32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;
36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
confesses Me (v.32) — acknowledges that he believes in and follows the Lord
denies Me (v.33) — tense indicates a habitual, ongoing action
In their ministry [the apostles] were under the care of their Father, who knew their every need. Because of their inestimable worth to Him, they were assured of His protection (vs.29-31). Christ gave these men a promise: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven (v.32). These men were sent out as His representatives to proclaim His message. They were identifying themselves with His person and word. Their obedience to Him was a sign of faith that assured them they would be accepted by the Father. On the other hand, those who disowned Him, as the Pharisees [and Judas] were intent on doing, would be disowned before the Father by the very One whom they disowned (v.33).
Since Christ was the Prince of Peace and had come to speak peace to the nation, the question might be raised as to why the religious authorities did not accept Him. Christ explained this in the words that follow. He said He had not come to bring peace but a sword. He had come to bring about a division. He would separate those who were bound to each other by the strongest of natural ties (v.35). It is Jesus Christ Himself who divides. People are divided by their attitude toward Him. Christ was using a Jewish idiom when He referred to loving father or mother (v.37). To love involved more than emotions. It involved subjection and obedience. Christ was demanding the unquestioned submission and obedience of those who would be accepted into His Kingdom. One who puts loved ones before Christ and submits to them instead of submitting to Christ is not worthy of Christ or to be in His Kingdom. — Pentecost, pages 195-196.
There are applications that can be made for us from this chapter, but it’s important to remember that the directions are specifically for the twelve apostles as they go into the nation to preach the kingdom gospel.