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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Matthew 10

 

 

Verses 1-27

Matthew 10:1-4. 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. 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; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

The lesson to be learnt from these names are, first, that these men are mentioned in couples, and I think that, as a rule, God’s servants work best in pairs. In other senses than the matrimonial one, it is not good that man should be alone. Moses needs Aaron; Peter needs Andrew; James needs John. It is well to be of such a temperament and disposition that you can work harmoniously with another of your Lord’s servants. If ye cannot, pray God to alter you. Notice that expression, in the 3rd verse, “and Bartholomew.” I think there is not a single instance in the New Testament where Bartholomew is mentioned without the word “and” before or after his name, — “and Bartholomew,” or “Bartholomew and” someone else. Perhaps he was not a man who ever began any work by himself, but he was a grand man to join in and help it on when somebody else had started it. So, dear friend, if you are not qualified to be a leader in the Church of Christ, be willing to be Number Two; but do serve the Master, in some capacity or other, with all your might. Be a brother who carries an “and” with him wherever he goes; be like a horse, that has his harness on, and is ready to be hooked into the team. That is the lesson of the two words “and Bartholomew.” The last lesson from the names is at the end of the 4th verse: “and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.” He preached of Christ, he worked miracles in the name of Christ, he was ordained as one of the apostles of Christ, yet he was “the son of perdition.” Oh! let none of us be content merely with our official position, or trust in the good which we hope we have done, or in any gifts with which the Master has entrusted us. Judas Iscariot had all these marks of distinction, yet he betrayed his Lord. God grant that no one among us may turn out to be a Judas Iscariot!

Matthew 10:5-6. 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: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The gospel is now to be preached to every creature in all the world; but, in those days, it was to be proclaimed first to the Jews, then to the Samaritans, and afterwards to the Gentiles as a whole. The largeness of our commission to” preach the gospel to every creature” need not prevent our following providential directions to make it known in one place rather’ than in another. It is well for the servants of Christ always to ask their Master where they are to go. You know how it is recorded, in the Acts of the Apostles, that Paul and Silas “essayed to go into Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them not.” Ask the Lord, therefore, where thou shalt work, as well as what thy work shall be, for thy Master knows how thou canst best serve him.

Matthew 10:7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

That blessed kingdom, which is now set up among men, of which Christ is the King, and I hope many of us are the subjects. That kingdom was then “at hand.”

Matthew 10:8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

“Exercise your healing arts most freely. They cost you nothing; let them not cost anything to those who receive the benefit of them.”

Matthew 10:9-10. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

They were to “quarter on the enemy,” as we say. Wherever they went, they would be furnished with food, and raiment, and shelter, if they faithfully executed the commission with which their Master had entrusted them.

Matthew 10:11-13. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

How about your houses, dear friends. Are they “worthy” houses, in this New Testament sense? If an apostle came there, could he bring “peace” to it? Or would he have to take the peace away with him to some other house that was more worthy to receive it?

Matthew 10:14-15. 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. 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.

Despised and rejected privileges make the fiercest fuel for the fires of hell. They who might have heard the gospel, and would not hear it, shall find the hand of God more heavy upon them than it will be even upon the accursed Sodomites. Woe, then, unto such as live in London, yet who will not hear the Word of the Lord, or, when they do hear it, will not accept it!

Matthew 10:16-17. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men:

“Do not trust yourselves with them.”

Matthew 10:17-19. For they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 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.

“Let it not fret you that you are not orators, that you are not men of culture; speak what God the Holy Spirit shall teach you to say, and leave the result with him.”

Matthew 10:20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

Oh! that is grand, — when a man has so communed with God that the very Spirit of the Father has entered into him. Then shall there be a wondrous power about his speech; men may not understand whence it came, but they will be obliged to feel the force of it.

Matthew 10:21. 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.

Read the marterologies, and see whether it was not exactly as our Lord foretold that it would be. In martyr times, men often burst all the bonds of natural affection, and betrayed even their own fathers or children to death. Yet the saints quaffed not; they were content to let every earthly tie be snapped so that the tie of their heavenly and eternal relationship might be confirmed. So may it be with us also!

Matthew 10:22-27. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 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. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 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! Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

God help us so to do, for Christ’s sake! Amen.


Verses 1-42

Matthew 10:1. 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.

They were first Christ’s disciples, and then he sent them forth as his apostles, clothed with power and authority very similar to his own.

Matthew 10:2-4. 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; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeu;, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

The twelve apostles linked the spiritual Israel with the twelve tribes of the literal Israel which had typified it. They are mentioned in pairs, but this last couple is not a pair, for Simon the Zealot had little in common with the cool, cunning, calculating Judas Iscariot. There were only twelve apostles, yet one of them was a traitor; among the leaders of the nominal Christian Church today, is it possible that there is one traitor in every twelve?

Matthew 10:5-6. 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: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

This was “a mission to the Jews” only, meant for the general arousing of the chosen nation. It was a mission from Israel to Israel; not to the Gentiles, and not even to the people who were most like the Jews: “Into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.” After our Lord’s resurrection he gave the wider commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Matthew 10:7-8. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

They were to be medical missionaries, preaching the gospel, and healing the sick, and it was all to be done “freely.”

Matthew 10:9-10. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

The people at that time were favourably disposed to our Lord, and thus his apostles might expect treatment of a more generous kind than can be looked for in these times. Certain of these regulations were altered on a subsequent mission, when the people were less favourably disposed.

Matthew 10:11-15. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. 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 whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake of the dust of your feet. 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.

Disclaim all fellowship with those who will not have fellowship with your Lord; let them know that you quit them because they refuse to receive your Master’s message. If they continue to reject the Saviour, their doom will be even more terrible than that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:

“Behold, I send you forth.” What power there is in the word of the King of kings! “’I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.’ You are like sheep, helpless and defenseless; yet ‘I send you forth,’ and therefore it is right for you to go even into ‘the midst of wolves.’” We might have imagined that the wolves would have devoured the sheep yet, at the present time, there are a great many more sheep in the world than there are wolves. Sheep have always been weak and helpless, yet they have multiplied, wolves have always been strong and savage, yet they have diminished until there is not one of them left in this land, and in many other countries the same thing has happened. So, the weak, the helpless, who come under the care of “our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,” shall be preserved from all the wolves that would devour them, and even from the devil, who, “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Matthew 10:16. Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

“Be ye harmless because ye are like sheep, but be ye wise as serpents because you have to dwell with wolves.” You, too, beloved, ought to be very wise because of the wisdom which has been imparted to you by the Master who has sent you forth, and you ought to use your best wits in his service, yet never use that wisdom with any ill intent, for the Christ who sends you does no harm to men, but only good.

Matthew 10:17-18. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

“Do not try to live on popular applause, ‘but beware of men.’ Expect ill treatment from them; if they can persecute you with the scourge, they will do so, but if that is out of their power, they will persecute you with their tongues. You will be misunderstood, misrepresented, maligned; expect such treatment for I, your Lord and Master, have had it before you.”

Matthew 10:19-20. 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. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

It is very remarkable what wise answers many of the martyrs often gave. Illiterate men, when confronted by the learned ones of the earth, completely baffled them; and weak women nonplused their assailants and judges. A notable instance of that is recorded in the history of the brave Anne Askew. After they had tortured her upon the rack, and her poor body was full of pain, she sat upon the cold slabs of her prison, and put such questions to the popish bishops and inquisitors as utterly confounded them: and Christ still, by his Holy Spirit, enables his faithful followers to triumph over all the graft and malice of men.

Matthew 10:21-22. 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 ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

When we give ourselves to Christ, we must do it without any reserve and be prepared to follow him even to the bitter end if necessary. If all men should forsake us, if death should be our portion because of our allegiance to Christ, we dare not draw back. To do that, would lead to our destination; but to endure unto the end, this is eternal salvation.

Matthew 10:23. 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.

I suppose Christ here alludes to that wondrous coming of his in the destruction of Jerusalem. They had but a short time in which to evangelize that land, so they had to be quick in gathering out the Lord’s elect ere he came in that terrible judgment. This same truth ought to quicken the action of every servant of Christ today. Be quick about your work, for your Master is on the road, and will soon be here. You may almost hear the rattling of his chariot wheels, for long ago he said “Surely I come quickly.” The trumpets are beginning to sound, and you will scarcely have gone over all the cities of the world before the Son of man shall come unless you hasten with the great task which he has entrusted to you.

Matthew 10:24-25. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 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?

I do not know what worse names they might give to us than they gave to our master, but, no doubt, they might do so; for, as the servants are worse and less than their master, the world might, if it acted upon the rule of proportion, apply much worse names to us than it has ever done to our blessed Lord and Master. Are we to be esteemed and reverenced in a world that persecuted and crucified Christ our Lord and Saviour? Be not so foolish as to think so; and when you receive scorn and contumely, accept it as being the lot of follower of Christ.

Matthew 10:26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

When men slander you, they cannot take away your good name before God. There will be a resurrection of reputations as well as a resurrection of bodies; and good men, though their good names lie deeply buried, will certainly have a resurrection. There is Wycliffe, how little, comparatively, has ever been said about probably the greatest man since the time of the apostle Paul; but his name and fame will yet arise, and all history will ring with the praise of it. Depend upon it, no man, who has faithfully served his Saviour, shall miss the honour which he has truly deserved. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,” so be content to wait.

Matthew 10:27. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

There must first he that quiet lonely hearing,-that calm still sitting at the Master’s feet to learn the lesson; and then afterwards must come the brave telling of it out,-speaking out though kings should hear, and never being silenced because of sinful shame.

Matthew 10:28-31. 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. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Do you not see the force of this argument? These little creatures, that are of so little account among men, are watched over by your Heavenly Father. They cannot die, nay they cannot even light upon the ground, without your Father noting it; can he then forget you, who are worth so much more than many sparrows? Will he not deal very gently, and tenderly, and considerately with you?

Matthew 10:32-33. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also 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.

You own Christ here, and Christ will own you there. Dare to bear reproach for him, and you shall be glorified together with him by-and-by, but if the tenor of your life be that you do not own Christ, if you practically live as if there were no Saviour, ignoring him, depriving him of the trust which he deserves, and the honour which he has earned, then, when he comes in the glory of the Father, he will say, “You never knew me, and I never knew you. Depart!”

Matthew 10:34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

That is to say, the first consequence of Christ’s coming will not be that we shall lead easy and comfortable lives, but, on the contrary, he comes to enlist us in his army, and to make soldiers of us, and soldiers have to endure many hardships.

Matthew 10:35-36. 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. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Many of the children of God have found this to be true, greatly to their sorrow. No foes can wound us so sorely as those of our own household. They get at our hearts, and cut us to the very quick, while others can only give us flesh wounds. Well, it must be so. Wherever light comes, darkness will be opposed to it. Truth will always find error ready to devour it if it can. Expect this, and half the bitterness of it will be gone when it comes because you did expect it. “To be forewarned” here “is to be forearmed.”

Matthew 10:37-42. 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. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 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. 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. God’s great reward for little service are given, not of debt, but of grace, “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 80; and Matthew 9:36-38; Matthew , 10.


Verses 16-23

Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

It is a strange errand that you are sent upon — not as dogs to fight with the wolves. Yet you are to fight with them, but you are to go as lambs in the midst of wolves. Expect, therefore that they will rend you. Bear much, for ever in that you shall conquer. If they kill you, you shall be honoured in your death. As I have often said, the fight looks very unequal between sheep and wolves, yet at the present moment there are vastly more sheep in the world than wolves, the sheep having outlived the wolves. In this country at any rate, the last wolf is gone, and the sheep, with all their weaknesses, continue to multiply. “That is due,” you say, “to the shepherd.” And to him shall your safety and your victory be due. He will take care of you. “I send you forth as sheep among wolves.” But do not, therefore, provoke the wolves. “Be wise as serpents.” Have a holy prudence. “Be as harmless as doves,” but not as silly as doves

Matthew 10:17-19. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 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.

And very remarkable were the answers given by the martyrs to those who persecuted them. In some cases they were altogether unlettered men, feeble women, unused to the quibbles and the catches which ungodly wise men use, and yet with is holy ability they answered all their adversaries and often stopped their mouths. It is wonderful what God can make of the weakest of men when he dwelleth in them, and speaks through them.

Matthew 10:20-21. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 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.

Strange venom of human nature. It never grows so angry against anything as against God’s truth. Why is this? False religions will tolerate one another but they will not tolerate the religion of Christ. Is not this all accounted for by that old dark saying at the gates of Eden, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman — between thy seed and her seed.” That enmity is sure to come up as long as the world stands.

Matthew 10:22-23. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 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.

They had not been able to get all through Palestine before the destruction of Jerusalem. Perhaps we shall scarcely have been able to preach the gospel in every part of the world before our Master’s speedy footsteps shall be heard.


Verses 16-33

Matthew 10:16-25. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 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. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 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. The disciple is not above his master, nor his servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.

It is more than enough, for the disciple might expect to fare more hardly than his Master, and the servant to have less comfort than the lord. So it is in worldly things — that our Lord and Master has such fellowship with his people that he does not put it so, but he says, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord.”

Matthew 10:25. ]f they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

But they cannot call them any more or any worse. They have given our Master the blackest of all the epithet, and any hard and opprobrious titles that can ever be applied to us must fall short of these which were applied to him. Surely we ought not to wince: not for a single moment.

Matthew 10:26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

They may cover your name and character with temporary dishonour, but the covering will break off soon. Like fire hidden under autumn leaves, it will burn up by-and-by, and there will be a resurrection of reputations, as well as of persons; and what a wondrous resurrection that will be for those who are cast out as the off-scouring of all things; when they shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father!

Matthew 10:27. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

There is a secret learning, but there must be a public teaching. Christ takes us aside to reveal himself, that afterwards we may boldly go forth to others, and tell them what we have learned in private. Oh! child of God, if you have a sweet morsel in the chamber by yourself, do not be so selfish as to keep it to yourself. Go and tell your brethren, and your house, and of the same place, the things which you have learned. If any of you have had a very choice experience, and a more than usual manifestation of divine love, be sure to let others be enriched with your riches. Hast thou found honey? Eat it not all thyself, but, like Samson, when he found it in the carcase of the lion, go to father, and mother, and friends with thy hands full of the secret, and let them eat it also.

Matthew 10:28. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Oh! fearful destruction! This is what we may well fear — both body and soul, to undergo everlasting ruin, broken in pieces and destroyed as to all excellency, and happiness, and peace,. This we may fear.

Matthew 10:29. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

He over-rules all things, the least as well as the greatest. We see his hand in the tempest, and we look at the black wing of the storm and see that God rides it. But the wing of the tiny sparrows, so insignificant in value, is equally directed by his power and wisdom.

Matthew 10:30. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Minute is the providence of God, taking care of you, even as to that part of your person which is not vital, and without which you could still live on. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” The tiniest and most insignificant benefits are all ordered by ,his eternal purpose.

Matthew 10:31-33. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows, Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men,

And you see from the connection, that here the denying means not confessing. “Whosoever shall deny me before men.”

Matthew 10:33. Him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

The attempt, therefore, to avoid all publicity in religion — to endeavor to slink into heaven by the back gate — to somehow or other find an underground road to salvation, is a futile attempt. Christ requires that we should own him, seeing that he so graciously owns us. He puts it as a solemn command; and I would press it upon the conscience of any believer here who has never confessed his faith. You miss, at any rate, the promise here: you miss some others besides. You are walking in the path of disobedience. You are to some extent guilty of putting Christ to shame, for if others see that you are ashamed of him, they conclude that there is something to be ashamed of in him. Your prowice dishonours him.

Wherefore should you hold back? Are you not going to take year place among his people? You tell me that they have many faults. Have they more than you? If you never join a church till you find a perfect one, you will never join one this side of heaven, and if the church were perfect when you joined it, it would certainly cease to be so then,, for you would bring your shortcomings and imperfections into it. I have lived among the people of God now these many years, and I, as pastor of this church, have had to mourn over many a man for his faults; but still, there is no people like God’s people, and of his house I will say: —

“Here my best friends — my kindred — dwell:

Here God my Saviour reigns.”

Some of the best and noblest spirits that ever lived have not been ashamed to associate with their fellow-Christians, though they ,perceived their errors, but they have rather cast in their lot with. them, poor and despised as they were, and have accounted it even their honour if they might but be numbered with the redeemed among men.

Matthew 10:34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword.

The ultimate result of Christ’s mission will be peace. Swords shall be broken into ploughshares, and the spears into pruning hooks; but on the way to peace there will be war. On the way to universal peace there will be a general confusion. When true religion comes into a man’s heart, it makes him a warrior at once. He begins to contend against evil — to contend against contention. He fights for peace, though it may seem strange that it should be so.

Matthew 10:35-36. 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. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

They will drive us back when they. perceive that our face is set towards heaven. When you see a fish swimming with the stream, it is a almost always a dead one. The living fish goes against the stream; and the true child of God has to go ,against the current of mankind, and oftentimes the hardest push in life is to go against father, mother, brother, sister, far Christ’s sake and the gospel.


Verses 24-42

Our Lord had been sending forth his twelve apostles to preach the gospel of the kingdom, and to work miracles in his name. Having given them their commission, he warned them of the treatment they must expect to receive, and then fortified their minds against the persecutions they would have to endure.

Matthew 10:24-25. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his Lord. 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?

The name, Beelzebub or Beelzebul, meaning the god of filth, or as some say, the god of flies, was applied by the Jews to the very worst of the evil spirits. They supposed that there were some devils worse than others, and the very head and master of them all they called Beelzebub, and now they supplied this title to our Lord Jesus himself. Well then, if men should give us ill names and evil characters, need we marvel? Shall Christ be spit upon and despised, and shall you and I be honoured and exalted? You have heard of Godfrey de Bouillon, the crusader, who entered Jerusalem in triumph, but who refused to have a golden crown put upon his head because he said, he never would be crowned with gold where Christ was crowned with thorns. So do you expect to be honoured in the world where your Lord was crucified?

Matthew 10:26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

“They will misrepresent you, slander you, and speak evil of you; but if your good name be covered up now, it shall be revealed one of these days, perhaps in this life; but if not in this life, certainly at the day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be made known.” It really is marvellous how sometimes in this life, misrepresented men suddenly obtain a refutation of their calumniators, and then it seems as if the world would serve them as the Greeks did their successful runners or wrestlers when they lifted them upon their shoulders, and carried them in triumph.

Matthew 10:27. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

This is what we are to preach, what Christ tells us, and this is how we are to get the matter of our discourses, be alone with Christ, let him talk to us in the darkness, in the quietude of the closet where we commune with him in prayer. Then this is where we are to preach, “upon the housetops.” “We cannot literally do this here in this land upon our slanting roofs; but, in the East, “the housetops” were the most public places in the city, and all of them flat, so that anyone proclaiming anything from the housetops would be sure of an audience, and especially at certain times of the day. Preach ye, then, ye servants of God, in the most public places of the land. Where ever there are people to hear, let there not be any lack of tongues to speak for God.

Matthew 10:28. 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.

A philosopher — Anaxarchus, I think it was, — was wont to say when a certain tyrant had threatened to kill him, “You cannot kill me; you may crush this body, but you cannot touch Anaxarchus.” So fear not those who cannot kill the soul, if that be safe, you are safe. Even Seneca frequently asserted that it was not in the power of any man to hurt a good philosopher, “for,” said he “even death is gain to such a man;” and certainly it is so to the Christian. For him to die is indeed gain. But oh! fear that God who can destroy the soul, for then the body also is destroyed with a terrible and tremendous destruction: “fear him.”

Matthew 10:29-30. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

So, then, God takes more care of us than we take of ourselves. You never heard of a man who numbered the hairs of his head. Men number their sheep and their cattle, but the Christian is so precious in God’s esteem that he takes care of the meatiest parts of his frame, and numbers even the hairs of his head.

Matthew 10:31-32. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

What a glorious promise is this! “I will confess him to have been bought with my blood, I will confess him to have been my faithful follower and friend I will confess him to be my brother, and in so doing I will favor him with a share of my glory.” Have you confessed Christ before men? If you have trusted him as your Saviour, but have not publicly professed your faith in him, however sincere you may be, you are living in the neglect of a known duty, and you cannot expect to have this promise fulfilled to you if you do not keep the condition that is appended to it. Christ’s promise is to confess those who confess him. Be ye then, avowedly on the Lord’s side.

“Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.” Without the camp the Saviour suffered, and without the camp must his disciples follow him, bearing his reproach.

Matthew 10:33. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Not to confess Christ is practically to deny him, not to follow him is to go away from him; not to be with him is to be against him. Looking at this matter of confessing Christ in that light, there is cause for solemn self-examination by all who regard themselves as his disciples.

Matthew 10:34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Do not misunderstand the Saviour’s words. Christ’s usually spoke in a very plain manner, and plainness is not always compatible with guardedness. Christ did come to make peace, this is the ultimate end of his mission; text for the present, Christ did not come to make peace. Wherever Christianity comes, it causes a quarrel, because the light must always quarrel with the darkness, and sin can never be friendly with righteousness. It is not possible that honesty should live in peace with theft; it cannot be that there should be harmony between God’s servants and the servants of the devil. In this sense, then, understand our Saviour’s words.

Matthew 10:35-36. 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. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

This is always the case, and I suppose will be to the end of the chapter. Whenever true religion comes into a man’s heart and life, those who are without the grace of God, however near and dear they may be to him, will be sure to oppose him.

Matthew 10:37-39. 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. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

In the days of the martyrs, one man was brought before the judges, and through fear of the flames he recanted, and denied the faith. He went home, and before the year was ended his own house caught fire, and he was miserably consumed in it, having had to suffer quite as much pain as he would have had to endure for Christ’s sake but having no consolation in it. He found his life, yet he lost it. Now, in a higher degree, all who, to save themselves, shun the cross of Christ, only run into the fire to escape from the sparks. They shall suffer more than they would otherwise have done; but whosoever is willing to give up everything for Christ shall learn that no man is ever really a loser by Christ in the long run. Sooner or later, if not in this life, certainly in the next, the Lord will abundantly make up to every man all that he has ever suffered for his sake. Now comes a very delightful passage: —

Matthew 10:40. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

When, therefore, you are kind to the poor, when you help the people of God in their difficulties and necessities, you are really helping Christ in the person of his poor but faithful followers.

Matthew 10:41. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet —

That is, not as a gentleman, nor merely as a man, nor as a talented individual, but as a prophet of God, —

Matthew 10:41. 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.

Just the same reward which God gives to prophets and righteous men, he will give to those who receive them in the name of a prophet or of a righteous man. A prophet’s reward must be something great, and such shall be the reward of those who generously receive the servants of God.

Matthew 10:42. 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.

There have been times, even in our own country when to give “a cup of cold water” has been to run the risk of suffering death. In the dark days of persecution, some who were called heretics were driven out into the fields in the depth of winter to perish by the cold, the king’s subjects being forbidden, upon pain of death, to give them anything either to eat or to drink. Now, in such a case as that, giving “a cup of cold water” would mean far more than if you or I simply gave a cup of water to someone who happened to be thirsty, but our Lord Jesus Christ here promises to reward any who, for his servants’ sake, will dare to risk any consequences that may fall upon themselves.


Verses 37-40

Matthew 10:37. 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.

What a wonderful sight, then, the church is as it passes through this world. The head of it is Christ, the cross bearer, and, following in the train, are all his faithful disciples, all carrying crosses still — the very picture of a church. You know how Simon carried the cross after Christ: he is the type of all his disciples.

“Did Simon bear the cross alone,

And all the rest go free?

No, there’s a cross for everyone,

And there’s a cross for me.”

Matthew 10:38-39. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

You gain life by dying for Christ, but if you saved life by denying the faith, you would in the worst sense lose all that makes existence to be life. There is an existence which is nothing but eternal death, and this is the doom of those who depart from Christ. But blessed are they who can give up this temporary mortal life for the sake of an eternal one. I have heard of one who used often to boast of what he would do if it came to his being burnt; but just before the day on which he was to be burnt alive for the faith, he recanted. He was suffered to go home. In a few months it happened that he was burnt alive in his house. Unhappy man that could not burn for Christ, but had to burn after all. “He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

Matthew 10:40. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Think of that, you that have received Christ. You have received God himself, and he has come to dwell and reign with your soul.

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Peter 1:1-16 and Matthew 10:37-40.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Matthew 10:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/matthew-10.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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