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August 7 2010 at 2:26 AM

Kate  (Login kateothelamp)

Response to Let's try to stick

V: How can one possibly understand the words of Jesus in either of these passages to be metaphorical? I mean, if they ARE metaphorical, "someone" very long ago should already have come up with the allegory that Jesus was relating to his disciples.

The concept of the "sword" is allegorical. It is symbolic of strife and division (as it is described in Luke). The strife and division Jesus was talking about were very, very real.

So, here is what happened in Matthew:

1He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil[a] spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

Notice, Jesus does not say, "Never go to the Gentiles, nor the Samaritans". At this time, Jesus was trying to reach the lost sheep of Israel. They were the people who had been promised the Messiah, had been waiting for the Messiah, and when he was right there with them, they did not recognize him or did not believe in him. This is not the Great Commission. That came after Jesus' resurrection, in Matthew 28 -- 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Same author, just later on in the same book.

7As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[b]drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.

He told them to go, now, with no provisions and no preparation. And this was a huge leap of faith for them: he was imbuing them with his power so they could do these miraculous things -- but they had to believe in him, and have confidence that they would be given these abilities. And it was an important testing ground for them, too. Because later on when given the Great Commission, they would have to go out into the world, to people outside of their own culture, people who had not been expecting a savior and who would have absolutely no idea who Jesus was. And Jesus would no longer be there physically with them to calm the storms and help them walk on water.

11"Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

It was not going to be easy for them. Not everyone would welcome them or listen to them. Then they should not try to force things, just shake the dust from their feet and go on. And the town will regret having rejected Jesus. And notice the allegory: sending out sheep among the wolves. Jesus didn't literally turn his disciples into sheep.

17"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

They would be persecuted -- by fellow Jews (flogged in synagogues), by Gentiles, and betrayed even by family members, being turned over to the authorities -- they would be hated because of Jesus.

24"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub,[c] how much more the members of his household!

26"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[d]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e]

Here he is quoting Micah 7:6, again letting the disciples know that there would be such division that even their family members might hate them and betray them.

37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

40"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

This isn't the best way to recruit someone for a job =) He told the disciples to be prepared to be rejected, persecuted, hated, betrayed by their own families, imprisoned, flogged, and possibly put to death. But the only way through this, the only way to endure this and still share the message of God's Kingdom, is to love Jesus -- therefore, love God -- more than you love your own family, more than you love your own life. Not an uplifting message -- if I'd been one of the twelve, I would have been scared to death.

So...I don't see at all that Jesus was instructing people to kill their family members, with or without swords. Good night =)

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