Matthew 10:13 | Be Worthy of the King

Stuck in my head is a song by Housefires called Build My Life. The key adjective in this song is “worthy” an appropriate word used to describe my response to God.

Worthy of every song we could ever sing.
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring.
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe.
We live for you.
Jesus the name above every other name.
Jesus the only one who could save.
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe.
We live for you.

He is worthy. He is perfect. He is the creator. I exist because he imagined me. He is good and gracious. He is worthy and acknowledging Him as worthy is an appropriate response to God. Yet the adjective worthy cuts both ways. Is it possible for me to be worthy of Him? In the gospel of Matthew Jesus instructs his disciples on how to carry the good new of God to people and he speaks of being worthy. Jesus tells the disciples that they will be worthy of the needs provided by the people they visit. And the people the disciples visit have an opportunity to be worthy of the miracles and message that the disciples carry to them.

9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunic or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart…. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. Matthew 10:9-11; 13 ESV

The Greek word ἄξιος (axios) in this text is translated as “deserves” and “worthy”. Axios is an adjective describing the disciple, the host of the town, and the town itself. Axios means that something is of equal worth or it is befitting of the situation. While I know God is worthy of all praise, worship, and adoration Jesus tells the disciples they need to be worthy of the situation and that the people they speak with need to be worthy of the message the disciples carry.

It is an interesting challenge and as Jesus tends to do, he turns the tables over and makes me rethink my approach to the world. Am I worthy of the situation? Worthy to teach God’s word? Worthy to carry his Message? I am worthy to receive it? Would my life be described as “Axios”… befitting of the call from God?

Jesus later on in gospel of Matthew provides a parable about being worthy and meeting the standards of God. In the parable heaven is compared to a king who is going to have wedding feast for his son. The invites have gone out but none of those invited show up to the wedding. Worse yet the invitees murder the messengers of the King. After dealing with the murders the King still plans to host the wedding party.

8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:8-14 ESV

The original guests were not worthy so the servants invited everyone they could find both good and bad. Would these new guests be worthy? There are four responses to this invitation in the parable. Ignore the King and be cutoff by your own choice. Attack the bearer of the invitation which is an attack on the King himself. Accept the invitation without any intention of being respectful which will result in being cast “into the outer darkness”. Or accept the invitation and humbly recognize the King’s authority. A King who is good, just, merciful, and loving. Only one of these responses allows me to be worthy of this King. Only through Jesus living in me could I ever rise to the standard befitting the situation.

13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. Matthew 10:13 ESV

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