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Jesus called his twelve disciples. This must be tied to the last three verses of chapter 9. The twelve disciples had already been called and had been with Jesus for some time. Now he sends them on a mission, as apostles. And gave them authority. To carry out the same mission of mercy and love which Jesus had been doing. “Benevolence” is apart of the gospel (see James 1:27; James 2:14-17; etc.).
These are the names. Four lists of the twelve are given: Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13. The four lists are identical, with these exceptions: Luke does not include Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:13, since he was dead at that time. Both Matthew and Mark speak of the tenth disciple as Thaddaeus, while Luke calls him “Judas, the son of James.” It was common to be called by more than one name. Simon the Patriot was a “zealot” (see note on Mark 15:7). Jesus named James and John—“Boanerges—Men of Thunder” (Mark 3:16). There are three pairs of brothers: Peter and Andrew; James and John; James (the son of Alphaeus [who was perhaps the Clopas of John 19:25]) and Thaddaeus (Judas the son of James). It is very difficult to “sort out” the variations in the names of Bible characters, since each person had more than one name, and, it was not unusual to give two children in the same family the same name. Mary (the mother of Jesus) seems to have had a sister named Mary, who was the mother of James the younger, Joses and Thaddaeus—making them cousins of Jesus. All the apostles were Galileans, except Judas Iscariot. All came from the ranks of the common people.
Do not go to any Gentile territory. Later Jesus would send them to “all the world,” but now they limit their work to the Jews. All non-Jews are “Gentiles.” Samaritan towns. Those who lived in Samaria were a blend of the “Ten Tribes” mixed with Gentiles (see 2 Kings 17:24; 2 Chronicles 30:1-20). They used the first five books of the Old Testament, but worshiped on Mount Garizin (see Joshua 8:33; John 4:20). The Jews and the Samaritans were bitter enemies. To the lost sheep. God’s people “Israel” are pictured as “sheep who have strayed away from the shepherd.” Jesus sends the apostles specifically to the Jews. Later, Jesus sent seventy-two more to help with this (Luke 10:0). The “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:18-20 could not be given until Jesus had died and been raised to glory. The Jewish Law formed a “wall” between them and the rest of the world, until it was removed (Ephesians 2:14-18). Jesus was born under this Law, and the apostles lived under it until it was removed. In the Cross, the distinctions between Jew and Gentile were destroyed (Galatians 3:28). The New Covenant is world-wide, with no nations restricted, and the apostles went everywhere under the Great Commission (see Colossians 1:23).
The Kingdom of heaven is near. Both John the Baptist and Christ preached the “NEARNESS” of the Kingdom. It could not be set up until the events of the Cross (Luke 9:31). The apostles were to say it was near, since the time was nearly fulfilled. Jesus became King in his being “lifted up” on the Cross (See John 3:14; John 12:32). After Jesus was lifted up, the Kingdom is spoken of as a FACT (Colossians 1:13).
Heal the sick. They were to duplicate the work of Jesus. Later, both the apostles and all Christians would do “greater works” in calling others into the church of Christ (John 14:12).
Do not carry. The emphasis is on speed—URGENCY! Also, the ones being “renewed” ought to supply the needs of the one “renewing.”
When you come. Living in different houses would require more time. They were to choose one who would give them room and board, and remain with them until they left to the next town.
Peace be with you. A formal blessing, as well as a greeting.
If the people. “Peace be with you” was said before it was known that the people of the house would welcome them to stay. If they were not friendly, they were to immediately leave, and remove their word of blessing as well.
Shake the dust off your feet. This is a symbolic act that says all responsibility has ended. God does not force his word upon unwilling people (see Acts 13:50-51).
Remember this! This phrase always introduces a strong statement. God will show more mercy. These cities were destroyed because of their sins (Genesis 19:1-28). These cities had no opportunity, therefore not the same responsibility, as those to whom Christ and his apostles preached.
Just like sheep. Defenceless by human means among fierce and cruel enemies. Cautions as snakes. Snakes were symbolic of extreme caution. Gentle as doves. Doves were symbolic of gentleness, purity, and innocence—just the opposite of “wolves and dogs” (see Philippians 3:2).
Watch out. Some religious leaders would severely oppose their work of renewal. They could expect to be arrested, tried in court, and whipped in the synagogues (see Acts 22:19; Acts 26:11).
You will be brought to trial. Just like criminals! See Acts 12:1-5.
Do not worry. They are promised supernatural help from the Holy Spirit. The maximum speed had to be maintained until Jerusalem was destroyed (70 AD). See note on Matthew 24:14. Your father. Jesus emphasized this new relationship to God. Also, God was his Father in a different sense than he is our Father.
Men will hand over their own brothers. This is not “make-believe!” Jesus causes division—for the very reason that each must decide just who he is! Note Matthew 10:34! Families would be literally torn to pieces over Jesus and his claims. “Christ on the Cross” is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:21-24).
Everyone will hate you. Hypocrites do not like to be exposed. As the followers of Christ expose sin, all who love sin and who follow Satan, will hate them (see Revelation 11:7-14). But whoever holds out. The one final victory WAS WON in the Cross. The one who “holds out” faithfully to the end of their life—will not lose what God has promised them!
Run away to another one. They were not to forfeit their life foolishly—for no good purpose. Life is sacred and must not be flung away! But, they must value Christ even more than their own life! Before the Son of Man comes. That is, before he is glorified in the death of the Cross. (See Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1. Jesus was there when his Kingdom came with power, at Pentecost (Acts 2:0) and Jesus was there when “judgment” came on Jerusalem in its destruction. This latter event brought an end to the Jewish persecution of the Christians. Jesus is coming again IN PERSON to judge the world, but the meaning in this verse does not include that event.
No pupil is greater than his teacher. The disciples must expect to be treated just as Jesus would be. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul. The name given to the Devil as the chief of evil spirits. Some who opposed Jesus called him that (John 8:48).
Do not be afraid of men, then. Christ will win the final victory in the Cross. Those who oppose him will be exposed for what they are.
You must repeat in broad daylight. Jesus taught them in private what they are not to “Shout from the housetops.” The eastern houses had flat roofs which made a “stage” for the speaker to attract attention.
Do not be afraid. The worst anyone could do was to destroy the body. God, who will raise the dead, can destroy the soul. In hell. Eternal punishment (GEHENNA—see note on Matthew 5:22).
Two sparrows for a penny. Among the smallest and least valuable birds. So cheap, yet God is aware of them.
Even the hairs of your head. Assurance of our Father’s concern for his children. The next verse shows to whom this applies.
Whoever declares publicly. To “confess Christ” is not to accept some creed, but to openly show yourself as a follower of Jesus, and to live as he directs. This implies: (1) A confession [declaration] of faith (as Peter in Matthew 16:16). (2) Giving yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). It isn’t enough to just say: “Lord, Lord!” (Matthew 7:21-23). I will do the same. As he sits on the throne of Judgment, he will return the favor!
But whoever denies publicly. The Jews repudiated him as Messiah. Those who refuse to accept him, DENY HIM. Those who allow the worries and problems of life to turn them from their Christianity—DENY HIM. I will deny him. As Judge, he will say: “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).
Do not think. To bring peace, evil must be defeated. Therefore, to preach purity and peace brings the opposition of evil. While Christ is the great “peacemaker,” yet his coming would bring great struggle and bloodshed. A sword. Symbolic of great struggle. The only sword Christ and his followers would use is the “sword of the Spirit,” but some will use violence against the Christian. The sword is sent, because persecutors use it against the church (messianic community).
I came to set sons against their fathers. This is the result, not the purpose. When one became a follower of Christ, this would at once set him against his own people who did not follow Christ. Families stand together, but religious feuds break up family ties. (But notice Matthew 10:37!)
A man’s worst enemies. This has been proved thousands of times. Many have been thrown out and banished because they had confessed Christ.
Whoever loves his father or mother more than me. The Lord does not ask that we love these less, but that we love him morel He must have the highest priority! Is not worthy of me. A sharp line is drawn between those who do love Christ, and those who are indifferent.
Whoever does not take up his cross. Symbolic of being faithful—even at the price of pain and suffering. No one can be neutral about Jesus! We take up our cross daily! Follow in my steps. Use his teaching to set our standards of life.
Whoever tries to gain. Some would deny Christ to save their lives. Some would give up their integrity and compromise with the world. The emphasis is on Eternity! See Romans 6:4-11.
Whoever welcomes you. They were being sent out in Jesus’ name—by his authority. As his messengers and ambassadors, they officially represent Jesus, and to receive them is to receive him. (Compare 2 Corinthians 5:16-21.)
Because he is God’s messenger. The one who welcomes, does so because he loves Christ. Therefore, he will share the reward.
And remember this! No act of kindness is too small to be rewarded, if the motives are right. Six things are mentioned in following Christ: (1) Confessing (Matthew 10:32-33); (2) Combat (Matthew 10:34-37); (3) Taking his cross (Matthew 10:38); (4) Self-sacrifice (Matthew 10:39); (5) Assistance (Matthew 10:40-42); (6) Risking life (Matthew 10:39). This is the life of a soldier.
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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 10". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26