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Bible Commentaries

The Fourfold Gospel

Matthew 10

Verses 1-200


LXI.
THIRD CIRCUIT OF GALILEE. THE TWELVE
INSTRUCTED AND SENT FORTH.
aMATT. IX. 35-38; X. 1, 5-42; XI. 1; bMARK VI. 6-13; cLUKE IX. 1-6.

b6 And he aJesus bwent about aall the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner sickness and all manner of sickness. [In the first circuit of Galilee some of the twelve accompanied Jesus as disciples (see Mark 16:15). As Jesus himself was sent only to the Jews, so during his days on earth he sent his disciples only to them.] 7 As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. [It was set up about a year later, on the day of Pentecost, under the direction of the Holy Spirit-- Acts 2:1-4.] 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give. [Here is the true rule of giving. Paul repeats it at 1 Corinthians 16:2. If we would obey this rule, we would make this a happy world.] c3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, a9 Get you no gold, nor silver, cnor money; anor brass in your purses; cneither staff, nor wallet, afor your journey, cnor bread, neither have two coats. anor shoes, nor staff: for the workman is worthy of his food. [The prohibition is against securing these things before starting, and at their own expense. It is not that they would have no need for the articles mentioned, but that "the laborer is worthy of his food," and they were to depend on the people for whose benefit they labored, to furnish what they might need. This passage is alluded to by Paul ( 1 Corinthians 9:14). To rightly understand this prohibition we must remember that the apostles were to make but a brief tour of a few weeks, and that it was among their own countrymen, among a people habitually given to hospitality; moreover, that the apostles were imbued with powers which would win for them the respect of the religious and the gratitude of the well-to-do. The special and temporary commission was, therefore, never intended as a rule under which we are to act in preaching the gospel in other ages and in other lands.] b10 And he said unto them a11 And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go forth. [The customs of the East gave rise to this rule. The ceremonies and forms with which a guest was received were tedious and time-consuming vanities, while the mission of the apostles required haste.] 12 And as ye enter [364] come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. [The form of salutation on entering a house was, "Peace to this house." The apostles are told to salute each house, and are assured that the peace prayed for shall return to them if the house is not worthy; that is, they shall receive, in this case, the blessing pronounced on the house.] bWheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence. {c4 And into whatsoever house ye enter, there abide, and thence depart.} b11 And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not [Jesus here warns them that their experiences would not always be pleasant], a14 And whosoever cas many as ashall creceive you not, anor hear your words, bas ye go forth thence, aout of that house or that city [The word "house" indicates a partial and the word "city" a complete rejection], {cwhen you depart from that city,} bshake off the dust that is under your feet {aof your feet.} cfrom your feet bfor a testimony unto them. cagainst them. [The dust of heathen lands as compared with the land of Israel was regarded as polluted and unholy ( Amos 2:7, Ezekiel 27:30). The Jew, therefore, considered himself defiled by such dust. For the apostles, therefore, to shake off the dust of any city of Israel from their clothes or feet was to place that city on a level with the cities of the heathen, and to renounce all further intercourse with it.] a15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. [For comment on similar remarks, see 2 Samuel 12:20, Matthew 6:16, Matthew 6:17). When an apostle stood over a sick man to heal him by a touch or a word, he was about to send him out of his sick chamber, and just before the word was spoken, the oil was applied. It was, therefore, no more than a token or symbol that the man was restored to his liberty, and was from that moment to be confined to his chamber no longer. Comp. James 5:14. This practice bears about the same relation to the Romish practice of extreme unction as the Lord’s Supper does to the mass, or as a true baptism does to the sprinkling of an infant.]

[FFG 362-369]

Verses 2-4


XLI.
AFTER PRAYER JESUS SELECTS TWELVE APOSTLES.
(Near Capernaum.)
aMATT. X. 2-4; bMARK III. 13-19; cLUKE VI. 12-16.

c12 And it came to pass in these days, that he went out into the mountain b13 And he goeth up into the mountain, cto pray; and he continued all night in prayer to God. [It was a momentous occasion. He was about to choose those to whom he was to entrust the planting, organizing, and training of that church which was to be the purchase of his own blood. Jesus used such important crises, not as occasions for anxiety and worry, but as fitting times to seek and obtain the Father’s grace and blessing.] 13 And when it was day, he called his disciples: band calleth unto him whom he himself would; and they went unto him. cand he chose from them twelve [We can not think that the number twelve was adopted carelessly. It unquestionably had reference to the twelve tribes of Israel, over whom the apostles were to be tribal judges or viceroys ( Luke 22:30), and we find the tribes and apostles associated together in the structure of the New Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:12-14). Moreover, Paul seems to regard the twelve as ministers to the twelve tribes, or to the circumcision, rather than as ministers to the Gentiles or the world in general ( Galatians 2:7-9). See also James 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1. The tribal reference was doubtless preserved to indicate that the church would be God’s new Israel], b14 And he appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 and to have authority to cast out demons: cwhom also he named apostles [The word apostle means "one sent." Its meaning was kindred to the word ambassador [220] ( 2 Corinthians 5:20), the messenger whom a king sent to foreign powers, and also to our modern word missionary, which also means "one sent." Christ himself was an apostle ( Hebrews 3:1), and so sent them ( John 20:21). The word apostle is translated "messenger" at 2 Corinthians 8:23, Philippians 2:25. The apostles were to be with Jesus, that they might be taught by his words, and that they might become teachers of that word and witnesses as to the life and actions of Jesus. A necessary condition, therefore, to their apostleship was this seeing of Jesus and the consequent ability to testify as to his actions, especially as to his resurrection ( Acts 1:8, Acts 1:21, 1 Corinthians 9:1, Acts 22:14, Acts 22:15). They could therefore have no successors. All the apostles were from Galilee save Judas Iscariot]: a2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these John 1:41, John 1:42. Peter, by reason of his early prominence, is named first in the four lists. His natural gifts gave him a personal but not an ecclesiastical pre-eminence over his fellows. As a reward for his being first to confess Christ, he was honored by being permitted to first use the keys of the kingdom of heaven; i. e., to preach the first gospel sermon both to the Jews and Gentiles. But after these two sermons the right of preaching to the Jews and Gentiles became common to all alike. That Peter had supremacy or authority over his brethren is nowhere stated by Christ, or claimed by Peter, or owned by the rest of the twelve. On [221] the contrary, the statement of Jesus places the apostles upon a level ( Matthew 23:8-11). See also Matthew 18:18, Matthew 19:27, Matthew 19:28, Matthew 20:25-27, John 20:21, Acts 1:8. And Peter himself claims no more than an equal position with other officers in the church ( 1 Peter 5:1, 1 Peter 5:4), and the apostles in the subsequent history of the church acted with perfect independence. Paul withstood Peter to his face and (if we may judge by the order of naming which is made so much of in the apostolic lists), he ranks Peter as second in importance to James, the Lord’s brother ( Galatians 2:11-14, Galatians 2:9). See also Acts 12:17, Acts 21:18. Again, James, in summing up the decree which was to be sent to the church at Antioch, gave no precedence to Peter, who was then present, but said, "Brethren, hearken unto me . . . my judgment is"--words which would be invaluable to those who advocate the supremacy of Peter, if only it had been Peter who spoke them. So much for the supremacy of Peter, which, even if it could be established, would still leave the papacy without a good title to its honors, for it would still have to prove that it was heir to the rights and honors of Peter, which is something it has never yet done. The papal claim rests not upon facts, but upon a threefold assumption: 1. That Peter had supreme authority. 2. That he was the first bishop of Rome. 3. That the peculiar powers and privileges of Peter (if he had any) passed at the time of his death from his own person, to which they belonged, to the chair or office which he vacated]; aand Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; {bthe brother of James;} and them he surnamed Boanerges, which is, Sons of thunder [This selection of brothers suggests that the bonds of nature may strengthen those of grace. Why James and John were called sons of thunder is not stated, but it was probably because of their stormy and destructive temper ( Luke 9:51-56, Mark 9:38). The vigor of the two brothers is apparent, for it marked James as a fit object for Herod’s spleen ( Acts 12:2), and it sustained John to extreme old age, for Epiphanius says [223] that he died at Ephesus at the age of ninety-four, but Jerome places his age at a hundred. No change is noted in the nature of James during the brief time which he survived his Lord. But the gracious and loving character of the aged John showed the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. But even to the last this son of thunder muttered in portentous strains against Diotrephes ( 3 John 1:9, 3 John 1:10), and his denunciations of sins and sinners is very forceful, including such epithets as "liar," "antichrist," "deceiver," "children of the devil" ( 1 John 1:6, 1 John 2:4, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 3:15, 1 John 1:3-11). It is also worthy of note that except in this verse in Mark, which applies the name "Son of thunder" to John, neither the word "thunder," nor any of its derivatives is found anywhere in the New Testament save in the writings of John, by whom it and its derivatives are used eleven times, a fact which causes Bengel to remark, "A son of thunder is a fit person for hearing voices of thunder."] a3 Philip, and Bartholomew [as noted on Mark 15:40); probably because he was younger than the son of Zebedee. He must not be confounded with James the Lord’s brother, who, though called an apostle by Paul, was not one of the twelve apostles (nor was Barnabas-- Acts 14:14). James the Lord’s brother is mentioned at Matthew 13:55, 1 Corinthians 15:5-7, Galatians 1:19, Galatians 2:9, Galatians 2:12, Acts 15:6-9, Acts 21:18. He wrote the epistle which bears his name, and his brother Jude (who also must not be confounded with Judas Thaddæus, the apostle) wrote the epistle which bears his name. We do not know the James who was the father of Judas, and of Judas himself we know very little. He seems to have been known at first by his name Thaddæus, possibly to distinguish him from Iscariot, but later (for Luke and John wrote later than Matthew and Mark) by the name Judas-- John 14:22.] a4 Simon the Cananaean, cwho was called the Zealot [Cananæan means the same as zealot. It comes from the Hebrew word kana, which means zealous. The Zealots were a sect or order of men much like our modern "Regulators," or "Black Caps." They were zealous for the Jewish law, and citing Phinehas ( Numbers 25:7, Numbers 25:8) and Elijah ( 1 Kings 18:40) as their examples, they took justice in their own hands and punished offenders much after the manner lynchers. It is thought that they derived their name from the dying charge of the Asmonæan Mattathias when he said, "Be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers" (I. Macc. ii. 50). Whatever they were at first, it is certain that their later course was marked by frightful excesses, and they are charged with having been the human instrument which brought about the destruction of Jerusalem. See Josephus, Wars, IV., iii. 9, v. 1-4; vi. 3; VII., viii. 1. Simon is the least known of all the apostles, being nowhere individually mentioned outside the catalogues], aand Judas Iscariot, cwho became a traitor; awho also betrayed him. [Judas is named last in all the three lists, and the same note of infamy attaches to him in each case. He is omitted from the list in Acts, for he was then dead. As he was treasurer of the apostolic group, he was probably chosen for office because of his executive ability. He was called Iscariot from his native city Kerioth, which pertained to Judah-- Joshua 15:25.]

{*} NOTE.--To avoid making the text too complex and confusing, we have followed the order in which Matthew gives the names of the twelve. The names of the apostles are recorded four times in the following different arrangements and orders. Some think that Matthew divides them into groups of two, so that he may show us who went together when Jesus sent them out in pairs ( Mark 6:7). But it is idle to speculate as to the differences in arrangement. We note, however, that the twelve are divided into three quaternions, or groups of four, and that each has a fixed leader. TABLE OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES.



{*} NOTE.--To aid the reader, we submit the following table of the women who watched the crucifixion of Jesus, for it is from their names and descriptions that we get our Scriptural light by which we distinguish the kindred of our Lord.

Matthew and Mark each name three women, whence it is thought that Salome was the name of the mother of James and John. But the solution of the problem depends on our rendering of John 19:25, which is translated thus: "But there were standing by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." Now, was Mary, the wife of Clopas, named and also additionally described as sister to our Lord’s mother, or was it the unnamed Salome who was her sister? Does John mention three or four women? The best modern scholarship says that there were four women, and that therefore James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were cousins of our Lord. In support of this it is argued: 1. That it is unlikely that two sisters would bear the same name, a fact which, as Meyer says, is "established by no instance." 2. John gives two pairs of women, each pair coupled by an "and." The first pair is kindred to Jesus, and is unnamed and is paralleled by the other pair, which is not kindred and of which the names are given. Hebrew writers often used such parallelism. 3. It accords with John’s custom to withhold the names of himself and all kindred, so that in his Gospel he nowhere gives his own, his mother’s, or his brother’s name, nor does he even give the name of our Lord’s mother, who was his aunt. 4. The relationship explains in part why Jesus, when dying, left the care of his mother to John. It was not an unnatural thing to impose such a burden upon a kinsman.

[FFG 220-226]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 10". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tfg/matthew-10.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.