8:45 AM

Everyone will hate you (10:22a) - by Leif

10:22a (nrsv): "and you will be hated by all because of my name."

The tenor and sweep of Mathew increases in apocalyptic energy as the mission discourse wears on. A chapter that started with a gentle admonishing to "proclaim the good news" (v.7) and instructions on what to do when entering into a house are now replaced by something that sounds more at home in Revelation or in Daniel than it does in Matthew - or, at least, the popular assumptions about Mathew which we harbor. This is not "the hug me Jesus" to be sure.

And while Leslie Houlden (in the Oxford Bible Commentary) does well outlining the way in which the descriptions of what is to come in the later half of chapter ten mirror Christ's own future sufferings (and in this way, she mostly echoes Chrysostom's analysis in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) what is left out of her (and Chrysostom's) commentary is a discussion of who this "EVERYONE" is. Is Jesus meaning to say "a lot of people" when he uses this word? Does he mean to say that "everyone" = "the world"? Does he mean to say everyone outside of he and the 12? Or does he mean that even the disciples will come to hate (and be hated) by one another? In other words, taken literally, that indeed everyone will hate you? What if we suppose the last of these options to be the case? What kind of picture would we then have? Certainly we would then have here, in the later half of the mission discourse (especially in v. 22a), direct parallels to Exodus 20, Job, as well as to Abraham's near sacrific of Isaac. In what sense do I mean? In the sense of v. 22a's recapitulation and redescription of the extremity of the 1st (and, in a sense, only) commandment - that of following THIS God, and following this God all the time, all the way through this life, indeed past this life.

It's a verse (22) and a word ("everyone") that the commentaries mentioned above seem to wish to skip over, and it paints a horrific picture where in which everyone abandons you - except God. If nothing else, this seems to be an accurate image of death itself - whereby the entire world reveals itself as not having the power to save thus causing one to fall into oblivion, only to be rescued at the last minute by the one true God, the God who created death and therefore is beyond death.

If we take Jesus at his word that indeed all people will (potentially at least) hate us if we are to follow him, then this has immense ramifications for how we think about ministry - especially the "signs" of those we suspect as most redeemed and closest to Christ.


Comment (1)

I must confess that I am one who has passed over the all/everyone inattentively. I think I have read it in the past along the lines of v. 21 and then vv. 23-25. In v. 21, those closest to one another become enemies. In vv. 23-25, a mysterious "they" will persecute and malign the disciples.

I wonder if following v. 21, v. 22 is in part about how those the disciples trust most will turn against them. Or is it that because of the division caused by Jesus, everyone will hate the disciples because of him?

What you say at the end reminds me of what Bonhoeffer says in Life Together about discipleship as being alone. He obviously does not mean to make Christian community secondary. But Jesus remains above as well as in the community.

Clearly this means we must view typical measures of successful "ministry" with some suspicion. It reminds me of Lk. 14:26-35, which are Jesus' response to this: "Now large crowds were traveling with him..."

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