#52 “GOD WANTS TO SEND YOU!” (MATTHEW 10:1-11:1)

Think about how many things we think we need in order to do proper ministry? It’s ridiculous! Churches today spend so much money for very little impact. On today’s podcast, we take a pure look at how Jesus sent out His disciples, and what He did and didn’t give them for the road.

#52 “GOD WANTS TO SEND YOU!”

MATTHEW 10:1-11:1

(MARK 6:7-13; LUKE 9:1-6)

MATTHEW 10:1-11:1
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 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. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

11 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

 

  1. And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (vss. 1-4)—The disciples were certainly a diverse group of men (see Mk. 3:16-19; Lk. 6:13-16; Ac. 1:13). Jesus was now commissioning His disciples as agents of repentance. Restricting them to only reach the region of Galilee.
    1. “Each time the 12 Apostles are listed, Peter is mentioned first (because of his prominence) and Judas, last. Jesus had changed Simon’s name to Peter (John 1:42). Soon after the brothers Peter and Andrew followed Jesus, another set of brothers—James and John—did the same (Matt. 4:18–22). Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from Bethsaida by the Sea of Galilee (John 1:44). Nothing is known about Bartholomew, except that he was possibly known as Nathanael (John 1:45–51). Thomas was called “Didymus” (twin) in John 11:16; he was one who questioned Jesus’ resurrection (John 20:24–27). Matthew referred to himself by his former dubious occupation of tax collecting (whereas Mark and Luke simply listed him as Matthew). James son of Alphaeus is mentioned only in the lists of apostles; Thaddaeus may be the same as Judas, son of James (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). Simon the Zealot had been a member of the revolutionary Jewish Zealots, a political party that sought to overthrow the Roman Empire. And Judas Iscariot, of course, later betrayed the Lord (Matt. 26:47–50). “Iscariot” may mean “from Kerioth,” a Judean town.”[1]
    2. All the disciples, accept for Judas Iscariot, will have a particular role in the final judgment (Matt. 19:28); establish the church (Eph. 2:20); and will have a lasting legacy in the Kingdom of God (Rev. 21:14).
  2. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (v. 6)—Prior to calling His disciples and sending them out, Jesus had just left Capernaum and went throughout the cities: Matthew 9:36-38, When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Thus, Jesus responds to His compassion over Israel by sending His disciples (laborers) to minister to them and meet their needs. “To the Jews first” is the pattern because salvation is of the Jews (Jn. 4:22). Lost sheep—You see this used repeatedly about Israel in the OT (see Isa. 53:6; Jer. 50:6; Ezek. 34:5).
  3. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. (vs. 7-8)—Carrying on the ministry of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:17) and Jesus (Matt. 4:17) was customary for students to do. Give without pay—The position of authority given by Jesus is not to be used for your own greed.
  4. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts (v. 9)—Belts were often used to tie a pouch for money. Jesus didn’t want the disciples to rely on resources and establish an enterprise. Proclaiming the kingdom at hand was not to be interfered with worldly riches. The limitations dictated by Jesus was also a way to teach the apostles (just like the prophets in times of great persecution) to survive on very little. Churches in America can learn a thing or two from this approach.
  5. Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (v. 16)—Not only were the disciples told not to rely on money, but they were told they would be like sheep among ferocious wolves (Matt. 7:15). By now, the disciples should have faith in the power and authority of Jesus to protect them. Wise as serpents—In ancient times serpents were a symbol of wisdom (Gen. 3:1; 2 Cor. 11:3). Wise—to be sensible; to think rationally through a problem. Innocent as doves—to be harmless; innocent; guileless. To use strategy to achieve your objective. Not to attack. Because of attacks, persecution and accusations, Christians need to be like a serpent to protect them from harm, and possess the ability to negotiate peace. Christians need to be tough-minded, and, tenderhearted because we are sheep among wolves.
    1. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. (vs. 17-18)—Jesus predicts what will happen to many of the apostles and early church leaders (See Acts 4:1-22; 12:1-4; 14:4). It was probably terrifying for the disciples to hear Jesus say that governments and kings will be after them. Especially when they thought He was going to establish His kingdom on earth, and overthrow other kingdoms.
    2. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (vs. 19-20)—In the first century, a person who was called before the governing factions would hire a professional orator to speak on their behalf. Jesus tells His disciples that it is the Lord who sends them, and it is by and through the Spirit of God that they will speak what needs to be spoken.
    3. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (vs. 21-22)—Persecution will grow to the point of family members betraying one another. Endures to the end—means to endure patiently without breaking down. To weather the storms of persecution.
    4. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (v. 23)—This may be speaking of the work of the church prior to the return of Christ, or perhaps in the immediate sense.
  6. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. (vs. 24-25)—The disciples are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. They are to carry on His message and legacy. And as they do, they will suffer as He suffered.
    1. “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” Phil 1:29–30
    2. “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” Acts 5:41
  7. “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. (vs. 27-28a)—Jesus promises His disciples protection. The honorable actions of Jesus’ disciples would not go unknown, and the gospel message would spread all over the world.
  8. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (v. 28b)—As frightful as all of this sounds, Jesus tells His disciples not to fear what man will do to you, but to fear the Lord.
  9. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (vss. 29-31)—This is a common Rabbinical teaching (lesser to greater analogy). The purpose is to emphasize that mankind is of greater value than all other creation.
  10. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (vs. 32-33)—Open confession of Christ as Savior is not what saves you—but is the natural result of salvation (see Rom. 10:9-10; 2 Tim. 2:12). I also will deny before my Father—Every Christian will one day stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) and give an account. There will be loss of rewards (Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12).
  11. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. (vss. 34-36)—“Sword” was a symbol of division and separation. The Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah, and so did the Romans.
  12. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (v. 37)—Jesus expects complete and total devotion. Anything less is not a true disciple. Rabbis didn’t even ask for this kind of loyalty. Jesus emphasizes the privileges gained by faithful service.
  13. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (v. 38)—A true disciple of Christ will not only face persecution, but reject anything that hinders his/her relationship with Christ. Taking up the cross stands for total surrender and commitment to God. That you not only put to death your sinful desires, but are even willing to die for Christ. No doubt this got the disciples attention—for they knew the violent death people suffered by crucifixion.
  14. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (v. 39)—When you give up your life to Christ, you will gain eternal life in heaven with Him. This is the ultimate promise—eternal life.
  15. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (vss. 40-42)—Once again, Jesus demands faithful service. A disciple of Christ bears His message, and will receive/share in heavenly rewards. Paul tells the church, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20).” These are what Jesus commands of His followers to put into pr actice.
  16. When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. (11:1)—Matthew inserts this as a marker to indicate another turning point/transition in Jesus’ ministry.

[1] Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 41.

 

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