Matthew 10:25 – “It is enough for the disciple that he may become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they insult the members of his household!”
These are hard verses. Hard to understand and hard to walk through. So if you’re getting lost, please don’t feel bad…we’re all having trouble with these. Let’s see where this one takes us.
In warning His apostles of impending persecution, Jesus has declared to them that a disciple is not above his teacher or a servant above his master (Matthew 10:24). This is a theme Jesus will also mention during the Last Supper, referring both to humble service (John 13:15–17) and the expectation of harassment (John 15:18–20).
Success for a disciple or student involves becoming like his teacher or master. In the case of these disciples, the persecution of their master had already begun. Though Jesus is “the master,” Jewish religious leaders have associated Him with evil and evil spirits. Jesus is using a play on words grounded in the original language of His era. Matthew recorded a specific instance of this after Jesus had cast out a demon (Matthew 9:34), and another is mentioned later (Matthew 12:24).
The Greek Beelzeboul is a deliberately distorted reference to Baal, sometimes called Ba’al Zabuwb. Baal was a common name used for a Philistine deity; Ba’al Zebuwb most literally means “lord of the fly.” Transitioning into Greek, the term “beelzebul” means “master of the house” or “lord of the high places,” still with the implication of a reference to Satan. In Matthew 9:34, religious leaders accused Jesus of being enabled by Satan: by “beelzebub” (Matthew 12:24). They ironically recognize that Jesus acts with authority, but ascribe that power to the Devil, rather than to God. Jesus now brings His point to a logical conclusion. If hostile non-believers think the master is evil, and persecute Him, how much more will they malign and persecute His disciples? Common sense says Christ’s disciples should not be surprised when the Jewish religious leaders later reject Jesus as the Messiah and persecute those who proclaim Him.
As we discussed yesterday, Jesus’ path led to persecution. His disciples were persecuted. We as followers will be persecuted. There is not a way around it. So…if you find that this walk is hard. You are not alone. No one ever said it would be easy to follow Jesus. Yet….no turning back.