Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Matthew 10

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

Enter query below:
Additional Authors


Matthew 10:0


The Mission of TwelveThe Twelve ApostlesCommissioning and Instruction of the TwelveThe Twelve ApostlesThe Mission of the Twelve
(Matthew 10:1-1)
Matthew 10:1-4Matthew 10:1-4Matthew 10:1-4Matthew 10:1-4Matthew 10:1
Matthew 10:2-5a
The Commissioning of the TwelveSending Out the Twelve The Mission of the Twelve
Matthew 10:5-15Matthew 10:5-15Matthew 10:5-15Matthew 10:5-10Matthew 10:5-10
Matthew 10:11-15Matthew 10:11-16
Coming PersecutionsPersecutions are Coming Coming PersecutionsThe Missionaries Will Be Persecuted
Matthew 10:16-23Matthew 10:16-26Matthew 10:16-23Matthew 10:16-20
Matthew 10:17-20
Matthew 10:21-23Matthew 10:21-23
Matthew 10:24-25 Matthew 10:24-25Matthew 10:24-25Matthew 10:24-25
Whom to FearJesus Teaches the Fear of God Whom to FearOpen and Fearless Speech
Matthew 10:26-31 Matthew 10:26-31Matthew 10:26-31Matthew 10:26-27
Matthew 10:27-31
Matthew 10:28-31
Confessing Christ Before MenConfess Christ Before men Confessing and Rejecting Christ
Matthew 10:32-33Matthew 10:32-33Matthew 10:32-33Matthew 10:32-33Matthew 10:32-33
Not Peace, But a SwordChrist Brings Division Not Peace, But a SwordJesus, the Cause of Dissension
Matthew 10:34-39Matthew 10:34-39Matthew 10:34-39Matthew 10:34-36Matthew 10:34-36
Renouncing Self to Follow Jesus
Matthew 10:37-39Matthew 10:37-39
RewardsA Cup of Cold Water RewardsConclusion of the Instruction
Matthew 10:40-1Matthew 10:40-42Matthew 10:40-1Matthew 10:40-42Matthew 10:40
Matthew 10:41
Matthew 10:42

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

BACKGROUND TO Matthew 10:1-42

A. The newly chosen disciples are sent out on a mission trip which was foreshadowed in Matthew 9:37-38. Jesus also sent, at a later time, a larger group of seventy disciples (cf. Luke 10:1ff).

B. This passage is paralleled in Mark 3:14-16; Mark 6:7-13; and Luke 9:1-6. There may have been several of these kinds of mission trips.

C. Jesus' message to the Twelve has three divisions marked off by the recurrent phrase "Truly, I say to you" Matthew 10:15, Matthew 10:23, Matthew 10:42.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Why did Jesus limit Himself mostly to the Jews? Can you list the exceptions?

2. Why do Matthew, Mark, and Luke differ in their accounts of Jesus' life?

3. Are there degrees of reward and punishment? Based on what?

4. What is verse Matthew 10:23 referring to?

5. Why is public acknowledgment of faith in Jesus so important?

6. Why does Jesus cause such controversy?

7. What does it mean to take up one's cross and follow Him?

Verse 1

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:1 1Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

Matthew 10:1 "twelve" This is the first time this number is stated, possibly corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. See Special Topic: The Number Twelve at Matthew 14:20.

"disciples" This is literally "learners." The New Testament emphasizes disciples, not just decisions (cf. Matthew 28:19; Acts 14:21)! The Special Topic below addresses this theological distinction.


"gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out" Jesus empowered these followers with His power. They became His official representatives (i.e., Apostles). The physical miracles were a way of confirming Jesus' new message.


"unclean spirits. . .heal every kind of disease" Notice a distinction is made between demon possession and disease. Demons can cause diseases, but not always.


Verses 2-15

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:2-15 2Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; 4Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. 5These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, freely you received, freely give. 9Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. 11 And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city."

Matthew 10:2 "the names of the twelve apostles" The term " apostle" (see note at Matthew 10:5) is used only in Matthew (here) and Mark (Matthew 3:14) in connection with the list of the apostles'names, also once more in Mark 6:30. It is much more common in Luke and Acts.

1. Luke 6:13; Luke 9:10; Luke 11:49; Luke 17:5; Luke 22:14; Luke 24:10

2. Acts

a. the Twelve, Acts 1:2, Acts 1:26; Acts 2:37, Acts 2:42, Acts 2:43; Acts 4:33, Acts 4:35, Acts 4:36, Acts 4:37; Acts 5:2, Acts 5:12, Acts 5:18, Acts 5:29, Acts 5:40; Acts 6:6; Acts 8:1, Acts 8:14, Acts 8:18; Acts 9:27; Acts 11:1; Acts 15:2, Acts 15:4, Acts 15:6, Acts 15:22, Acts 15:23; Acts 16:4

b. other apostles (later use of the term)

(1) Paul, Acts 14:4; Acts 14:4, Acts 14:14 (equal authority with the Twelve)

(2) BarnabasActs 14:14; Acts 14:14 (lesson authority)

The lists of the Apostles are found in Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:12-16, and Acts 1:13-14. The names and order change slightly. However, they are always in three groups of four. Peter is always first and Judas Iscariot is always last. The groupings stay the same. These groupings were possibly a rotating system whereby certain disciples could go home for short periods to check on their families.


Matthew 10:3 "Bartholomew" He was also called Nathaniel (cf. John 1:45-51).

"Matthew" He was also called Levi (cf. Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27).

"Thaddeus" He was also called Judas, the son or brother of James (cf. Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13) or Lebbaeus (Greek MSS C2, L, and W).

Matthew 10:4

NASB, NJB" Simon the Zealot" NKJV"Simon the Canaanite" NRSV"Simon the Canaanean" TEV"Simon the Patriot"

He was also called "the Canaanean," which could refer to one from Cana (cf. Mark 3:18). However, the Greek reflects a Hebrew term "zealous." He was a Jewish patriot and separatist (cf. Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). For Matthew and Simon to be in the same group shows the radical change that Jesus accomplished in these men's lives.

"Iscariot" This term can mean a man from a city in Judah, Kerioth (from the Hebrew), or an assassin's knife (from the Greek). If he was from Judah, he was the only Apostle from the south.

"the one who betrayed him" There is an interesting book that attempts to interpret Judas in a new, a more positive way, Judas, Betrayer or Friend of Jesus? by William Klassen, published by Fortress Press, 1996. However, to do so it completely ignores John's Gospel.

Matthew 10:5 "sent" This was from the same Greek root as " apostle" (apostello, used in the LXX for God sending the prophets to speak for Him), which came to mean within rabbinical circles "sent one" with the implication of official authority. Mark 6:7 tells us Jesus sent the Apostles out in pairs.

"do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans" This is probably the source of Paul's "Jew first and also the Greeks" (cf. Romans 1:16). This was not exclusivism, but limiting His emphasis so as to give Abraham's descendants every chance to respond.

The Jews hated the Samaritans because they were considered half-breeds. This referred to the Assyrian exile of the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel in 722 B.C. Thousands of Jews were deported to Media and thousands of Gentiles were exiled to take their place in Israel. Over the years an amalgamation of religion and social customs had occurred (cf. Ezra and Neh.). At this early stage of Jesus' ministry the inclusion of either of these groups would have negatively affected His ability to reach Jews!

Matthew 10:6 "the lost sheep" This was an unusual combination of terms; "sheep" often referred to God's people (cf. John 10:0), while " lost" implied their spiritual helplessness and vulnerability (cf. Matthew 9:36), especially if there is no shepherd (cf. Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17; Psalms 119:176; Isaiah 53:6; Zechariah 13:7).

"of the house of Israel" This was an idiomatic way of referring to the descendants of the Patriarchs. They are also known as

1. the house of Jacob (i.e., Luke 1:33, cf. Matthew 15:24; Acts 2:36; Hebrews 8:8)

2. the house of Judah (i.e., Hebrews 8:8)

3. children of Abraham (i.e., Matthew 3:9; John 8:33, John 8:39)


Matthew 10:7 "as you go" This is a present active participle used as an imperative (cf. Matthew 28:19).

"preach" This was a present imperative. This is a foreshadowing of (1) the mission trips of the Twelve and seventy and (2) the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8.

"kingdom. . .is at hand" This was to be the content that they were to preach (cf. Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9, Luke 10:11; Luke 11:20; Luke 21:31). The kingdom is the reign of God in human's hearts now which will one day be consummated over all the earth (cf. Matthew 6:10). Although the disciples did not understand it yet (i.e., Luke 24:16, Luke 24:31), it began with the Incarnation of Christ (the Messiah) and will be consummated at the Second Coming of Christ. Initially Jesus and the disciples preached a message similar to John the Baptist's message. See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE KINGDOM OF GOD at Matthew 4:17.

Matthew 10:8 "heal. . .raise. . .cleanse. . .cast out" These are all present imperatives (cf. Matthew 10:1). They went and ministered as Jesus ministered. His power and authority were flowing through them. These signs confirmed their message about Him.

The Greek manuscripts contain several variations of the phrase "raise the dead." This may be because (1) biblical records are lacking that the twelve Apostles did this, (2) it is metaphorical of the spiritually dead, and (3) Matthew used the other three verbs often without mentioning "raising the dead." See Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary On the Greek New Testament, pp. 27-28. The phrase is included in the uncial MSS א, B, C, D, N, and many versions.

"lepers" In the OT the disease of leprosy was a sign of God's disfavor (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:16-23).

"cast out demons" Jesus' power is greater than Satan and the demonic (cf. 1 John 4:4). The demons are designated by the terms " spirits," (cf. Matthew 8:16) and "unclean spirits," (cf. Matthew 10:1). The origin of demons is not disclosed in Scripture. The rabbis attribute the origin of evil in the world to Genesis 6:0 (Paul says it was Genesis 3, cf. Romans 5:12-21). They assert that the "sons of God" (see Special Topic on Genesis 1-11 commentary online at www.freebiblecommentary.org) mentioned in Genesis 6:0 became disembodied at their death by the flood of Noah and became the demons of the NT period seeking another body.

"freely you received, freely give" This is not a passage against salaries for missionaries, but rather encouraging believers to trust in God while doing Kingdom work in (1) His power, (2) His provisions, and (3) His purposes to be accomplished. These verses are not universal principles, but guidelines for this particular mission trip (cf. Luke 22:35-36). They are the practical application of Matthew 6:25-34 to the present situation.

Matthew 10:9 "your money belts" This was how first century Jews carried their coinage.

Matthew 10:10 "bag" This kind of bag functioned as a suitcase. The disciples were not to carry with them every thing they might need, but trust God's daily provision.

"or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff" Comparisons with Mark 6:8-9 have caused great controversy. The theories are

1. " staff" could be used in two different senses: a walking stick or a defensive club

2. the two shirts of Matthew 10:10 imply "do not take extras of these items"

3. Luke 22:35-36 shows one harmonization

The Gospels were not written for us to compare the details. The key to this text is that believers are to trust in God for His provisions; rely on His resources!

"for the worker is worthy of his support" Jesus is probably alluding to the truth of Deuteronomy 25:4 (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:6-7, 1 Corinthians 9:14; 1 Timothy 5:18), which goes back to Deuteronomy 24:14-15 (cf. Leviticus 19:13). Gospel preachers are to be supported by their hearers! The NT guidelines for giving are not OT tithing, but voluntary, sacrificial, joyful, according to the ability (cf. Matthew 10:2 Corinthians 8-9). See SPECIAL TOPIC: TITHING at Matthew 23:23.

Matthew 10:11

NASB"inquire who is worthy in it; and stay at this house until you leave that city" NKJV"inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out" NRSV"find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave" TEV"Go in and look for someone who is willing to welcome you, and stay with him until you leave that place" NJB"Seek out someone worthy and stay with him until you leave"

When they came to a village (1) they were to seek out a godly home which desired the blessing of their presence, and (2) they were not to move again and again seeking better accommodations. It is possible that the godly home would be one of the first that responded to their preaching.

Matthew 10:12 "give it your greeting" This referred to the traditional Jewish blessing of peace, shalom.

Matthew 10:13 "if. . .if" There are two third class conditional sentences which meant potential future action.

Matthew 10:14 "shake the dust off your feet" This was a Jewish symbol of rejection (cf. Acts 13:51; Acts 18:6).

Matthew 10:15 This is one passage that implies degrees of judgment based on the amount of light that has been rejected (cf. Matthew 11:22-24). Also notice the same book which reveals God's matchless love also reveals God's wrath and judgment. See SPECIAL TOPIC: DEGREES OF REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTs at Matthew 5:12.

"Truly" See Special Topic at Matthew 5:18.

Verses 16-20

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:16-20 16Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Matthew 10:16 "I send you out as sheep" Sheep were a metaphor for the new faith community which was fragile, helpless, and in need of constant care and protection, see Luke 10:3 and John 10:0. This the first of four metaphors from the animal kingdom that characterize humanity.

"in the midst of wolves" Wolves represented those who prey on the new community of faith, see Matthew 7:15-27; Luke 10:3; John 10:12; Acts 20:29; 2 Peter 2:0.

"shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves" Believers must be wise but innocent (cf. Romans 16:19). They were to avoid conflict when possible, but remain bold proclaimers of the gospel.

Matthew 10:17 "Because of. . ." This is a present active imperative (cf. Matthew 7:15; Matthew 16:6, Matthew 16:11). Even with the dawn of the new age (Romans 5-6), the old age remains (Romans 7:0)! This is the tension of " the already" and the "not yet" of the overlapping (i.e., two comings of Christ) of the two ages. See Special Topic at Matthew 12:31.

"the courts" This referred to local Jewish synagogue courts (cf. Matthew 23:34). It is interesting to note that some of Mark's eschatological discourse (cf. Mark 13:9-13) of Jesus is repeated here instead of Matthew 24:0. Therefore, this mission assignment of the Disciples takes on eschatological implications (as does Matthew 10:23).

"scourge" This referred to Jewish flogging (cf. Deuteronomy 25:3), which consisted of one less than forty lashes, one-third on the front of the body and two-thirds on the back (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:24).

"in their synagogues" See parallel at Matthew 23:34. This was the local place of worship, education, and welfare relief.

Matthew 10:18 "you will even be brought before governors and kings" This referred to the future universal spread of the gospel (cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). It is important that the narrow exclusiveness of Matthew 10:5 be balanced by this verse. Gordon Fee (How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth, p. 133) makes the assertion that Matthew 10:5-12 relate to the sending out of the Twelve new apostles, but Matthew 10:10-20 are instructions for a much later time (i.e., governors, kings, Gentiles) because at first Jesus came only to the lost sheep of Israel. This illustrates how the Gospel writers "selected, rearranged, and adapted" Jesus' teachings to meet the needs of the early church.

Another example of this is Matthew 10:23 "until the Son of Man comes" (see note at Matthew 10:23). Obviously this could have several meanings depending on the historical period.

"governors and kings" If this refers to (1) Jesus' day, then Pontius Pilate or (2) Paul's mission activities then

1. " governors" could be the Roman governors of Felix (Acts 23:24) or Festus (Acts 24:27)

2. " kings" could be Agrippa I (Acts 12:1) or Agrippa II (Acts 25:13)

They basically stand for governmental authority of any kind.

Matthew 10:19 This speaks of special illumination and grace during persecution (cf. Mark 13:11; Luke 21:12). This is not a proof-text for preachers and teachers not studying before proclaiming! This verse and verse Matthew 10:26 are aorist subjunctives with the negative particle which meant never start an action. Verses Matthew 10:28 and 31, which also deal with fear, are present imperatives with the negative particle which usually meant stop an act in process.

Matthew 10:20 "it is the Spirit of your Father" Here the Holy Spirit is linked to the Father (cf. Romans 8:11, Romans 8:14). In Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 4:6; and 1 Peter 1:11 the Spirit is linked to the Son. There is a fluidity between the persons of the Trinity. They all participate in the acts of redemption. See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE TRINITY at Matthew 3:17.

Verses 21-22

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:21-22 21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against his parents and cause them to be put to death. 22You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

Matthew 10:21 This speaks of the radical commitment necessary for discipleship which supersedes even family love and often caused confrontation within families (cf. Matthew 10:34-39).

Matthew 10:22 "you will be hated by all because of My name" Persecution was expected for disciples of Jesus (cf. Matthew 5:10-12; John 15:18-21; John 16:1-3; John 17:14; Acts 14:22; Romans 5:3-4; Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 2 Corinthians 11:23-30; Philippians 1:29; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 3:12; James 1:2-4; and all of 1 Peter.


"it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved" The doctrine of the "perseverance" (see Special Topic below) is as biblical as "the security of the believers!" (cf. Matthew 24:13; Galatians 6:9; Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:5, Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:7). We must affirm both truths, even though they cause doctrinal tension! Doctrines are given in tension-filled relationship to other doctrines, not isolated truths. The best illustration is that biblical truth is revealed as constellations of stars, not as single stars. We must focus on the patterns of the whole of biblical revelation.

"End" (telos) refers to the end of this age (cf. Matthew 24:6, Matthew 24:13, Matthew 24:14). "Saved" can be understood in its OT sense of physical deliverance or its NT sense of spiritual salvation.


Verse 23

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:23 23"But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes."

Matthew 10:23 "But, whenever they persecute you" This is missing in Luke, but has a parallel in Mark 9:1. See note and Special Topic at Matthew 10:22.

"flee to the next" Believers must avoid conflict and confrontation when possible. Evangelism must be the constant goal!

"Truly" See Special Topic at Matthew 5:18.

"you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes" This was probably initially understood as

1. Jesus will rejoin the Twelve after their mission

2. Jesus asserts His authority in Jerusalem

3. inauguration of the church (i.e., Pentecost)

4. Jesus fulfilling His promises to them (i.e., upper room event of John 20:19-23)

5. the judgment on Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (NASB Study Bible, p. 1382)

6. Jesus' Second coming in power as Judge (i.e., Daniel 7:13-14), inaugurating the eternal kingdom

See Special Topic: the Any-Moment Return of Jesus vs. the Not-Yet (NT paradox) at Matthew 24:27.

Verses 24-25

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:24-25 24"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!"

Matthew 10:25 "if" This is a first class conditional sentence which is assumed to be true from the author's perspective or for his literary purposes.

"Beelzebul" This was a compound term from Ba'al and Zebub. This was the local Ba'al of Ekron (cf. 2 Kings 1:16). The Jews changed the names of pagan rulers and pagan gods by changing the vowels, to make fun of them. The term can be translated as "Lord of the house," " Lord of the flies," or "Lord of the dung."

The second term was often spelled Zebul, the chief demon in Jewish folklore (cf. Matthew 12:24; Luke 11:15). This explains why NASB and NRSV have Beelzebul, while NKJV and NIV have Beelzebub.

Verses 26-27

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:26-27 26Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

Matthew 10:26 "do not fear them" This is a negative aorist passive (deponent) subjunctive like Matthew 10:19 functioning as an aorist active imperative like Matthew 10:28 and 31. This construction meant "do not even start an action." This verse states that the motives and purposes of the human hearts, both positive and negative, will be known on Judgment Day.

It is difficult to relate the truth of this verse with the biblical promises that when God forgives, God forgets (cf. Psalms 103:11-14; Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 38:17; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22; Micah 7:19). Possibly unconfessed (believers, cf. 1 John 1:7-9) sin or unforgiven (unbelievers) sin is being referred to. I so rejoice in the "forgetfulness of God" ! Jesus' blood cleanses from all sin (cf. Hebrews 9:0)!

Believers are not to fear humans, but respect/fear God (cf. Matthew 10:28; Hebrews 10:31).

Overall I think this verse refers to the motives and actions of

1. unworthy houses, Matthew 10:13

2. wolves, Matthew 10:16

3. evil men, Matthew 10:17

4. governors and kings, Matthew 10:18

5. brother, Matthew 10:21

6. child, Matthew 10:21

7. "they" of Matthew 10:23

8. "them" of Matthew 10:26

9. "those" of Matthew 10:28

Matthew 10:27 "housetops" The flat rooftops common in Palestine were places of social activity; therefore, what was told would become public knowledge. Jesus wants His message known by all mankind!

Verses 28-31

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:28-31 28Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But the very hairs of your head are numbered. 31So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:28 "Do not fear" See notes at Matthew 10:26.

"to destroy" See Special Topic: Apollumi at Matthew 2:13.

"soul and body" This verse does not refer to a sharp dichotomy between body, soul, and spirit, but is an expression of the possibility of physical death, but not eternal death for believers.


"in hell" This was the Hebrew term "Gehenna." It was a compound of "valley" and "(sons of) Hinnom." This was a valley outside Jerusalem where a Canaanite fertility and fire god (cf. Leviticus 18:21) was worshiped by sacrificing children (called molech). The Jews turned it into the garbage dump for Jerusalem. Jesus' metaphors of eternal punishment were taken from this burning, stinking, worm-infested dump. See Special Topic: Where Are the Dead? at Matthew 5:22.

Matthew 10:29-30 "sparrows. . .hairs" God cares and knows about every aspect of believers'lives (cf. Luke 12:6; Luke 21:18; 1 Peter 5:7). This is a promise of individual (not corporate) concern.

"a cent" This is literally "assarion," which was a Roman copper coin. One assarion could buy several sparrows.

Matthew 10:31 "So do not fear" See note at Matthew 10:19 and 26.

Verses 32-33

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:32-33 32"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is heaven."

Matthew 10:32 "who confesses Me before men" This meant " publicly acknowledge" (cf. Mark 8:38; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:8-9). Verses Matthew 10:32 and 33 are contrasting parallel statements. Christianity is a God-offered covenant that must be personally, publicly received, obeyed and maintained.


"My Father in heaven" There are several different pronouns used with Father.

1. your - Matthew 5:16, Matthew 5:45; Matthew 6:1; Matthew 7:11

2. our - Matthew 6:9

3. My - Matthew 7:21; Matthew 10:32, Matthew 10:33; Matthew 12:50

I think 12:50 is crucial, one who does the Father's will, as Jesus does, is part of the family. One who refuses is not part of the family. It must have been particularly irritating to the Jewish leaders of Jesus' day to hear Him, an unofficial rabbi and Galilean upstate, to use "Father" to refer to YHWH, the Holy One of Israel. Even more so to allow the outcast to be included in God's family!

Matthew 10:33 The antonym of "confess" (homologeô, cf. Matthew 10:32 [twice]) is "deny" (arneomai, cf. Matthew 10:33 [twice]; Matthew 26:70, Matthew 26:72 [aparneomai in Matthew 26:35, Matthew 26:75]). See SPECIAL TOPIC: CONFESSION at Matthew 10:32 above.

This is a shocking verse, as is 2 Timothy 2:12. It must be remembered that public acknowledgment in word (cf. Romans 10:9-13) and deed (cf. Matthew 13:1-23; Matthew 25:36-46) is crucial. The decisions made now relate to eternity (cf. Matthew 25:46).

Verses 34-36

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:34-36 34"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and a man's enemies will be the members of his household."

Matthew 10:34 "Do not think" According to the Analytical Greek New Testament by Barbara and Timothy Friberg, this verb is an aorist active subjunctive used as an aorist active imperative.

Jesus was probably speaking these words against the backdrop of the Jewish expectations concerning the Messiah, who was called the "Prince of Peace" (cf. Isaiah 9:6). The Jews expected the Messiah to usher in a military order and a nationalistic peace on the Jews'behalf (cf. Luke 12:49-53).

"peace" This term's etymology was "to bring together that which was broken" (cf. John 14:24).

"I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" Jesus did not come to bring war or strife, but the fact that He has come forces humans to make a radical decision between "followship" or rejection (cf. John 3:17; Luke 12:51-53).

Matthew 10:35 "for I came to set a man against his father" See Matthew 10:21. The parallel in Luke 14:26 has the Hebrew idiom, "hate father," which was an idiom of comparison. We must recognize this as a Hebrew idiom instead of interpreting it literally (cf. Genesis 29:31, Genesis 29:33; Deuteronomy 15:0; Malachi 1:2-3; John 12:25). This speaks of a radical priority commitment to Jesus which supercedes all earthly ties.

Matthew 10:35-36 This is a quote from Micah 7:6. This passage was often quoted in eschatological settings (cf. Mark 13:12 and Luke 12:53).

Matthew 10:36 "a man's enemies will be the members of his household" A good example of this type of familial pressure can be seen in Peter's response to Jesus' claim to Messiahship (cf. Matthew 16:22).

Verses 37-39

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:37-39 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. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it."

Matthew 10:37 "He who loves. . .more than Me" The key here is radical priority commitment. Discipleship, unlike decision, is a life-long commitment of followship and obedience!

"is not worthy of Me" See Luke 9:62.

Matthew 10:38 "take his cross and follow after Me" This is a graphic metaphorical summons to total commitment to Christ for life. Jesus is demanding that possible followers count the cost (cf. Luke 14:25-35).

The cross was a Phoenician method of execution that was taken over by the Romans and developed into an ordeal involving several days of excruciating pain before death. Its purpose was to discourage non-Romans from criminal activity. There was a historical precedent of its use in Palestine:

1. Antiochus IV "Epiphanes" crucified eight hundred Pharisees

2. Varus, a Roman general, put down a revolt and crucified two thousand Jews along the highways of Palestine (cf. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Matthew 17:10:10)

3. Herod planned on crucifying many Pharisees at his death so that people would grieve

This metaphor does not refer to some particular problem in your life. It refers to death-death to self (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:16).

Matthew 10:39 "life. . .life" This was the Greek term psuche. This term was often synonymous with "spirit" [pneuma]. In this context, however, it seems to refer to an individual person or self. This statement involved a radical crucifixion of self interest in light of Jesus' interest (cf. Matthew 10:39; Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; John 12:25). Salvation involves far more than a decision or prayer. It demands one's all (possessions, family, reputation, time, and energy)! Nothing less will do!

"lose" See Special Topic: Apollumi at Matthew 2:13.

Verses 40-42

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Matthew 10:40-42 40"He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."

Matthew 10:40, Matthew 10:41 "He who receives you receives Me. . .a prophet. . .a righteous man" The context seems to imply that Jesus is referred to personally by all three of these terms. The term "prophet" alludes to Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18. The term "righteous man" equals "the Righteous One" of Acts 7:52 and possibly the Dead Sea Scrolls phrase "teacher of righteousness."

Jesus' radical new message was directed to those who would trust Him and His words. One must first repent and receive Him as their savior and hope. In so doing they become identified with the new spiritual kingdom of God. The disciple represents Jesus Himself and His message, therefore, whoever receives them and their message, receives Jesus and to receive Jesus is to receive the Father (cf. John 8:19; John 16:3; John 17:3; 1 John 2:23; 1 John 4:15; 1 John 5:1, 1 John 5:10-12; 2 John 1:9). One cannot know or fellowship with the Father except through the Son (cf. John 14:6-7, John 14:8-11).

"sent" See Special Topic below.


Matthew 10:42 "gives to one of these little ones" Loving help by one Christian should be given to another simply because they are both related to Jesus Christ. "Little ones" are not children, but new believers (cf. Matthew 18:6).

"Truly" See Special Topic at Matthew 5:18.

"reward" The Bible is replete with statements concerning the Christian's reward. These rewards are based on the Spirit's activity in believers and their yieldedness to His activity. However, in the bountiful grace of God believers will be rewarded for their Christ-like yieldedness and the effective operation of the Spirit working through their spiritual giftedness! See Special Topic at Matthew 5:12.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Matthew 10". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/matthew-10.html. 2021.
Ads FreeProfile