At times you don’t want to be associated with someone else (parents and teens sometimes feel that way about each other). But in Matthew 10:32 Christ calls you to acknowledge him.
Confess Christ! Acknowledge Christ as your Lord. Jesus summons his disciples, about to set out on their initial missionary trip, to be willing to acknowledge their association with him. That would not be easy in the face of opposition. Jesus calls you to confess gladly your relationship with him. Acknowledge that he is your Savior. Be willing to submit to him as your Lord.
Acknowledge him before men. Your coming to the Lord’s Table should express the commitment of your heart. It also is a public acknowledgment that you belong to and trust in him. But what begins in your heart must be worked out in your life. Confessing Christ includes walking in his paths, obeying his Word, glorifying him in your daily work. It includes a public profession of faith before God’s people. As the One who suffered humiliation, he is easy to deny. Faith in him seems foolish to some, an offense to others. “He [Jesus] speaks as the humble and humiliated subject, the One whom it is easy to be ashamed of.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Self-Disclosure of Jesus, p. 84). Both Peter and Paul faced situations in which they were tempted to deny Christ.
Take up your cross. Commitment to Christ means conflict with the world. Jesus makes it clear that the world’s treatment of him shows how it will treat you. Because he is the messianic King, the world rejects him as king, and opposes the subjects in the kingdom. Jesus came to bring not peace, but a sword, v.34. If you acknowledge Jesus, you may not be the most popular student at school. You may earn scorn from co-workers. Family may consider you crazy. You may find yourself unemployed or facing fines.
Put Christ before all else. Put Christ above even your family, v. 37. That is a strong commandment, especially given the middle eastern emphasis on family. Take up your cross, v.38. That is a call to total commitment. We use the cross as a symbol, even as jewelry. But Jesus’ hearers had seen men literally take up their cross. When a man did, surrounded by Roman soldiers, he began a journey from which there was no return. “Jesus speaks as the Christ in whose person and work lies the last and the greatest decision for the world and for man; in whom God comes to the world with his grace and justice, with his salvation and curse.” (Herman Ridderbos The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 94).
Do not be afraid—you are worth more than many sparrows. Jesus presents a challenge, a challenge that may seem frightening. But he also speaks words of reassurance. The Father knows the hairs of your head. No detail of your life is too small to escape the Father’s notice. You are not simply a cog in a cosmic wheel. Not even a sparrow falling is beyond the will of your Father. No detail of life on earth (or any other event in the universe) happens apart from the will of the Father. You and I may not understand, some of what happens may indeed be evil (and God is not the author of evil), but ultimately God is in control. It is your Father who knows all these things and is concerned about you. Jesus reminds you that this God whose knowledge and power are infinite, whose power is unlimited, this God is your Father! This is a relationship that he bears specifically to those who trust in his Son. “When he informs us that the hairs of our head are all numbered, it is not to encourage trivial speculations, but to instruct us to depend on the fatherly care of God which is exercised over these frail bodies.” (John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospels).
Christ will acknowledge you before his Father. Your Lord took up his own cross so that he could acknowledge you before his Father. Your Lord took up his own cross so that he could acknowledge you before his Father. This is the first mention of a cross in Matthew’s gospel. As Jesus tells his disciples (and you) to take up their crosses, he must have thought of the cross which was his own destination. The suffering he would undergo there would satisfy the perfect righteousness of God. It would reconcile you to God and God to you. Continue to remember the suffering and death of your Lord.
Christ’s acknowledgment of you anticipates the great day of judgment. Christ did accomplish what he set out to do when he died in your place. He has brought you to the Father. People in this rebellious world may not be impressed with Christ acknowledging you. But he will make that confession, not just before men, but before his Father in heaven. That great day will right all wrongs. Christ will return (and that’s part of what we celebrate in his Supper) and will claim you as his own. The One before whom he confesses you is his Father (note it is not our Father here—Christ is the unique Son of the Father).
Be willing to confess Christ before men—as you come to his Table, and as you live this week. Remember that his confessing you means the glory of heaven for eternity.