We reflect on Sunday’s sermon from Matthew 10:34-42.

Isn’t it strange that Christmas cards say things like, “All is calm”, or “Wishing you joy and peace”, when Jesus clearly said, “Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth”? I was perfectly happy pondering this question at the beginning of the sermon on Sunday—much better than feeling the guilt of not having sent any Christmas cards yet. But then I was reminded that Jesus’ words here are painfully true.

We’ve all felt the pain of division caused by our allegiance to Jesus. I remember some awkward conversations I have had at work about my faith. Colleagues looking at me incredulously and asking, “Do you really believe that?” I have had so many positive talks with coworkers about my faith, but it’s these tough conversations that often spring to mind. We come to expect opposition from the world, but it still can be a surprise when, as we saw in Matthew 10:34-42, the opposition comes from our own family. For some of us, it is this division that is the most painful of all.

As we dwelt on those memories, we heard: “Jesus demands absolute allegiance”. Now the memories I had of division, ranging from awkward to painful, were coupled with the reminder of our obligation to Jesus. It was hard not to feel anxious, and if I am honest with myself, the obligation felt in that moment to be such a burden. My motivation was low, and even partial allegiance felt like a chore. I was dreading absolute allegiance.

I think what came next however, was exactly what I needed to hear: “Jesus deserves absolute allegiance”.

Jesus deserves absolute allegiance because he is the King of kings! Matthew 8–10 has been proving this to us over the last few months. We know that he is the name above all names, the ruler of all authorities in heaven and on earth.

Jesus deserves absolute allegiance because he is the King of love! His incredible love, as shown by his willingness to go to the cross and die for undeserving sinners, proves that he deserves our absolute allegiance.

Feeling anxious in response to Jesus’ demand for absolute allegiance is natural. Conversations about my faith will sometimes be awkward and division caused by our allegiance will be painful. But knowing that Jesus is requesting of us only what He deserves reassures me that I am doing the right thing and for the right reason. I need to see Him in all His glory as the King of kings. I need to remember all that he has done for us, loving us when we were unlovable. Having this right view fills me with great confidence and thanksgiving for Jesus, and it puts his demand for absolute allegiance in perspective.

This week I am going to dwell on this truth that Jesus deserves absolute allegiance. The verse we heard on Sunday, 2 Corinthians 8:9, will be a great place to start:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

Jesus demands absolute allegiance because he deserves it. Isn’t that a wonderful truth to know?