2:06 PM

An unstable path? Mt. 10.39

Matthew 10.39- “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (RSV)

Although this verse may seem straightforward, I suggest Matt 10.39 illustrates the precarious nature of the Kingdom of God and conundrum of those willing to live in its rule. Without noticing, we probably synthesize Mt 10.39 with Luke’s cleaner version: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Lk 17.33). Now, both versions may lead to a similar conclusion, but in Matthew, the emphasis focuses on the means of finding life. In finding life, one will lose it, and in losing one’s life, one will find it. One can find life in two ways. While Luke seems to clean up this rather circular idea, the repetition we find in Matthew, however, deals with the utter precarious journey of life within the Kingdom of God. To find life, one must first lose it. One can find life only by relinquishing the lust to secure the foundations of one’s life. The means by which the Christian finds life, therefore, comes through the forfeiture of a security that accompanies our greed to make things come out right.


Comment (1)

What do you make of the relation b/w this verse and the preceding bit about the family/household? Is that where our life comes from? We often protect those nearest to us b/c we cannot live without them. Our children are our future. So how is it that the Kingdom of God undermines this stronghold, disrupting the network of loyalty by which we live? To lose this life for the sake of Jesus must reorder the family/household. How do we describe that without some sentimental cliche about loving Jesus more than x, y, or z? I perceive two dangers: 1) we say we love Jesus most or are losing our life, but it's just an empty claim b/c we don't know how it undermines upon our family/community relations. 2) we justify our selfishness/aloofness in our family/community by claiming that we're just being faithful to Jesus and he told us to make our loved ones miserable by losing our life.

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