“Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge before My Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)
Before the joy of forgiveness and your newly found purpose can fill your heart, the unqualified uniqueness of the Savior has to first be discovered. A quiet inner decision must transpire before your faith can produce an authentic public acknowledgement. Jesus sought us first but then we had to discover Him!
Every veiled or overt human attempt to discredit or disregard heaven’s announcement of our Savior’s identity amounts to spiritual – suicide. Why? Because both of these actions negate His future acknowledgement all together!
The Lord Jesus’ two equally important titles must always remain inseparably intertwined. In His highest act of obedience, He willingly laid down His life as the “Son of Man.” Then, with eternal power, He took His life up again as the eternal “Son of God”! Later, after 500 people either saw, spoke, or ate with Him following His resurrection, He ascended back to His heavenly Kingdom. He was the preexistent “Word” who had always been and was sent by His Father to redeem us (see John 1:1-14).
The Lord Jesus briefly joined us here disguised in the humanity which He created (see Philippians 2:6-11). Both of His titles provided the backdrop for His sinless life. He was simultaneously the “Son of Man” and the “Son of God.” This explains why He alone could speak about our acknowledgement or personal denial with such authority. He specifically warned, “…whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)
This profound declaration vividly underscores the Lord’s high expectation of His disciples. It also reveals the specific importance which He places on our public witness. He never mentioned anyone’s being called to a mission of secret Christian discipleship. If men and women are redeemed and growing, they will want to learn how to share their faith.
The Lord’s true disciples will naturally desire to bear witness to His grace and divinity. However, if they are new believers and have not yet been discipled, they will not have reached their ministry potential. In that case, they will need to be shown how to share their faith and multiply spiritually. Consider Mark 4:8 “Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much.”
Historically, those who have personally experienced the Lord’s spiritual touch – have spontaneously sought to tell others about Him. That’s why Andrew soon introduced his brother Peter to the Lord. Growing new believers typically welcome the privilege of telling their own story! Why? Because they have personally experienced – God’s grace! That quality of His love is so contagious and compelling that it literally overflows. The Bible describes this saying, “… his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” (Luke 6:45)
In Matthew 12:30 the Bible explains that in God’s eyes, we are either with Jesus or against Him – so there is literally no middle ground! Additionally, every person we will meet this week will either be saved or lost! That reality is why – as Christians we are called to publicly acknowledge and faithfully converse with others about our risen Savior. We are greatly privileged to live with that resolve.
There is no time for looking back! Our Lord’s call to discipleship includes no provision for half-hearted commitment. Remember that His command was to, “…take up [your] cross daily and follow …” (Luke 9:23) Loving Him means a great deal more than merely showing up for worship on Sunday. It means seeking to publicly and privately live in step with His will every day of our lives!
As Christians, we are to pray for the Lord’s spiritual passion to do His Father’s will. He said to work, “while it is still daylight…” (John 9:4) In that Great Commission pursuit, we must studiously avoid simply dwelling on sentimental feelings about our past spiritual experiences. Instead, we are to boldly pray courageous prayers about our current service. The perpetual goal of every Christian disciple is to be His faithful witness here and now – where we are today!
By Billie Hanks Jr.