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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Matthew 10

 

 

Verse 1

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

The last three verses of Matthew 9:1-38 form the proper introduction to the Mission of the Twelve; as is evident from the remarkable fact that the Mission of the Seventy was prefaced by the very same words. (See the note at Luke 10:2.)

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power , [ exousian (Greek #1849)]. The word signifies both 'power,' and 'authority' or 'right.' Even if it were not evident that here both ideas are included, we find both words expressly used in the parallel passage of Luke (Luke 9:1) - "He gave them power and authority" [ dunamin (Greek #1411) kai (Greek #2532) exousian (Greek #1849)] - in other words, He both qualified and authorized them --

Against (or 'over') unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease.


Verse 2

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The other Evangelists enumerate the Twelve in immediate connection with their appointment (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16). But our Evangelist, not intending to record the appointment, but only the Mission of the Twelve, gives their names here. And as in the Acts (Acts 1:13) we have a list of the Eleven who met daily in the upper room with the other disciples after their Master's ascension until the day of Pentecost, we have four catalogues in all for comparison.

The first, Simon, who is called Peter (see the note at John 1:42), and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother - named after James, as the younger of the two.


Verse 3

Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

Philip, and Bartholomew. That this person is the same with "Nathanael of Cana in Galilee," is justly concluded for the three following reasons: First, because Bartholomew [bar Talmay, or 'son of Ptolemy'] is not so properly a name as a family surname; next, because not only in this list, but in Mark's and Luke's, he follows the name of "Philip," who was the instrument of bringing Nathanael first to Jesus (John 1:45); and again, when our Lord, after His resurrection, appeared at the sea of Tiberias, "Nathanael of Cana in Galilee" is mentioned along with six others, all of them apostles, as being present (John 21:2).

Matthew the publican. In none of the four lists of the Twelve is this apostle so branded but in his own one, as if he would have all to know how deep a debtor he had been to his Lord. (See the notes at Matthew 1:3; Matthew 1:5-6; and Matthew 9:9, and Remark 2 on that section.)

James the son of Alpheus , [= Chalpay] - the same person apparently who is called Cleopas or Clopas (Luke 24:18; John 19:25); and as he was the husband of Mary, sister to the Virgin, James the less must have been our Lord's cousin.

And Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus - the same, without doubt, as "Judas the brother of James," mentioned in both the lists of Luke (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13), while no one of the name of Lebbeus or Thaddeus is so. It is he who in John (John 14:22) is sweetly called "Judas, not Iscariot." That he was the author of the Catholic Epistle of "Jude," and not "the Lord's brother" (Matthew 13:55), unless these be the same, is most likely.


Verse 4

Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Simon the Canaanite; rather 'Kananite' [ Kananitees (Greek #2581)], but better still, 'the Zealot' [ Zeelootees (Greek #2208)], as he is called in Luke 6:15, where the original term should not have been retained as in our version ("Simon, called Zelotes"), but rendered 'Simon, called the Zealot.' The word "Kananite" is just the Aramaic, or Syro-Chaldaic, term for 'Zealot' [Heb. qaana' (Hebrew #7065) 'jealous' or 'zealous'-Chald. qan'an]. Probably before his acquaintance with Jesus, he belonged to the sect of the Zealots, who bound themselves, as a sort of voluntary ecclesiastical police, to see that the law was not broken with impunity.

And Judas Iscariot - that is, Judas of Kerioth, a town of Judah (Joshua 15:25); so called to distinguish him from "Judas the brother of James" (Luke 6:16).

Who also betrayed him - a note of infamy attached to his name in all the catalogues of the Twelve.

Remarks:

(1) As the reapers of every harvest are appointed by the proprietor of the field, so the labourers whom God will own in "His harvest" are of His own appointing, and to be sought of Him by prayer (Matthew 9:38). Even the Lord Jesus spent a whole night in prayer to God before selecting the Twelve Apostles (Luke 6:12-13). But just as in that case the Redeemer followed up His prayer by action, so must we. If to take action for providing preachers without asking them from God be the spirit of naturalism, to cry to God for preachers and do nothing to provide them, is mere fanaticism; but to do both, with full assurance that each is indispensable for its own purposes, and necessary to make the other available - this is to tread in the very footsteps of Christ. In every age and every land the nature of the steps requisite on our part to procure and prepare the proper labourers will vary; but our action in this matter is not superseded by divine interpositions. The Lord indeed will not bind Himself to employ none on whom no human preparation has been bestowed; and facts prove that to disown the labours of all on whom the stamp of an organized Church has not been affixed, would be to that to disown the labours of all on whom the stamp of an organized Church has not been affixed, would be to fight against God.

But to make such exceptional cases determine the Church's line of procedure, in so solemn a matter as the Gospel ministry, would be short-sighted and ruinous. On the other hand, as the tendency of all churches is to depend upon its own measures for providing qualified preachers of the everlasting Gospel, it will be our true wisdom to drink in the spirit of the Master's teaching here - that the Lord appoints His own labourers, and for this thing must be entreated of us to do it for us; remembering that whatever be the gifts which men bring to the work of the ministry, and whatever their external success in it, unless they be of God's own selecting and appointing, they have no right to be there, and are liable at the last to hear from the lips of the Lord of the harvest those awful words, "I never knew you."

(2) Did the Redeemer, as He beheld the multitudes harassed and abandoned, like shepherdless sheep, have compassion upon them, and go out in thought to the vastness of the harvest to be gathered in and the fewness of the labourers to do it; and did He call the attention of His disciples to this affecting state of things, that they might enter into His own mind about it, and, like Himself, carry the matter to God for relief? Then, what a model-attitude for ourselves is here held up before us! Were the churches, and all the true followers of Christ, to direct their eye steadily upon the spiritually wretched and necessitous condition of the world, until their eye affected their heart, and the cry of faith went up from it to God, to send forth labourers into His harvest, how speedily would the answer come, and in how rich a form! Nor would it be confined to the direct object of their prayer. For He, whose own very attitude in the days of His flesh would thus be reflected by His believing people, would set the seal of His complacency upon them in a thousand ways-drying up the fountains of dissension and separation and weakness among themselves, and drawing them into love and concord and strength, to the astonishment of a surrounding world. Blessed Jesus, shall not this consummation be realized at length? "My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath at all times" to see this great sight, which we cannot doubt will be fulfilled in its season. On the choice of the apostles, we observe,

(3) That the number Twelve was fixed on to correspond with the number of the tribes of Israel, as is evident from Matthew 19:28; as the number of Seventy, to go on a subsequent mission (Luke 10:1), had certainly a reference to the seventy elders of Israel, on whom the Spirit of the Lord was made to rest, that they might bear along with Moses the burden of administration (Numbers 11:16-17; Numbers 11:25).

(4) The relationship existing among those Twelve is one of the most remarkable facts. There were no fewer than three pairs of brothers among them: Andrew and Peter; James and John; James the less and Judas, or Lebbaeus, or Simon the Zealot-not to speak of the special tie which bound Bartholomew, or Nathanael, to Philip, and the common tie that bound them all together as disciples-probably the most devoted and advanced-of John the Baptist, and as drawn mostly from the same locality. Reasons for all this may easily be imagined; but we here leave the fact to speak for itself.

(5) Our Enangelist enumerates the Twelve in couples, with evident allusion to their being sent on this mission "by two and two" (Mark 6:7).

(6) In all the first three lists the names are arranged in three quaternions, or divisions of four each. Nor can it be doubted that this has reference to some distribution of them by the Lord Himself; because in all of them Philip stands first in the second quaternion-as in the third, James the son of Alpheus.

(7) The first quaternion evidently stood highest in order. Peter and James and John, who constituted a sacred trio in some of the leading events of our Lord's public life, were at the head of all; Andrew being associated with them, to make up the first quaternion, not only as being Peter's Brother, but as having been the first to "bring him to Jesus" (John 1:41-42). In the lists of Matthew and Luke he stands next after Peter, from connection with him; while in the other two lists the sacred trio stand first, the name of Andrew completing that quaternion.

(8) When our Evangelist says, "The first, Simon" - without assigning a number to any of the rest-while in the other three lists his name stands first, as it does here, the evident design is to hold forth his prominence among the Twelve: not as having any authority above the rest-for not a vestige of this appears in the New Testament-but as marking the use which His Lord made of him above any of the rest; for which his qualifications, in spite of failing, stand out on almost every page of the Gospel History, and in the earlier portion of the Acts of the Apostles.

(9) With the exception of the four first names, the rest are almost unknown in the New Testament; and the slight variety with which they are arranged in the several lists shows the little prominence with which they were regarded for the purposes of this History.

(10) In all the catalogues the name of Judas not only stands last, but "traitor" is added to it as a brand of abhorrence; and so revolting were the associations connected with his name, that the beloved disciple, in recording a deeply interesting question put at the last supper by Judas to his Lord, hastens to explain, in a sweet parenthesis, that it was "not Iscariot" that he meant (John 14:22).

(11) How terrific is the warning which the case of Judas holds forth to the ministers of Christ, not to trust in any gifts, any offices, any services, any success, as sure evidence of divine acceptance, apart from that "holiness without which no man shall see the Lord"!

This directory divides itself into three distinct parts. The first part-extending from 5 to 15-contains directions for the brief and temporary mission on which they were now going forth, with respect to the places they were to go to, the works they were to do, the message they were to bear, and the manner in which they were to conduct themselves. The second part-extending from Matthew 10:16 to Matthew 23:1-39 - contains directions of no such limited and temporary nature, but opens out into the permanent exercise of the Gospel ministry. The third part-extending from Matthew 10:24-42 -is of wider application still, reaching not only to the ministry of the Gospel in every age, but to the service of Christ in the widest sense. It is a strong confirmation of this threefold division, that each part closes with the words, "VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU" (Matthew 10:15; Matthew 10:23; Matthew 10:42).


Verse 5

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. The Samaritans were Gentiles by blood; but being the descendants of those whom the king of Assyria had transported from the East to supply the place of the ten tribes carried captive, they had adopted the religion of the Jews, though with admixtures of their own; and, as the nearest neighbours of the Jews, they occupied a place intermediate between them and the Gentiles. Accordingly, when this prohibition was to be taken off, on the effusion of the Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles were told that they should be Christ's witnesses first "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea," then "in Samaria," and lastly, "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).


Verse 6

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Until Christ's death, which broke down the middle wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14), the Gospel commission was to the Jews only, who, though the visible people of God, were "lost sheep," not merely in the sense in which all sinners are (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:25; with Luke 19:10), but as abandoned and left to wander from the right way by faithless shepherds, (Jeremiah 50:6; Jeremiah 50:17; Ezekiel 34:2-6, etc)


Verse 7

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (See the note at Matthew 3:2.)


Verse 8

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, [raise the dead,] cast out devils. [The bracketed clause - "raise the dead" - is wanting in so many MSS. and ancient versions that Tischendorf and others omit it altogether, as having found ire way into this verse from Matthew 11:5. Griesbach, Lachmann, and Tregelles insert it, putting it before the words "cleanse the lepers," which, if it be genuine, is its right place. But it seems very improbable that our Lord imparted at so early a period this highest of all forms of supernatural power.] Here we have the first communication of supernatural power by Christ Himself to his followers-thus anticipating the gifts of Pentecost. And royally does he dispense it.

Freely ye have received, freely give. Divine saying, divinely said! (cf. Deuteronomy 15:10-11; Acts 3:6) - an apple of gold in a setting of silver (Proverbs 25:11). It reminds us of that other golden saying of our Lord, rescued from oblivion by Paul, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Who can estimate what the world owes to such sayings, and with what beautiful foliage and rich fruit such seeds have covered, and will yet cover, this earth!


Verse 9

Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

Provide neither gold, nor silver nor brass in [ eis (G1519) 'for'] your purses , [ zoonas (Greek #2223)] - literally, 'your belts,' in which they kept their money.


Verse 10

Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Nor scrip for your journey - the wallet used by travelers for holding provisions --

Neither two coats , [ chitoonas (Greek #5509)] - or tunics, worn next the skin. The meaning is, Take no change of dress, no additional articles.

Neither shoes (that is, change of them) nor yet staves. The received text here has 'a staff' [ rabdon (Greek #4464)], but our version follows another reading [ rabdous (Greek #4464)], 'staves,' which is found in the received text of Luke (Luke 9:3). The true reading, however, evidently is 'a staff'-meaning, that they were not to procure even thus much expressly for this missionary journey, but to go with what they had. No doubt it was the misunderstanding of this that gave rise to the reading "staves" in so many MSS. Even if this reading were genuine, it could not mean 'more than one;' for who, as Alford well asks, would think of taking a spare staff?

For the workman is worthy of his meat , [ trofees (Greek #5160)] - his 'food' or 'maintenance;' a principle which, being universally recognized in secular affairs, is here authoratatively applied to the services of the Lord's workmen, and by Paul repeatedly and touchingly employed in his appeals to the churches (Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6), and once as "Scripture" (1 Timothy 5:18).


Verse 11

And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

And, into whatsoever city or town, [ polin (G4172) ee (G2228) koomeen (G2968) - 'town or village'] ye enter [carefully], inquire [ exetasate (G1833)] who in it is worthy - or 'meet' to entertain such messengers; not in point of rank, of course, but of congenial disposition.

And there abide until ye go thence - not shifting about, as if discontented, but returning the welcome given them with a courteous, contented, accommodating disposition.

Matthew 10:12. And when ye come into an house - or 'the house' [ teen (Greek #3588) oikian (Greek #3614)], but it means not the worthy house, but the house ye first enter, to try if it be worthy.

Salute it - show it the usual civilities.


Verse 12

And when ye come into an house, salute it.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 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.

And if the house be worthy - showing this by giving you a welcome --

Let your peace come upon it. This is best explained by the injunction to the Seventy, "And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house" (Luke 10:5). This was the ancient salutation of the East, and it prevails to this day. But from the lips of Christ and his messengers, it means something far higher, both in the gift and the giving of it, than in the current salutation. (See the note at John 14:27.)

But if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. If your peace finds a shut instead of an open door in the heart of any household, take it back to yourselves, who know how to value it, and it will taste the sweeter to you for having been offered, even though rejected.


Verse 14

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city - for possibly a whole town might not furnish one "worthy."

Shake off the dust of your feet - "for a testimony against them," as Mark and Luke add. By this symbolical action they vividly shook themselves from all connection with such, and all responsibility for the guilt of rejecting them and their message. Such symbolical actions were common in ancient times, even among others than the Jews as strikingly appears in Pilate (Matthew 27:24). And even to this day it prevails in the East.


Verse 15

Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable (more bearable), for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. Those cities of the plain, which were given to the flames for their loathsome impurities, shall be treated as less criminal, we are here taught, than those places which, though morally respectable, reject the Gospel message and affront these that bear it.


Verse 16

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Behold, I send you forth. The "I" here [ Egoo (Greek #1473)] is emphatic holding up Himself as the Fountain of the Gospel ministry, as He is also the Great Burden of it.

As sheep (defenseless), in the midst of wolves - ready to make a prey of you (John 10:12). To be left exposed, as sheep to wolves, would have been startling enough; but that the sheep should be sent among the wolves would sound strange indeed. No wonder this announcement begins with the exclamation, "Behold."

Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Wonderful combination this! Alone, the wisdom of the serpent is mere cunning, and the harmlessness of the dove little better than weakness: but in comination, the wisdom of the serpent would save them from uncessary exposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove, from sinful expedients to escape it. In the apostolic age of Christianity, how harmoniously were these qualities displayed! Instead of the fanatical thirst for martyrdom, to which a later age gave birth, there was a manly combination of unflinching zeal and calm discretion, before which nothing was able to stand.


Verse 17

But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

But beware of men; for they will deliver you to the councils , [ sunedria (Greek #4892)] - the local courts used here for civil magistrates in general.

And they will scourge you in their synagogues. By this is meant persecution at the hands of the ecclesiastics.


Verse 18

And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

And ye shall be brought before governors - or provincial rulers,

And kings - the highest tribunals --

For my sake, for a testimony against them , [ autois (Greek #846)] - rather, 'to them,' in order to bear testimony to the truth and its glorious effects --

And [to] the Gentiles - a hint that their message would not long be confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Acts of the Apostles are the best commentary on these warnings.


Verse 19

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

But when they deliver you up, take no thought - `be not solicitous' or 'anxious' [ mee (Greek #3361) merimneeseete (Greek #3309)]. (See the note at Matthew 6:25.)

How or what ye shall speak - that is, either in what manner ye shall make your defense, or of what matter it shall consist --

For it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. (See Exodus 4:12; Jeremiah 1:7.)


Verse 20

For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

For it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. How remarkably this has been verified, the whole history of persecution thrillingly proclaims-from the Acts of the Apostles to the latest martyrology.


Verse 21

And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death - for example, by lodging informations against them with the authorities. The deep and virulent hostility of the old nature and life to the new-as of Belial to Christ-was to issue in awful wrenches of the dearest ties; and the disciples, in the prospect of their cause and themselves being launched upon society, are here prepared for the worst.


Verse 22

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. The universality of this hatred would make it evident to them, that since it would not be owing to any temporary excitement, local virulence, or personal prejudice, on the part of their enemies, so no amount of discretion on their part, consistent with entire fidelity to the truth, would avail to stifle that enmity-though it might soften its violence, and in some cases avert the outward manifestations of it.

But he that endureth to the end shall be saved - a great saying, repeated, in connection with similar warnings, in the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:13); and often reiterated by the apostle as a warning against "drawing back unto perdition." (Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 4:1-16; Hebrews 5:1-14; Hebrews 6:1-20; Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 10:26-29; Hebrews 10:38-39; etc.) Since "drawing back unto perdition" is merely the palpable evidence of the lack of "root" from the first in the Christian profession (Luke 7:13), "enduring to the end" is just the proper evidence of its reality and solidity.


Verse 23

But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another , [ eis (Greek #1519) teen (Greek #3588) alleen (Greek #243)] - 'into the other.' This, though applicable to all time, and exemplified by our Lord Himself once and again, had special reference to the brief opportunities which Israel was to have of "knowing the time of his visitation."

For verily I say unto you - what will startle you, but at the same time show you the solemnity of your mission, and the need of economizing the time for it --

Ye shall not have gone over , [ ou (Greek #3756) mee (Greek #3361) teleseete (Greek #5055)] - 'Ye shall in nowise have completed'

The cities of Israel, until the Son of man be come. To understand this-as Lange and others do-in the first instance, of Christ's own peregrinations, as if He had said, 'Waste not your time upon hostile places, because I myself will be behind you before your work is over'-seems almost trifling. "The coming of the Son of man" has a fixed doctrinal sense, here referring immediately to the crisis of Israel's history as the visible kingdom of God, when Christ was to come and judge it; when "the wrath would come upon it to the uttermost;" and when, on the ruins of Jerusalem and the old economy, He would establish His own kingdom. This, in the uniform language of Scripture, is more immediately "the coming of the Son of man," "the day of vengeance of our God" (Matthew 16:28; Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:34; with Hebrews 10:25; James 5:7-9) - but only as being such a lively anticipation of His Second Coming for vengeance and deliverance. So understood, it is parallel with Matthew 24:14 (on which see).


Verse 24

The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

The disciple is not above his master , [ didaskalon (Greek #1320)] - 'teacher,'

Nor the servant above his lord - another maxim which our Lord repeats in various connections (Luke 6:40; John 13:16; John 15:20).


Verse 25

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub. All the Greek manuscripts write "Beelzebul," which undoubtedly is the right form of this word. The other reading came in no doubt from the Old Testament "Baalzebub," the god of Ekron (2 Kings 1:2), which it was designed to express. As all idolatry was regarded as devil-worship (Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalms 106:37; 1 Corinthians 10:20), so there seems to have been something peculiarly Satanic about the worship of this hateful god, which caused his name to be a synonym of Satan. Though we nowhere read that our Lord was actually called "Beelzebul," He was charged with being in league with Satan under that hateful name (Matthew 12:24; Matthew 12:26), and more than once Himself was charged with "having a devil" or "demon" (Mark 3:30; John 7:20; John 8:48). Here it is used to denote the most opprobrious language which could be applied by one to another.

How much more [shall they call] them of his household? [ oikiakous (Greek #3615)] - 'the inmates.' Three relations in which Christ stands to His people are here mentioned: He is their Teacher-they His disciples; He is their Lord-they His servants; He is the Master of the household-they its inmates. In all these relations, He says here, He and they are so bound up together that they cannot look to fare better than He, and should think it enough if they are no worse.


Verse 26

Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known: - q.d., 'There is no use, and no need, of concealing anything; right and wrong, truth and error, are about to come into open and deadly collision; and the day is coming when all hidden things shall be disclosed, everything seen as it is, and everyone have his due' (1 Corinthians 4:5).


Verse 27

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

What I tell you in darkness in the pri ac of a teaching for hich men are not et ripe What I tell you in darkness - in the privacy of a teaching for which men are not yet ripe --

That speak ye in the light - for when ye go forth all will be ready --

And what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops: - Give free and fearless utterance to all that I have taught you while yet with you. Objection: But this may cost us our life? Answer: It may, but there their power ends:


Verse 28

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. In Luke 12:4, "and after that have no more that they can do."

But rather fear him - in Luke this is peculiarly solemn, "I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear," even Him --

Which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. A decisive proof this that there is a hell for the body as well as the soul in the eternal world; in other words, that the torment that awaits the lost will have elements of suffering adapted to the material as well as the spiritual part of our nature, both of which, we are assured, will exist forever. In the corresponding warning contained in Luke, Jesus calls His disciples "My friends," as if He had felt that such sufferings constituted a bond of special tenderness between Him and them.


Verse 29

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? In Luke (Luke 12:6) it is "Five sparrows for two farthings;" so that, if the purchaser took two farthings' worth, he got one in addition-of such small value were they.

And one of them shall not fall on the ground (exhausted or killed) without your Father - "Not one of them is forgotten before God," as it is in Luke.


Verse 30

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. See Luke 21:18, (and compare for the language 1 Samuel 14:45; Acts 27:34).


Verse 31

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Was ever language of such simplicity felt to carry such weight as this does? But here lies much of the charm and power of our Lord's teaching.


Verse 32

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men ["despising the shame,"] him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven - I will not be ashamed of him, but will own him before the most august of all assemblies.


Verse 33

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven - before that same assembly: 'He shall have from Me his own treatment of Me on the earth.' But see the note at Matthew 16:27.


Verse 34

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword - strife, discord, conflict; deadly opposition between eternally hostile principles, penetrating into and rending asunder the dearest ties.


Verse 35

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. See the notes at Luke 12:51-53.


Verse 36

And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. This saying, which is quoted, as is the whole verse, from Micah 7:6, is but an extension of the Psalmist's complaint, Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:12-14, which had its most affecting illustration in the treason of Judas against our Lord Himself (John 13:18; Matthew 26:48-50). Hence, would arise the necessity of a choice between Christ and the nearest relations, which would put them to the severest test.


Verse 37

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. Compare Deuteronomy 33:9. Since the preference of the one would, in the case supposed, necessitate the abandonment of the other, our Lord here, with a sublime, yet awful self-respect, asserts His own claims to supreme affection.


Verse 38

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me - a saying which our Lord once and again emphatically reiterates (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27). We have become so accustomed to this expression - "taking up one's cross" - in the sense of 'being prepared for trials in general for Christ's sake,' that we are apt to lose sight of its primary and proper sense here-`a preparedness to go forth even to crucifixion,' as when our Lord had to bear His own cross on His way to Calvary-a saying the more remarkable as our Lord had not as yet given a hint that He would die this death, nor was crucifixion a Jewish mode of capital punishment.


Verse 39

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it - another of those pregnant sayings which our Lord so often reiterates (Matthew 16:25; Luke 17:33; John 12:25). The pith of such paradoxical maxims depends on the double sense attached to the word "life" - a lower and a higher, the natural and the spiritual, the temporal and eternal. An entire sacrifice of the lower, with all its relationships and interests-or, which is the same thing, a willingness to make it-is indispensable to the preservation of the higher life; and he who cannot bring himself to surrender the one for the sake of the other shall eventually lose both.


Verse 40

He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

He that receiveth (or 'entertaineth') you, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. As the treatment which an ambassador receives is understood and regarded as expressing the light in which he that sends him is viewed, so, says our Lord here, 'Your authority is mine, as mine is my Father's.'


Verse 41

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

He that receiveth a prophet - one divinely commissioned to deliver a message from heaven. Predicting future events was no necessary part of a prophet's office, especially as the word is used in the New Testament.

In the name of a prophet - for his office' sake and love to his Master. (See 2 Kings 4:9-10.)

Shall receive a prophet's reward. What an encouragement to those who are not prophets! (See 3 John 1:5-8.)

And he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man - from sympathy with his character and esteem for himself as such,

shall receive a righteous man's reward - for he must himself have the seed of righteousness who has any real sympathy with it and complacency in him who possesses it.


Verse 42

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones. Beautiful epithet! originally taken from Zechariah 13:7. The reference is to their lowliness in spirit, their littleness in the eyes of an undiscerning world, while high in Heaven's esteem.

A cup of cold water only (meaning, the smallest service), in the name of a disciple - or, as it is in Mark (Mark 9:41), because ye are Christ's [ Christou (Greek #5547) este (Greek #2075)]: from love to Me, and to him from his connection with Me,

Verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. There is here a descending climax - "a prophet," "a righteous man," "a little one;" signifying that however low we come down in our services to those that are Christ's, all that is done for His sake, and that bears the stamp of love to His blessed name, shall be divinely appreciated and owned and rewarded.

Remarks:

(1) It is a manifest abuse of the directions here given for this first, hasty and temporary, mission (Matthew 10:5-15), to take them as a general Directory for the missionaries of Christ in all time and under all circumstances. The cessation of those miraculous credentials with which the Twelve were furnished for this present Mission, might surely convince Christian men that the directions for such a mission were not intended to be literally followed by the missionaries of the Cross in all time. Even our Lord Himself did not act on the strict letter of these directions, having for needful uses, as Luther (in Stier) quaintly says - "money, bag, and bread-baskets too." It is true that one or two servants of Christ, in the course of an age, are found, who, in a spirit of entire self-abnegation, consecrate themselves to works of Christian philanthropy without wealth or other ordinary resources, and yet not only obtain enough to maintain them in their work, but the means of extending it beyond all anticipation, and that for a long series of years, or even a life-time. But the interest and admiration which such cases draw forth throughout the Christian world shows them to be exceptional illustrations of answer to prayer, and childlike confidence in working the work of God, rather than the normal character of the work of His kingdom. At the same time, the servants of Christ will do well to imbibe the spirit of these first directions-in simplicity of purpose and superiority to fastidious concern about their personal comfort; in energy also, and alacrity in prosecuting their work: taking as their motto that golden maxim, "Freely ye have received, freely give;" yet "not casting their pearls before swine," but acting on the principle that the rejection of their message is an affront put upon their Master, rather than themselves.

(2) Though the vast change which the Gospel has produced upon Christendom is apt to make men think that our Lord's statements, here and elsewhere, of the universal hatred with which Christians would be regarded, have become inapplicable, we are never to forget that the hostility He speaks of is a hostility of unchangeable principles; and that although the unfaithfulness and timidity of Christians, on the one hand, may so compromise or keep in the background those principles which the world hates, or on the other hand, the world itself may from various causes be restrained from manifesting that hatred, yet, whenever and wherever the light and the darkness, Christ and Belial, are brought face to face in vivid juxtaposition, there will the eternal and irreconcileable opposition of the one to the other appear.

(3) How vastly greater would be the influence of Christians upon the world around them if they were more studious to combine the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove! We have Christians and Christian ministers who pride themselves upon their knowledge of the world, and the shrewdness with which they conduct themselves in it; while the simplicity of the dove is almost entirely in abeyance. Even the world can discern this, and, discerning it, despise those who to all appearance are no better than others, and yet pretend to be so. But on the other hand, there are Christians and Christian ministers who have the harmlessness of the dove, but being totally void of the wisdom of the serpent, carry no weight, and even expose themselves and their cause to the contempt of the world. O that the followers of the Lamb would lay this to heart!

(4) What weighty inducements to suffer unflinchingly for the Gospel's sake are here provided! Such as do so are no worse off than their Master, and may rest assured of His sympathy and support, in a furnace which in His own case was heated seven times. And what though their life should be taken from them for Jesus' sake? The power of their enemies ceases there; whereas He whose wrath they incur by selling their conscience to save life is able to cast both soul and body into hell-fire. (See the notes at Mark 9:43-48.) God's suffering children are unspeakably dear to Him; their every trial in His service is full before Him; and their courage in confessing the name of Jesus will be rewarded by the confession of their name amidst the solemnities and the splendours of the great day: whereas a faithless denial of Christ here will be followed by the indignant and open denial of such by the Judge from His great white throne.

(5) When Jesus here demands of His followers a love beyond all that is found in the tenderest relations of life, and pronounces all who withhold this to be unworthy of Him, He makes a claim which, on the part of any mere creature, would be wicked and intolerable, and in Him who honoured the Father as no other on earth ever did, is not to be imagined, if He had not been "the Fellow of the Lord of Hosts."

(6) It is an abuse of the duty of disinterestedness in religion to condemn all reference to our own future safety and blessedness as a motive of action. For what have we here, as the conclusion of this lofty Directory, but an encouragement to entertain His servants, and welcome His people, and do offices of kindness, however small, to the humblest of His disciples, by the emphatic assurance that not the lowest of such offices shall go unrewarded? And shall not Christians be stimulated to lay themselves thus out for Him to whom they owe their all?

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-10.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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