this journey, Jesus deliberately makes his apostles dependent on the hospitality of the children of Israel by instructing them not to take provisions. The apostles might expect they are launching a victory tour, but they will learn first-hand how the children of Israel will reject the Messiah.