Matthew 10:39 MEANING

Matthew 10:39
(39) He that findeth his life.--The word is the same as that translated "soul" (i.e., that by which man lives in the lower or the higher sense of life) in Matthew 10:28. The point of the maxim lies in the contrast between the two senses. To gain the lower now is to lose the higher hereafter, and conversely, to lose the lower for the sake of Christ (i.e., to die a martyr's death in confessing Him) is to gain the higher.

Verse 39. - Besides Matthew 16:25 and parallel passages (vide supra), cf. also Luke 17:33 and even John 12:25. Observe that in our chapter vers. 37, 38 arc equivalent to Luke 14:26, 27; vers. 38, 39 to Luke 9:23, 24; ver. 39 to Luke 17:33. A comparison of the various passages leads to the inference that the original occasion of vers. 37, 38 was that of Luke 14:26, 27, and the original occasion of ver. 39 was that of Matthew 16:25. Thus our passage is a compendium, and Matthew 16:25 is either a modification by our Lord of an earlier thought, or, more probably, another "setting" of the utterance in place of something that corresponded to it. Luke 17:33, on the other hand, may be a modification by our Lord, or an insertion made in the process of the composition of the Gospel. He that findeth; found (Revised Version margin); ὁ εὑρών: but unnecessarily, the statement is timeless, and the inherent thought of completion is contained also in our present tense. Findeth; after expenditure of trouble, and so Matthew 16:25 with parallel passages, "wish to save," and Luke 17:33, "seek to gain." Observe also the idea of acquiring for personal use common both to εὑρίσκειν and περιποιεῖσθαι (Luke). The phrase, "find the soul," occurs only here (twice) and Matthew 16:25b; cf. Hebrews 10:39. His life (Matthew 6:25, note). As the full develop-merit of personality in true independence and energy is the aim and the promise for hereafter, so its shrinking and weakening by sin ends in loss of moral independence and mental worth. Shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He shall acquire that personality of his with all its inherent germs of power fully developed (cf. Luke 21:19; Hebrews 10:39; cf. also the apocryphal legion, Σώζου σὺ καὶ ἡ ψυχή σου, Resch, 'Agrapha,' p. 145). In Talm. Bab., 'Tamid,' 32a, Alexander the Great asks "the elders of the south" ten questions, among them," What shall a man do that he may live?" They answer, "Let him put himself to death." "What shall a man do that he may die?" "Let him make himself alive." But though there is so much verbal similarity, it may be doubted whether Rashi is not right in explaining the passage as a merely worldly wise warning against provoking the envy of others by pride and ostentation.

10:16-42 Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent's wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God's opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God's love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, Ac 20:27. Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God's people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ's disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.He that findeth his life shall lose it,.... That man that seeks to preserve his life, and the temporal enjoyments of it, by a sinful compliance with his friends and the world, and by a denial of Christ, or non-confession of him; if he is not, by the providence of God, deprived of the good things of life, and dies a shameful death, both which are sometimes the case of such persons; yet he is sure to lose the happy and eternal life of his soul and body, in the world to come: so that the present finding of life, or the possession of it, on such sinful terms, will in the issue prove an infinite and irreparable loss unto him. On the other hand, Christ observes,

he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it. That man that is willing to forego the present advantages of life, to suffer reproach and persecution, and lay down his life cheerfully for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, for the profession of his name, rather than drop, deny, conceal, or neglect any truth and ordinance of his, shall find his soul possessed of eternal life, as soon as separated from his body; and shall find his corporal life again, in the resurrection morn, to great advantage; and shall live with Christ in soul and body, in the utmost happiness, to all eternity.

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