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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 10:15

Truly 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.
New American Standard Version
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  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
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  5. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
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Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Commandments;   Gomorrah;   Jesus Continued;   Judgment;   Minister, Christian;   Opportunity;   Responsibility;   Sodom;   Unbelief;   Scofield Reference Index - Day (of Judgment);   Thompson Chain Reference - Sodom;   The Topic Concordance - Day of the Lord;   Evangelism;   Hearing;   Receiving;   Sending and Those Sent;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Apostle;   Hell;   Judgment;   Sea;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Amen;   Judgment;   Matthew;   Sodom;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Hell;   Judgment, Day of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Hutchinsonians;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gomorrah;   Sodom;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gomorrah;   Sodom;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Disciples;   Dust;   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Mission(s);   Sodom and Gomorrah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Atonement;   Mss;   Text of the New Testament;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Brimstone ;   Consciousness;   Day (That);   Day of Judgment;   Disciple (2);   Discourse;   Eternal Punishment;   Fierceness;   Gomorrah ;   Guilt (2);   Ignorance (2);   Immortality (2);   Impotence;   Incarnation (2);   Judgment;   Mental Characteristics;   Old Testament (Ii. Christ as Student and Interpreter of).;   Punishment (2);   Queen (2);   Quotations (2);   Retribution (2);   Sodom;   Sodom and Gomorrah;   Trinity (2);   Vengeance (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Apostle;   Gomorrah, Gomorrha ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Apostle;   Gomorrah;   Hell;   Sodom;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Day of the Lord (Yahweh);   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Sodom;  
Every Day Light - Devotion for April 9;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

In the day of judgment - Or, punishment, - κρισεως . Perhaps not meaning the day of general judgment, nor the day of the destruction of the Jewish state by the Romans; but a day in which God should send punishment on that particular city, or on that person, for their crimes. So the day of judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, was the time in which the Lord destroyed them by fire and brimstone, from the Lord out of heaven.

If men are thus treated for not receiving the preachers of the Gospel, what will it be to despise the Gospel itself, to decry it, to preach the contrary, to hinder the preaching of it, to abuse those who do preach it in its purity, or to render it fruitless by calumnies and lies! Their punishment, our Lord intimates, shall be greater than that inflicted on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

In the day of judgment. Sodom and Gomorrah had both been destroyed by fire from heaven, and the gloomy waters of the Dead Sea were spread over the place where these cities stood. Our Savior, therefore, instead of representing that the sorrows and sufferings of this life are the sole penalty of human guilt, taught that even Sodom and Gomorrah were awaiting a terrible retribution to come.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

62. The twelve sent out (Matthew 10:5-42; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6)

Jesus sent out the twelve apostles to preach the good news that the kingdom of the Messiah had come. The miraculous powers of the Messiah were given to them also, so that the knowledge of his love and mercy might spread more quickly throughout the land (Luke 9:1-2).

There would be no time during Jesus' lifetime to spread the gospel worldwide, so the apostles had to concentrate on Israel. After Jesus' death and resurrection they could then take the gospel to the countries beyond (Matthew 10:5-8; Matthew 28:19-20). They were to take with them only the bare necessities for daily needs, so as not to be hindered in their travels. Also they were not to waste time preaching to people who refused to listen, when others in nearby areas had not even heard (Matthew 10:9-15; Luke 9:3-6).

Although they preached good news and did good works, the apostles could expect persecution. If brought to trial, whether before Jewish leaders or government officials, they would have the help of God's Spirit in giving them the right words to say (Matthew 10:16-20). They would meet opposition from friends and relatives, but they were to press on urgently in their mission. They would not even cover the whole of Palestine within the time of Jesus' earthly ministry (Matthew 10:21-23).

As servants of Jesus, the apostles could expect the same sort of opposition as their master received (Matthew 10:24-25), but they were not to fear to teach publicly the things Jesus had taught them privately (Matthew 10:26-27). They were to maintain a reverent obedience to God, knowing that as their heavenly Father he would watch over them. He never forsakes those who are faithful to him (Matthew 10:28-33).

The followers of Jesus must not expect ease and comfort. They must put loyalty to Jesus before all other loyalties, and this may result in conflict and division, even within their own families. They must be prepared for hardship, persecution and possibly death, but in the end they will not be the losers. In sacrificing the life of self-pleasing in order to please their Lord, they will find life in its truest sense (Matthew 10:34-39). All who welcome Jesus' messengers into their homes are really welcoming Jesus who sent them, and God the Father who sent him. Help given to Jesus' messengers will be rewarded as if given to Jesus himself (Matthew 10:40-42).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

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.

Why were the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah less reprehensible than the sins of cities and villages that rejected the apostles? Simply because they sinned in ignorance, whereas the cities of Jesus' day sinned against the light.

The day of judgment is an expression often used by Christ and refers to the final reckoning of all mankind before the Great White Throne. See more under Matthew 12:41.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See also Mark 6:8-11, and Luke 9:3-5. In both these places the substance of this account is given, though not so particularly as in Matthew. The general subject is the instructions given to the apostles.

Matthew 10:9

Provide neither gold nor silver, nor brass - This prohibition of gold, silver, and brass is designed to prevent their providing money for their journey.

Pieces of money of “small value” were made of brass.

In your purses - Literally, in your girdles (belts). See the notes at Matthew 5:38-41. A “girdle” or “sash” was an indispensable part of the dress. This girdle was made “hollow,” and answered the purpose of a purse. It was convenient, easily borne, and safe.

Matthew 10:10

Nor scrip - That is, knapsack.

This was made of skin or coarse cloth, to carry provisions in. It was commonly hung around the neck.

Neither two coats - See the notes at Matthew 5:40.

Neither shoes - The original is the word commonly rendered sandals. See the notes at Matthew 3:11.

Mark says, in recording this discourse, “but be shod with sandals.” Between him and Matthew there is an apparent contradiction, but there is really no difference. According to Matthew, Jesus does not forbid their “wearing” the sandals which they probably had on, but only forbids their “supplying themselves with more,” or with “superfluous ones.” Instead of making provision for their feet when their “present” shoes were worn out, they were to trust to Providence to be supplied, and “go as they were.” The meaning of the two evangelists may be thus expressed: “Do not procure anything more for your journey than you have on. Go as you are, shod with sandals, without making any more preparation.”

Nor yet staves - In the margin, in all the ancient versions, and in the common Greek text, this is in the singular number - “nor yet” a staff. But Mark says that they might have a “staff:” “Jesus commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only.” To many this would appear to be a contradiction. Yet the “spirit” of the instruction, the main thing that the writers aim at, is the same. That was, that they were “to go just as they were, to trust to Providence, and not to spend any time in making preparation for their journey. Some of them, probably, when he addressed them, “had staves,” and some had not. To those who “had,” he did not say that they should throw them away, as the instructions he was giving them might seem to require, but he suffered them to take them (Mark). To those who had not, he said they should not spend time in procuring them (Matthew), but “they were all to go just as they were.”

The workman is worthy of his meat - This implies that they were to expect a proper supply for their needs from those who were benefited. They were not to make “bargain and sale” of the power of working miracles, but they were to expect competent support from preaching the gospel, and that not merely as a gift, but because they were “worthy” of it, and had a right to it.

Matthew 10:11

Who in it is worthy - That is, who in it sustains such a character that he will be disposed to show you hospitality and to treat you kindly.

This shows that they were not needlessly to throw themselves in the way of insult.

And there abide - There remain; as Luke adds, “Go not from house to house.” They were to content themselves with one house; not to wander about in the manner of vagrants and mendicants; not to appear to be people of idleness and fond of change; not to seem dissatisfied with the hospitality of the people; but to show that they had regular, important business; that they valued their time; that they were disposed to give themselves to labor, and were intent only on the business for which he had sent them. If ministers of the gospel are useful, it will be by not spending their time in idle chit-chat, and wandering around as if they had nothing to do, but in an honest and laborious improvement of their time in study, in prayer, in preaching, and in visiting their people.

Matthew 10:12

And when ye come into a house, salute it - The word “house” here evidently means “family,” as it does in the following verse.

See also Matthew 12:25, and John 4:53; “And himself believed and his whole house.” The apostles were directed to salute the family - to show them the customary tokens of respect, and to treat them with civility. Religion never requires or permits its friends to outrage the common rules of social contact. It demands of them to exhibit to all the customary and proper tokens of respect, according to their age and station, 1 Peter 2:12-25; 1 Peter 3:8-11; Philippians 4:8. For the mode of salutation, see the notes at Luke 10:4-5.

Matthew 10:13

If the house be worthy - That is, if the “family” be worthy, or be willing to receive you as my disciples.

Let your peace come upon it - That is, let the peace or happiness which you seek or for which you pray in saluting it (see Luke 10:5), come upon it; or seek their peace and happiness by prayer, instruction, by remaining with them, and imparting to them the blessings of the gospel.

But if it be not worthy … - If the family be unwilling to receive you; if they show themselves unfriendly to you and your message.

Let your peace return to you - This is a Hebrew mode of saying that your peace shall not come upon it, Psalm 35:13. It is a mode of speaking derived from bestowing a gift. If people were willing to receive it, they derived the benefit from it; if not, then of course the present came back or remained in the hand of the giver. So Christ figuratively speaks of the peace which their labor would confer. If received kindly and hospitably by the people, they would confer on them most valuable blessings. If rejected and persecuted, the blessings which they sought for others would come upon themselves. they would reap the benefit of being cast out and persecuted for their Master‘s sake, Matthew 5:10.

Matthew 10:14

Shake off the dust of your feet - The Jews taught uniformly that the dust of the Gentiles was impure, and was to be shaken off.

To shake off the dust from the feet, therefore, was a significant act, denoting that they regarded them as impure, profane, and paganish, and that they declined any further connection with them. It is recorded that this was actually done by some of the apostles. See Acts 13:51; Acts 18:6.

Matthew 10:15

It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom … - The cities here mentioned, together with Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by fire and brimstone on account of their great wickedness.

They occupied the place afterward covered by the Dead Sea, bounding Palestine on the southeast, Genesis 19:24-25. Christ said that their punishment will be more “tolerable” - that is, more easily borne - than that of the people who reject his gospel. The reason is, that they were not favored with so much light and instruction. See Matthew 11:23-24; Luke 12:47-48. Sodom and Gomorrah are often referred to as signal instances of divine vengeance, and as sure proofs that the wicked shall not go unpunished. See 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Jim Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

  1. Foolishness to the World 
    1. The Calling of the Disciples
      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.  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; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
      1. The main feature of this list is its diversity. Jesus chose His disciples from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. About all they had in common was the fact that none of them were from privileged or backgrounds of high status.
      2. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:  29  That no flesh should glory in his presence.  30  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  31  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
      3. (v1) HE gave them “Exousia” power…delegated power because He was with them physically: 
        1. He equipped those He called.
      4. These “Misfits” were used mightily for US:  Ephesians 2:18-22 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
      5. (and they will be remembered)  Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
      6. He equipped them and He equips those He calls today, but with “dunamis” power – anointed power from the Holy Spirit:
        1. Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
        2. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
    2. Sending the Disciples
      1. Go to the Jews
        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: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
        1. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
        2. Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
      2. The “Mission”
        Matthew 10:7-8 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
        1. They were “front men” for Jesus – they were the advance party preparing the way with both words and signs and wonders!
        2. They were preach about the King – King Jesus!
        3. Freely they had been given to…freely they should give out!
          1. It’s a principle of ministry today – we should not hold onto anything too tightly and have a light touch on the ministry God has given us because it’s ALL HIS!
      3. Trust God
        Matthew 10:9-15 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 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. 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.
        1. They should expect God to meet their needs, without taking undue concern for their own needs. But they should expect that God would normally meet their needs through the inspired hospitality of others.
        2. Those who do receive these disciples can expect to be blessed (let your peace come upon it); but those cities who refuse them can expect to be treated as Gentiles cities (shake off the dust from your feet), and as such, are in grave danger of judgment.
    3. Harmless and Wise
      1. Sheep in the Midst of Wolves
        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.
      2. Take No Thought for What You Will Say 
        Matthew 10:17-20 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 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. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
        1. God will give us the words we need when we need them by the power of the Holy Spirit!
        2. Rhema – Armor of God – the revealed word of God for the moment!!
    4. We will have Tribulation
      Matthew 10:21-23 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. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 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. 

      How did the Apostles and some of the other pillars of early Christendom die?
      1. Matthew: Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound
      2. Mark: Died in Alexandria, Egypt after being dragged by horses through the streets until dead
      3. Luke: Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
      4. John: Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
      5. Peter: He was crucified upside down on an xshaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
      6. James: The leader of the church in Jerusalem was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club. *This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.
      7. James the Great: Son of Zebedee was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded in Jerusalem . The Roman officer who guarded James watched, amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
      8. Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
      9. Andrew: Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.' He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.
      10. Thomas: Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the subcontinent
      11. Jude: Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
      12. Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot was stoned and then beheaded.
      13. Paul: Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

        Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the sake of the Faith. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be saved”.
Copyright Statement
Jim Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Jim Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". 2017.

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Jesus sent out the apostles - : In this limited commission the Lord sent the apostles to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The apostles were sent forth to "preach and to heal." Their message was to be "the kingdom (church) of heaven is at hand." They would see the kingdom come with power. (Mark 9:1, Acts 2:1-47) The apostles were to work miracles and freely do good works.

They were worthy of support from those they taught. "The workman is worthy of his meat" seems to be almost a proverb. These apostles were workmen, or laborers in God"s vineyard. They were carrying out His mission and were entitled to food and raiment.

Those that rejected the preaching of the apostles would feel God"s wrath, a wrath even more severe than His past judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19) He said, "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 Gomorrha in the Day of Judgment, than for that city." ()

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Verily, &c. See note on Matthew 6:18.

the day of judgment. Which the Lord spoke of as imminent, and coming at the end of that dispensation, had the nation repented.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Verily, I say to you That they may not imagine this to be an idle bugbear, (578) Christ declares that those who reject the gospel, will receive more severe punishment than the inhabitants of Sodom. Some view the word judgment as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. But this is foreign to our Lord’s intention: for it must be understood as referring to the general judgment, in which both must give their account, that there may be a comparison of the punishments. Christ mentioned Sodom rather than other cities, not only because it went beyond them all in flagitious crimes, but because God destroyed it in an extraordinary manner, that it might serve as an example to all ages, and that its very name might be held in abomination. And we need not wonder if Christ declares that they will be treated less severely than those who refuse to hear the gospel. When men deny the authority of Him who made and formed them, when they refuse to listen to his voice, nay, reject disdainfully his gentle invitations, and withhold the confidence which is due to his gracious promises, such impiety is the utmost accumulation, as it were, of all crimes. But if the rejection of that obscure preaching was followed by such dreadful vengeance, how awful must be the punishment that awaits those who reject Christ when he speaks openly! Again, if God punishes so severely the despisers of the word, what shall become of furious enemies who, by blasphemies and a venomous tongue, oppose the gospel, or cruelly persecute it by fire and sword?

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible

  1. Intro:
    1. Here we have instructions to 3 kinds of disciples, each group living at a different time.
      1. Some of these instructions will be specifically for the apostles (vs.5-15). Some to those serving just before the Lords return (16-23). Some to faithful disciples, living all throughout church history (24-26).
        1. However, spiritual principles are here for all of God’s servants.
    2. Mrk.6:7 tells us the 12 went out in pairs...which explains their names in pairs. (2-4)
      1. This text specifically, is NOT our commission today.
      2. We may learn from the spiritual principles but we shouldn’t apply these instructions to our lives today.
        1. Later Jesus tells them to do almost the opposite (diff. situation) Lk.22:35-38.
        2. Our commission is to All the world...not only to the Jews.
    3. Some of the spiritual principles we can grab from this section is Pray - Power - Go.
      1. This is the perpetual order of the messengers & missionaries of His kingdom.
  2. TO FORMER DISCIPLES (5-15) The 12 disciples of His day
    1. ​​​​​​​Their mission field (5-6)
      1. They are to go only to the Jews, the lost sheep of Israel.
      2. He tells these original Jews for Jesus, to stay in the pastures near the fold. [don’t even go to those who most resemble the Jews, the Samaritans]
    2. Their mission (7-15)
      1. To preach that God’s Kingdom is near (7).
      2. To heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons (8a).
        1. They are given authority to do these things. Jesus gave them the Power(vs.1). Zech.4:6
          1. Not by power (an indiv’s strength) not by might (military), but by My Spirit.
        2. Preach & Heal - Jesus the 1st Medical missionary tells them not to only minister to their souls, but also to their physical bodies.
          1. Because often the healing of disease is a way of approaching the soul.
      3. To give freely (8b). (power is the context)
      4. To remain unburdened (9,10). Trust God to provide.
        1. ​​​​​​​Leave the Master Card & Visa at home along w/your wallet. [It keeps you humble when you can’t pay]
        2. Don’t be encumbered by excess material goods. (note plurals in vs.10)
          1. No need for 2 suitcases & a carry on. If the weather changes they’ll provide you a coat. They’ll take care of you, a workman’s worthy of his hire.
      5. To bless or curse each town upon leaving (11-15).
        1. The Apostles depended on Hospitality. For a town to refuse a guest was a breach of etiquette.
      6. (11) Stay there - Don’t seek better accommodations.
        1. Wealthy people will always turn up, but don’t forget the worthy men & women who 1st took care of you.
      7. (13) Let your peace, or your shalom aleikhem, be upon that city.
        1. If you come as a blessing, come with a blessing.
        2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Application for us...Spurgeon said, We should never enter a house w/o wishing it good, not to leave it w/o having endeavored to make it better.
        3. Not sure how to bless them? Use Num.6:22-27 Then the Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”
      8. ​​​​​​​If you trusted them to be worthy & they turned out not to be - grab your peace back, & leave. No Compromise.
      9. (14) They weren’t to rail on them, but to let them know they must leave because they refused their message.
        1. Maybe to let impenitent sinners know where they stand.
      10. (15) The Lord seals their fearful doom w/an Assuredly, I say unto you.
        1. ​​​​​​​All individuals fall into this judgment even today, whom reject the Kings Messengers, that bring the Kings Message.
  3. ​​​​​​​TO FUTURE DISCIPLES (16-23) Living During the Time of the Great Trib
    1. ​​​​​​​It is not unusual for Bible writers to leap from one period to another without warning.
      1. Here Jesus looks down through history and sees those who will be His witnesses during the Tribulation period.
    2. These verses do not apply to the 12 Apostles for several reasons:
      1. See Jesus’ statement in vs.23.
      2. Here He speaks of persecution which we have no record the 12 suffered during their tour. (17)
      3. (5) forbids them to go to the Gentiles, while v.18 says they will be witnesses to the Gentiles.
      4. The Spirit could not speak in them until after Christ had been crucified and raised from the dead (Jn14:17).
      5. (22) This vs. speaks of World-wide persecution (all). The apostles were only ministering in their land.
      6. (22,23) parallel Mt.24:9,13 where they definitely apply to the end time.
    3. The enemies of God will Hate them (10:16-18, 23).
      1. Religious persecution (16,17).
        1. They will be handed over to councils and beaten in synagogues. Religion has always persecuted the true church (i.e. the unconverted Saul of Tarsus).
        2. I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves...Oh, Great!
          1. I wonder how team #6 is doing (vs.4)? We have an attack sheep (Simon the Zealot) & a wolf in sheep clothes (Judas).
        3. What do you get when you cross a smart snake & a delicate dove? Well, it should be believers during the Trib. Tough-minded & Tender-hearted. Steel/Velvet.
        4. They aren’t sent to fight w/wolves. Nor drive them out of the places they frequent. But seek to transform them. (Spurg) [No, Dancing w/Wolves]
          1. They’ll have a Wolf ministry. They must be wise to convince them & warmhearted to convict them.
      2. Political persecution (18-20).
        1. They will be brought before governors & kings; this will give them a chance to witness/testimony. We can always turn Opposition into Opportunity.
        2. The Revelation teaches that in the last days Government & Religion will work together to control the world.
          1. Rev.13 describes the time when the world ruler (antichrist) will force the world to worship him & his image. [marrying once again those 2 offices]
          2. He will control world religion, economics, & government. And he will also use all 3 to persecute the church.
      3. Family persecution (21).
        1. Non-believing family members will betray those who have become Jesus’ disciples.
        2. There will be a decay of family love & loyalty.
      4. General persecution (22,23).
        1. Everyone will hate them because of their allegiance to Christ.
        2. He who endures to the end will be saved - has nothing to do with salvation from sin. It is talking about the faithful endurance of His ambassadors during the time of persecution in the Tribulation.
        3. (23) They’ll always have work to do & a message to proclaim, for the sake of the kingdom.
    4. The Spirit of God will Help them (19,20). [The enemies of God will Hate them but...]
      1. He will give them the right words to say.
  4. TO FAITHFUL DISCIPLES (24-26) Living throughout Church History
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus speaks of discipleship & servanthood (learners/laborers) and persecution.
    2. This section would apply to servants during any period of bible history.
      1. It has special significance for His disciples today.
        1. We are His disciples. Our prayer should be, Lord, You be the needle & I’ll be the thread. I’ll follow right behind...wherever You lead.
    3. The Certainty of Persecution (24,25).
      1. Just as He is persecuted, His disciples also will be.
      2. To be Like his Teacher...Like his Master - Let this be our ambition in every way.
      3. They may call us what they like, but they cannot make us evil.
        1. God was slandered in the garden of Eden. Christ was slandered on Calvary. How can we hope to escape?
      4. Note, we are of His Household - what a privilege.
    4. The Confidence in Persecution (26) [see vs.28, can kill body but not soul]
      1. In this next section (to the end of the ch.) Matthew will list several reasons why we must not be afraid to openly confess Christ.
        1. Note how many times do not fear shows up in this next section (vs.26,28,31).
      2. Anticipate the Future and be not overwhelmed by the Present.
      3. If you’re misrepresented...The Lord will right you before long.
      4. A day is coming when All will be righted.
    5. A soldier dies twice, once when he dies and also when he is forgotten.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Brian Bell Commentary". 2017.

The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide


And when He had called, &c. Observe that Christ, out of all His disciples, chose principally twelve, as S. Luke shows more at length (vi13.). He chose twelve Apostles that they should be His chief legates, whom He invested with plenary authority and power, and sent them forth into all the world to proclaim His Gospel unto all nations. He chose also seventy-two others; but these He called disciples, not Apostles, although they too are spoken of by ancient writers as Apostles, that is legates or ambassadors of Christ. And such in fact they were, but with less power, as being subject and subordinate to the twelve Apostles. These twelve Christ now sends forth, that they may begin to discharge the office to which they were called, that they may serve their novitiate under Himself as their master, that afterwards being made priests and bishops, they may after His death fully accomplish their office and ministry. Wherefore Christ made the Apostles the Princes of His Church, and superior to all the faithful, both martyrs, confessors, and virgins, not only in office and dignity, but also in grace and sanctity. For upon them he has founded His Church, as we may learn from Ephesians 2:20, and Revelation 21:19.

Moreover the power of the Apostles was the greatest in the Church, far greater than that of Bishops; for the Apostles were chosen and sent forth directly by Christ the Lord, as it were legates a latere of Christ, with absolute power through the whole world, not only to preach the Gospel, and confirm it by miracles, but also by writing. For the Apostles had the power of writing canonical books (as in fact Matthew and John wrote Gospels), canonical epistles and the Apocalypse. They also had power to found churches everywhere, and to institute and ordain priests and bishops, and the whole hierarchical order, together with ceremonies of the Eucharistic Sacrifice and all the Sacraments.

Observe that in this triple power the Apostles were all equal among themselves and with S. Peter. Yet were they subordinate to him as their head and superior. This is why Peter ( Matthew 10:2) is placed and named first amongst them.

And heal all manner of sickness, &c. Gr. νόσυν, i.e., disease. Both this power, and that of casting out devils was given to the Apostles after the manner of an abiding habit. God did not endue them with a physical faculty of healing diseases; but His omnipotent power was promised to them so as always to assist them, in such a way that as often as they willed to do these things, immediately God cast out the devils, and bestowed healing. This power was given them for the confirmation of their preaching, that by this means they might convince the people.

Now the names, &c. The reason why Christ chose exactly twelve Apostles, neither more nor less, was that they should correspond to the twelve Patriarchs, sons of Jacob. For as these were of the Jews, so were the Apostles the parents of all Christians. So SS. Jerome, Austin, and all the Fathers. Rabanus speaks of other mysteries in this number, and following him, S. Thomas (in Catena) says: This number twelve is made by multiplying three into four, and signifies that they should preach belief in the Trinity in the four quarters of the world. They were typified by the twelve sons of Jacob, by the twelve princes of the children of Israel, by the twelve wells of Elim, by the twelve stones of the breast-plate, the twelve loaves of the shew-bread, the twelve spies, the twelve stones taken out of Jordan, the twelve oxen that supported the brazen sea, the twelve stars in the crown of the bridegroom in the Apocalypse, the twelve foundations of the city, the twelve gates.

The first, Simon, who is called Peter, &c. Beza, that he may get rid of the primacy of Peter and the Bishops of Rome who have succeeded him, thinks that first is a spurious reading, and ought to be expunged. But it is the uniform reading of all the codices and versions—Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Hebrew. And it is incredible that the passage should have been corrupted by the later Greeks, who are schismatics, and deny the primacy of Peter. Rather would they have expunged the word first, if they could colourably have done so. In short, wherever the names of all the Apostles are given in Scripture, Peter is placed first, Judas last; whilst with respect to the rest the order varies, as is plain from Mark 3:16, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13.

Moreover, Peter is called the first of the Apostles: not in age, for Andrew was older than he, as Epiphanius testifies (Hæres51); not in vocation, for Andrew was called before him (S. John 1:41); not in love, for Christ loved S. John above all the rest, and therefore he leaned upon His breast at His last Supper. It remains, therefore, that Peter was the first of the Apostles in excellence and authority, being, indeed, their head and ruler. Thus it is that the names of the rest are not given in any uniform order, nor one called second, another third, because all were equal, and all equally subject to Peter. From this word first, in Latin primus, comes the expression Primacy of Peter, which all the ancient Greeks and Latins acknowledged. Hear S. Chrysostom, "Peter was the first and, as it were, the head of all the Apostles." S. Jerome (lib1contra Jovin. c17), "Among the twelve Apostles, one is chosen, that a head being appointed, occasion of schism may be taken away." Ambrosiaster (in2Cor. c12), Andrew followed the Saviour before Peter, and yet not Andrew, but Peter, received the Primacy. Peter, therefore, as the Primate of the Apostles, had power to admonish and correct them if they erred in faith or morals, to put an end to contentions, to assign them their provinces, to substitute others in their place if they fell, as he substituted Matthias in the room of the traitor, Judas. For this subordination of the Apostles, of bishops, and all the faithful under one head was necessary for the unity, stability, and good government of the Church, as S. Cyprian teaches—Hæres2. Peter alone among the Apostles had ordinary jurisdiction, to which in due order the Roman Pontiffs succeed. For Peter set up his Pontifical chair at Rome, where he died a martyr. But the Apostles had delegated jurisdiction from Christ, to which there were no successors.

You will say, the bishops are said to be the successors of the Apostles. I reply, this is only said by way of analogy, because bishops share with the Apostles in episcopal order and jurisdiction, because bishops are superior to other priests in the same way that the twelve Apostles were superior to the seventy-two disciples. But bishops do not possess that three-fold Apostolic power of which I spoke in the beginning of this chapter. The power of bishops only extends to their own dioceses, but that of the Apostles to all nations throughout the whole world.

Andrew his brother. Mark places James and John before Andrew, making him the fourth. Luke does the same in Acts i., 13, but in his Gospel he places him before them as Matthew does. These variations in the order of the names is to show that the Apostles are all equal in dignity and office. Whence Cajetan says upon this passage, "Peter alone has the distinction of being called first, in order to intimate that it closely pertains to Christian knowledge to recognise the Primacy of Peter, and that it is of no consequence to know the order of the Apostles among themselves."

S. John in the Apocalypse, in describing the twelve Apostles as the twelve foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem, assigns to each his place with their own peculiar precious stones—The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, a sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. ( Revelation 21:19).

The first, jasper, denotes Peter, on account of the firmness of his faith; the second, a sapphire, Andrew, because of his heavenly life and love; the third, a chalcedony, or carbuncle, James, burning with zeal; the fourth, an emerald, John, blooming and a virgin; the fifth, a sardonyx, Philip, on account of the whiteness of his mind; the sixth, the ruddy sardius, Bartholomew, flayed alive; the seventh, a chrysolyte, the colour of the sea, Matthew, a penitent; the eighth, a polished beryl, Thomas, polished and established by Christ in the faith of his Resurrection; the ninth, a topaz, James the less, radiant with sanctity; the tenth, a chrysoprasus, Judas Thaddæus, who, by his acute wisdom, was hostile to heretics, as it were an onion, for πρὰσον means an onion; the eleventh, a jacinth, Simon the Canaanite, on account of the sweetness of his manners; the twelfth, the lowly Matthias, and the least.

Paul and Barnabas are not reckoned among these twelve Apostles, because they were called by Christ to the Apostolate, not whilst He was upon earth, but when He was reigning in heaven. They had equal power, and an equal measure of the Spirit, with the twelve Apostles.

Andrew is a Greek word, and means manly, strong, heroic. Many of the Jews, after they became subject to Alexander"s successors, learnt Greek and took Greek names. Andrew was, what his name signifies—brave and heroic in his preaching and passion, from the strength of his love to Christ, panting for his cross. He was, says Gaudentius, the first of all the disciples of John the Baptist, and being by him sent to Christ, first began to know Him.

James, the son of Zebedee: he was surnamed the Greater. He was the patron and Apostle of Spain, and was the first of the Apostles who suffered martyrdom, being beheaded by Herod Agrippa.

John, his brother. This is the beloved disciple of Christ, of whom I have spoken at length in the prefaces to his Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse.

Philip is Greek; φίλος ίππων, a lover of horses, meaning a knight, warlike. For Philip was as a war-horse of Christ against the Jews and infidels. Concerning this, see the Apoc. (vi2), "and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him had a bow, and a crown was given unto him, and he went forth conquering and to conquer."

Bartholomew has been explained to mean the son of him who suspendeth the waters, from bar, a son, thala, he suspended, marim, waters. Whence Ruperti and Osorius think that Christ turned into wine upon the occasion of Bartholomew"s wedding at Cana of Galilee, as though he had been the bridegroom. Others reject this. For Bartholomew is the same as son of Tolmai. Tolmai was a common name among the Hebrews, as is plain from Joshua 15:14, and 2 Samuel 3:3. Less aptly, some interpret Bartholemew as son of Ptolemy, as though he had been sprung from the Ptolemies, kings of Egypt.

Thomas in Gr. Didymus, a twin. Concerning him, see John 20:24.

Matthew, the publican. Note S. Matthew"s humility, who when the other Evangelists were silent about his being a publican, publicly announced himself a sinner.

James, the son of Alphus: Alpheus means in Hebrew, learned, or a doctor. This Alphus, the father of James, was a different person from Alphus, the father of Matthew ( Mark 2:14). For this Alphus, the father of James, was the husband of Mary of Cleopas, who is called the sister of Mary, the mother of the Lord ( John 19:25). Whence Helecas, Bishop of Saragossa, and others, think Alphus is the same as Cleopas. Alphus begat James and Jude of Mary. This was James the Less, of whom I speak at length in the Preface to his Epistle.

Thaddus: this is the same as Jude, the author of a canonical Epistle. Of him also I have spoken in the Preface to his Epistle.

Simon the Canaanite. This Simon is not so called because he was sprung from the Canaanites, as some wrongly imagine, for all the Apostles were Jews, but because he was born at Cana of Galilee. Hence Nicephorus (lib8, c30) and Baronius think that he was the bridegroom at the marriage feast when Christ turned the water into wine. Because Cana in Heb. means zeal, S. Jerome says he was called the Canaanite, i.e. Zealotes, the Zealot, with a double allusion to the city of Cana and his zeal

And Judas Iscariot: as though Ish keriot: i.e., a man of Carioth, a city of the tribe of Judah. (See Joshua 15:25.) So Angelus Caninius on Hebrew names (cap13.) Others, with greater probability, are of opinion that he was so called because he came from the village of Iscarioth, in the tribe of Ephraim, not far from Samaria. So S. Jerome in this place, and on Isaiah 28:1, Maldonatus and Adrichomius. Iscariot means in Hebrew the same as mercenary, for sachar is merchandise. And this well agrees with Judas, who made merchandise of Christ. Christ chose Judas, although He knew that he would prove a traitor, because He was willing to bear his treachery, and to add it to the weight of His Passion, for He wished His Passion to be in all respects complete. He willed to suffer every kind of torment and from all sorts of men, to teach us to do good, not only to the good and thankful, but also to the evil and the unthankful. Hear S. Ambrose (lib5 in Luc.): "Judas is chosen, not through imprudence, but through providence, since Christ willed to be betrayed by him, in order that thou, if thou art forsaken by thy friend, or even if betrayed by thy friend, mayest bear patiently the error of thy judgment, the loss of thy kindness." (See S. Jerome on Isaiah 28:1.) "Woe to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower, the glory his of exaltation" (Vulg.), which the Sept. translates, "Woe to the crown of wrong, the mercenaries of Ephraim, a flower falling from glory upon the top of the fat mountain." S. Jerome understands this mystically of Judas, the traitor; "who was," he says, "of the tribe of Ephraim, of one of its villages, Iscarioth. He indeed sold the Lord for a price. He indeed, as a flower, fell from the glory of his Apostleship upon that most fat mountain of which we suppose it is spoken, "Jacob hath eaten and drunk, and is filled; and the oved hath grown fat and kicked." or, according to the Heb. upon "the valley of the fat ones," i.e., Gethsemane, by which also is signified the name of the place in which Judas betrayed the Lord." After a little, he adds, "The traitor was drunken, not with wine, but with avarice, and the incurable madness of asps, even the food of the devil; who, after the morsel, entered into him and wholly devoured him, because "his prayer was turned into sin," and not, even in repentance, had he the fruit of salvation."

Note, first, Christ combines together all his Apostles, and assigns to each his companion, making six pairs. With Peter He joins Andrew, and so on; that each may derive help and confirmation from his companion in his preaching. And for this cause He sent them out two and two ( Luke 10:1.)

Again, among His Apostles, Christ chose three pairs of brethren, viz., Peter and Andrew, James and John, James the Less and Jude; some add Simon the Canaanite who, they say, was a brother of James and Jude. He did this to teach how dear to Him is brotherly love, according to that saying in Eccles. (xxv1): "In these things hath my spirit delight, which are approved before God and man, the concord of brethren, the love of neighbours, and a husband and 10 wife agreeing together." Also Proverbs 18:19, "a brother who is helped by a brother is as a strong city."

Observe, secondly, several of the Apostles were relations of Christ, as James and John, James the Less and Jude. For Christ chose His Apostles, not to be sleek and wealthy princes, but to endure labours, poverty, crosses, torments, and martyrdom. Whence He gave them abundance of good things—not temporal but spiritual—even as the order of charity requires, according to which it is right to wish and care for greater grace for parents and relations than for others.

I may add, it behoved the WORD, when He took our flesh, to unite those who were most near to Him in the flesh more closely to His Divinity also, by grace. And this He did, so that His mother was the holiest of all, then S. Joseph, after him Joachim and Anna, as His grandparents: also John the Baptist and his mother, James and John, James the Less, and Jude, as His relations and kinsfolk. For these, because by fleshly relationship they were nearer Christ"s humanity, so also were they brought into chosen connection with His Divinity through grace. Therefore this was not in Christ the fault of accepting persons, as it is in Prelates, who, contrary to what is right, burden rather than truly honour their nephews and kinsmen with dignities, prebends and riches.

Lastly, there were three chief Apostles, viz., Peter, James and John, whom Christ took as the witnesses of His transfiguration, His Passion in the Garden, and other secrets, whence these are, as it were, the pillars of the Church, and the Triumvirs of the Apostles.

Go not into the way of the Gentiles. Syriac has, of the profane: Way of the G. is a Hebraism for, to the Gentiles. Similar is Jeremiah 2:18. "And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt?" That is, "Why art thou going into Egypt?"

This is the first precept of Christ, by which sending His Apostles forth to preach, He bids them go not to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but to the Jews. The reason was, because they were the children of the Kingdom, and sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom the Messiah, that is Christ, had been promised by God. Had not Christ acted thus, the Jews might have taken exception against him and the Apostles, and said, "Thou art not the true Messiah, for thou preachest the Gospel to the Gentiles and Samaritans. Our Messiah was promised by the Prophets to the Jews, not to the Gentiles." This precept, however, was only temporary. It only lasted during the life of Christ on earth. After His Resurrection Christ sent His Apostles to evangelize the nations throughout the whole world. Then was taken away the distinction between Jews and Gentiles, and of both there was made one Fold and one Shepherd. So S. Jer., Chrys., and others. S. Paul puts the command of Christ in this verse in another form, when he says, "For I say that Christ Jesus was the Minister of the circumcision for the truth of God to confirm the promises made unto the fathers."

And as ye go, preach, saying, &c. This is the second and the chief command of Christ to His Apostles, viz., that they should traverse Judea, and preach the Kingdom of Heaven, and invite, yea compel men to come into it. It was as though Christ said, In a short time I will, by My death, open Heaven to men, which has been shut for so many thousands of years by Adam"s sin, and I will open the way of entrance into it. Invite all therefore to enter upon this way that they may gain the Kingdom. This was the sum and substance of Christ"s preaching.

Heal the sick, &c. This is the third precept of Christ, by which He bids them use freely the power which had been given them of working miracles to persuade men to believe in Christ, that their souls might be healed of unbelief.

Freely ye have received, &c. For freely the Greek has, δωρεάν, as a gift, gratis in the Vulgate. This is Christ"s fourth precept. By using the word gratis, he takes away the occasion of pride, says S. Chrys., since they know that they have not this power of themselves; but by God"s free gift have received it, without merit of their own. In like manner this word gratis excludes all avarice and simony, that they may not sell their miracles for money. Again, they are admonished to be liberal in exercising this power, keeping as the end in view the benefit of others, like Mountains, which the more water they send forth abroad, the more they interiorly receive. This is what Isaiah foretold concerning Christ. "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters. Come ye, buy wine and milk without money and without price." For this liberality became the King of kings, that is Christ the Lord, and therefore He willed His Apostles to be altogether opposed to every appearance, yea, even shadow, of simony and covetousness, that they should not receive any gift, lest men should think they were seeking their own wealth, and so be turned away from the faith of Christ. The Apostles would have sinned and broken the command of Christ if they had received gifts on account of their preaching. Thus S. Hilarion, as S. Jerome testifies in his life, healed very many sick persons, but would not receive any gifts from them, not so much as a morsel of bread; for he was wont to say, "Gratis ye have received, gratis give." He replied to a certain nobleman whose name was Orion, whom he had delivered from a legion of devils, and who urgently pressed him to receive a gift, at least that he might distribute it among the poor, "Be not grieved, my son, at what I do, for I do it for thy sake and my sake. If I should receive this I should offend God, and the legion would return to thee."

A provincial council of Constantinople in a Synodical Epistle expounds, Gratis ye have received, &c., of the priesthood, that it must not be simoniacally sold.

Observe, the precise reason why the Apostles were bound to bestow gratis the Charismata given to them by God was not merely because they had received them gratis from God. For he who has received knowledge, or some natural skill infused into him by God, like Bezaleel, the architect of the Tabernacle,—such an one, I say, may lawfully sell it, and teach it to others for money, as some masters of arts do. The precise reason, therefore, is because this thing is so sublime, and of such a nature that it cannot be acquired by human industry, but can only be received by the free grace of God; because it is indeed divine, and therefore far surpassing and transcending all price. This is the meaning of gratis ye have received. Wherefore to wish to estimate it at a price, and to sell it, is to treat it unworthily and profane it. It is to do a grievous indignity to it and to God, from Whom it has its sanctity: and therefore it is the crime

You will say, Then by parity of reasoning, he who exchanges one sacred thing for another is guilty of simony by the law of nature, and by the Divine law, because he does not give it gratis. Adrian admits this (quodlib9 ad4, conclus. lit. E.). But I reply by denying the consequence. For in this place, to give gratis is to give without temporal hire or reward. This may be collected from what follows: Provide (Gr. Possess) neither old, &c. For things sacred have no temporal price. And this is neither given nor received when one sacred thing is exchanged for another. So SS. Jer., Chrys., and others. (See Lessius, Tract. de Simonia, dub3.) Let religious and apostolic men follow closely this precept of Christ, for it very greatly conduces to His glory and the salvation of souls, as I have learned by an experience of forty years. S. Ignatius, the Founder of our Society (Reg17, Sum. Constit.) thus wisely lays down: "Let all who are under obedience to this Society remember that they ought to give gratis what they have gratis received, neither asking nor receiving pay, nor any alms, by which masses, confessions, or sermons, or any other offices whatsoever of the things which the Society, according to our institution, is able to exercise, may seem to be compensated; that thus it may be able to advance with greater freedom both in the Divine service and the edification of our neighbours."

Once, when S. Antony was on a journey, he saw an immense piece of gold. He admired the size of the glittering piece of metal and ran as fast as he could to his mountain, as though he were running from a fire. Whenever money was offered to S. Vincent Ferrar as he was preaching through the villages, he refused it, and forbade his companions accepting it. S. Francis was wont to say that "money to the servants of God is nothing else than a devil, and a poisonous snake."

Provide neither gold, &c., in your purses, Gr. in your girdles; for formerly they attached purses to their girdles, or wove them into their girdles. This was especially the case with soldiers and travellers. Whence the proverb, "He has lost his girdle," said of him who has no money. Hence also coffers have been called girdles.

This is the fifth precept of Christ given to His Apostles concerning not possessing money. It was given for three reasons1. That being free from all earthly affections and cares, they should depend entirely upon God"s providence2. That they should be wholly intent upon preaching the Gospel, and give all their thoughts and cares to that3. That they might give to all nations an illustrious example of simplicity, poverty, contempt of riches, whereby—by means of this angelical life—they might draw all men to love and admire them. There is nothing, says Euthymius, which makes men so admirable as a frugal life, and to be contented with whatever comes to hand.

Symbolically, S. Jerome says, "gold, we often read, is to be taken for understanding, silver for speech, brass for voice. These cannot be received by us from others, but are given to us as a possession by the Lord."

You will inquire whether those precepts of Christ concerning not possessing money, shoes, staff, and two tunics, or coats, were given to the Apostles in perpetuity, or were or were they only temporary? S. Hilary, S. Jerome, S. Ambrose, S. Austin, and after them Maldonatus, are of opinion that they were perpetual; so that the Apostles in all their travels, in which they preached to the Gentiles, were tied to this form and species of poverty. The common opinion is that these precepts were only temporarily binding, that is to say, only whilst they were preaching to the Jews during Christ"s earthly life.

First, I say that this latter opinion is the correct one. It is plainly so from Christ"s saying, Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, &c. For the Messiah must be first shown to the Jews, that if they received Him, the Gentiles might the more readily accept Him

2. It is plain from Luke 22:35, where Christ speaking retrospectively of this mission and precept, says, When I sent you without bag and scrip and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. He saith unto them, But now, &c. This word now shows that he was giving them a different precept, viz., that they should take a scrip, and buy a sword.

3. The Apostles in going to the Gentiles were preaching to infidels who were likely at first to be prejudiced against them as enemies of their gods, and who would not deign to give them food and hospitality. Before, therefore, they could persuade them to believe, they must provide themselves with the means of living, especially as they were often accompanied by a large number of catechists, interpreters, and other coadjutors. Thus, when Paul was going to Jerusalem, there accompanied him Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Timotheus, Caius, Tychicus and Trophimus (See Acts 20:4).

The Apostles were accustomed to allow a pious and wealthy woman to accompany them, to provide for them. This clearly appears from 1 Corinthians 9:5: "Have we not power to carry about a woman, a sister (Vulg.), even as the other Apostles?" Christ Himself did the same thing, who permitted Magdalen, and other pious women whom he had converted, to accompany Him to provide for Himself and His followers (see Luke 8:3). Yea, Judas had coffers (Vulg, ), and bore what was put into them. And in the6th of John, the disciples say to Christ: "Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?"

You may say that Christ did not Himself keep the precept which He gave to His Apostles concerning not carrying money. I answer that Christ did observe it at the commencement of His ministry. He was then without any coffers, as appears from His words, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." It was with the object of providing for His twelve Apostles and seventy Disciples, whom He took about with Him, that He permitted Judas to carry coffers (Vulg.). For who could exercise hospitality towards so great a number of people? Who could, or would, sustain them for a continuance? But Christ sent His Apostles throughout Judea only in pairs. And two people could easily find hospitality from anyone piously disposed. In like manner when S. Francis Xavier was going to the Indies, he took no provision for his journey into the ship. Indeed, he refused what was offered him by the King of Portugal. He daily begged his bread from the sailors and passengers, because he was alone. But now, at the present time, when fifties and hundreds from the Society of Jesus and other Orders are often sent out to preach the Gospel in the Indies, it is only right that they should carry some provision with them for their voyage. For where are the sailors or passengers who could or would supply all these persons during a six months" voyage? So S. Vincent Ferrer, who went through the countries of Europe in an apostolic manner evangelizing, was wont to have hundreds, yea thousands of people accompanying him. And so he had his purveyors, who provided food and other necessaries for all; for the ordinary inhabitants could not have borne the burden.

I say, however, in the second place, that these precepts, so far as their substance and scope are concerned, which were to exhibit a mind free from covetousness, and to place before it a great contempt of all earthly things, and a firm trust in the providence of God; these are the things, I say, which Christ wished to impress upon His Apostles by these precepts. And these the Apostles in very deed fulfilled, when, having received the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, they thought, spoke, and treated of nothing except heavenly things. And so these precepts of Christ, not merely as to their scope, but as to their very letter, whenever and wherever it was possible to do so, were fulfilled by them. Yea, to these precepts Paul added the determination that he would not receive from the faithful the expense of his maintenance, but would procure a livelihood by the labour of his hands. And this is all that is meant by the Fathers who were cited at the commencement of this discussion. S. Francis imitated this example of Apostolic poverty when he sent out his brethren two by two to preach, and gave them this as their only viaticum, "Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He will nourish thee."

Nor scrip, &c. The scrip is a pouch, or traveller"s bag, in which wayfarers put bread and food to eat on the way, hence the adage, "The beggar"s bag is not full."

Neither two coats: understand two pairs of coats, or tunics, says Thomas, for a change, that you may put on, now one, now the other. For Christ does not here forbid the putting on of two garments at the same time on account of cold or other necessity, for Christ Himself was clothed with two garments, as appears from John 19:23. So S. Jerome, &c.

More simply, Lyra, Toletus and Barradi understand a single tunic to be here meant. For one coat in so hot a country as judea is sufficient. Wherefore Christ had only one outer coat, for that seamless garment was an inner one, or a shirt. Over the outer garment it was afterwards the custom to throw a pallium, or cloke.

Neither shoes: not two pair of shoes, say S. Thomas and Cajetan: but the more simple way of taking it is to understand that such shoes as cover the whole foot are forbidden, not sandals, which only protect the soles of the feet from being hurt by stones. S. Mark (vi9) shows that these were allowed to the Apostles. For Palestine is a rough and stony country as well as a hot one. So S. Jer., Enthym., Tolet, Jansen, and S. Austin understand the passage. But shoes confine and, as it were, imprison the feet, and make them less expeditious in travelling, and sometimes too hot. Christ then forbade shoes to His Apostles, as they were travelling about Palestine, that they might make greater expedition in their journeys, and to take away undue care of their feet. Shoes are called by the Greeks ύπυδήματα, i e., what is bound, or tied, because they were formerly bound or tied with strings above, as is still the custom with many. That the Apostles after Christ"s Ascension made use of sandals, appears from Acts xii., where the Angel says to Peter, Bind on thy sandles. Of such a kind is S. Andrew"s sandal in the Cathedral of Treves, which has been shown me by the Reverend, the Provost. Such were the sandals worn by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, as appears from their ancient pictures preserved at Rome in the Codex of the Emperor Basil Porphyrogenitus, in the Vatican. Such too may be seen in the picture of the Blessed Virgin, painted by S. Luke, and preserved at Rome. The Child Jesus is there represented in her arms. He is shod with sandals which are bound about the feet above, with strings, in such a way that the toes and upper portion of the feet are entirely uncovered. Nothing is covered except the sole of the foot.

Many of the early Christians followed this example of Christ and His Apostles, and went without shoes. Lucian shows this in his Philopator, where describing a Christian"s dress, he says, "He wears a ragged cloke, without hat or shoes, with unkempt hair." Similarly Plato, says S. Jerome, "bade that the two extremities of the body, the head and the feet should be left uncovered, that they may not become tender. For when these are strong, the other parts of the body will be robust." On the cloke of the Christians there was the old proverb, Gone from the toga to the pallium, meaning that a man had gone over from heathenism to Christianity. For heathens wore the toga, Christians the pallium, or cloke. Whence Tertullian (lib. de Pallio c5), "we say nothing about shoes, about the peculiar torment of the toga, the most unclean protection of the feet, albeit false enough. For how is it not expedient that the barefooted man should be stift with cold and heat, like the crook-footed man in shoes! Vast assistance is there in walking from the cobbler"s stall! The inventors had an eye to the votaries of Venus!" Very excellently says Clement of Alexandria (lib2. Pædagog. cap11), "Most becoming is it in a man not to have any shoes, unless he be a soldier. For a man that is shod has no small resemblance to one who is fettered. It is the best kind of exercise, and conduces to health and expedition to go with naked feet, unless necessity prevent: but if we ire not going on a journey, and are unable to walk with bare feet, we must use the sort of shoes which the Athenians call Κονίποδας, because, as I conjecture, the feet are near the ground. John is a sufficient witness of the advantage of being lightly and simply shod. He said that he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of the Lord"s sandals. He had no finely worked shoes, who exhibited to the Hebrews the pattern of true philosophy."

Symbolically, S. Austin (lib2. de Consens. Evangel. c30.), says, "Mark saith they were to be shod with sandals, by which the foot is neither covered above, nor yet bare on the ground. For verily it was the Lord"s will that the Gospel should neither be hid, nor yet that it should rely upon earthly advantages." The Gloss., "By an Apostle must be cast away gold, that is, worldly wisdom; silver, that is, eloquence; money in the purse, that is, hidden wisdom; a scrip, that is the burden of the world; shoes, that is, the examples of dead works."

Nor yet staves. The Gr., followed by the Vulg., has staff in the singular. You will say, Mark ( Mark 6:9), says differently, viz., a staff only. I reply, Mark is speaking of the Heb. mischan, a rod, or a staff, on which to lean. For this was the symbol of poor travellers, who relieve their weariness by leaning on a staff. This was how Jacob journeyed to Mesopotamia. But Matthew is here speaking of matte, i.e., a rod for defence, or punishment. This was what Christ forbade His Apostles carrying. Observe that the Greek ρ́άβδος, a rod, has three meanings. First. The symbol of honour and power, such as the sceptre of monarchs, the fasces of consuls, the rod of prætors and judges. This is called in Hebrew, scebet, whence sceptre. As David says in Psalm 2:9, "Thou shalt rule them with a rod (scebet) of iron." And Ps. xlv., "The sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre." And Isaiah 14:5, "The Lord bath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers." Hence also: ρ́αδοφόροι, that is, rod-bearers, was the name given to lictors and officers, by whom the magistrates executed their sentences. The rod which they bore was the sign of their office. So also the Jewish Doctors were wont to carry a rod, or wand in their hands, says Lyra, as the mark of their teaching, in the same way that schoolmasters now make use of a ferula. Christ forbids this practice to His Apostles. He bids them carry before them modesty, humility; not imperious authority and power. It was such a rod as that of which I have been speaking that Moses, the lawgiver of the stiff-necked Israelites, bore, and with which he smote Pharaoh with the ten plagues, and chastised the rebellious Jews. Christ, whose law is the spirit of love and sweetness, hath another rod.

Second. Ράβδος, rod, or staff, hath the same meaning as matte, in the sense of a rod with which you strike or beat a person, as teachers scourge their scholars. Thus Psalm 89:32., "I will visit their iniquities with a rod." And Exodus 21:20, "He who smiteth his manservant, or his maidservant with a rod." So the arms of rustics are sticks and rods. David went against Goliath with no other arms than his staff and his sling. And Ezek. (c. xxxix.), speaking of the slaughter of Gog, says "They shall burn the arms, the shield, and the spear, the bows and arrows, the staves and the javelins." Also Is. xx., "Asshur, the rod of mine anger." So that in this place by staff, arms of any kind are forbidden by Christ to His Apostles. He bids them trust not in arms but in God, and that they should be preachers of Divine protection, and propagate the faith, not by fighting, but by suffering. For he who has the Lord for his help, what need hath he of a staff" says S. Jerome.

Third. Ράβδος signifies mischan, a staff on which to lean. This Christ allowed to His Apostles.

Lastly. Johannes Alba (lib. elect. p337), by staff here understands one on which was cut some mark or sign of mutual friendship, so that it was what was called a tessera, or pledge of friendship, which people were accustomed to show when they went to personally unknown friends, that they might be received to hospitality by them. Wherefore when men renounced friendship, they were said to break the tessera of friendship. So that Christ"s meaning in this place would be, "Rely not upon human help, bear not the tessera of friendship as the guarantee for your reception. God will provide you with hospitality." But this sense is a strained one.

Symbolically, the staff or rod denotes the power of the Apostles. S. Austin.

The workman is worthy, &c. He gives the reason why He forbids the carrying a viaticum. "Let preachers," says S. Chrys., "receive their support from the people, but their reward of their hire from God." In other places this support is called wages, or hire, from the similitude of those workmen, to whom food is given as a part of their wages. Yet in the case of preachers it is not properly wages, for preaching far transcends all price, and all human wages. S. Paul (in1Cor. ix.) calls this support of preachers, their pay or stipend, from the similitude of soldiers, to whom it is not given as wages; for what is it in comparison with the perils they undergo? but as the support which is their due. "Labour therefore in the Lord"s vineyard, 0 ye Apostles, and preach zealously. Be not anxious about sustenance, about food and raiment, for God will abundantly provide for you either by your hosts, or from some other of the rich treasures of His Providence."

Into whatsoever city, &c. Worthy, that is, apt and meet to receive the Gospel, one who fears God, and leads a good life, who desires salvation, who shows hospitality to poor and pious people, especially preachers; one who knows, as S. Jerome says, "that he is receiving a favour, rather than conferring one."

This is the sixth precept which Christ gives to His Apostles concerning hospitality, when they were going to preach to the Jews, that they should not lodge with any one who was opposed to faith in Christ, or of evil report, lest his infamy should bring discredit upon themselves. "A host," says S. Jerome, "should be chosen for his reputation among the people, and from his character with his neighbours; lest the worthiness of preaching should be besmirched by the infamy of the preacher"s host."

And the rab eide, &c. Why? First, lest if the Apostles should go about from one host to another, they should appear changeable and inconstant. So S. Chrys. Secondly, not to grieve their first host, and do him a dishonour by migrating to one worthier. Thirdly, lest any one should call them gluttonous, seekers after the luxurious boards of the rich. It must be understood that this precept applies only when they did not remain very long in the same place, so as to become burdensome to their host; for in such a case charity and prudence would recommend a change of hostel.

When ye enter into a house, &c. This was the ancient method of salutation among the Hebrews, by which they prayed for the peace and prosperity of the master of the house and his family. The Hebrews understood it of temporal blessings, but Christ of spiritual. For Christ came to the world to make peace between God, man, and angels. Wherefore when He was born the angels sang, "Peace on earth, to men of goodwill" (Vulg.).

This is the seventh precept—that they should pray for peace for their host, and by their prayer discover if he were worthy and suitable. The Apostles, therefore, pray for peace for their host, first with God, secondly with his family and neighbours and all other persons. S. Chrys. says that this salutation of the Apostles was not a mere naked and verbal one, but real and efficacious, and had the power of conferring upon their host (if he were worthy) actual peace—that is to say, grace, faith, and salvation.

And if the house be worthy, &c. That is, if—as He had said a little before—the host be worthy, that is, a lover of peace and salvation.

But if it be not worthy, &c. If the host refuse and reject your salutation of peace, your peace shall return unto you—Gr. ε̉πιστραΦήτω, let it return, in the sense of shall return. For the Heb. often uses the imperative instead of the future. Note the personification. Peace is here introduced as a person rejected by a host, and going elsewhere, and carrying the Apostles with him. If the host rejects your salutation of peace, your salutation shall not therefore be unfruitful, for there shall come to yourselves what you prayed for him, that is, peace and all prosperity. Thus shall your peace, repulsed by this unworthy host, come back to you, and lead you to some worthy host who will eagerly receive you and believe your preaching. There is a similar mode of expression in Psalm 35:12-13, to which Christ here makes an allusion . "They rewarded me evil for good," &c.; "And my prayer shall return into mine own bosom." So Eusebius, S. Athanasius, and Hesychius on this Psalm expound it. The latter says, "Into the bosom of Christ, i e., the Church of the Gentiles, the prayer of Christ (turned away by the Jews) falleth." This is what S. Paul said to the Jews: "It behoved that the Word of God should be spoken first unto you, but since ye reject it, and count yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."

And whosoever shall not receive you, &c. . . . the dust of your feet. Luke and Mark add, for a testimony against them. Abul. Says that the Apostles were to do this twice, once in the city and once outside the city. They were to do it by striking their sandals against the ground, or by knocking, or rubbing them upon a stone, to brush off the dust.

You will ask, Why was this? 1. S. Jerome says, dust is shaken off as a testimony of labour, to show that they had entered the city, and the Apostolic preaching had reached it. And as Theophylact: "They testify that for their sakes they had made so long a journey, and it had profited them nothing."

2. Shake off the dust, as impious, on account of the impious inhabitants, that ye may signify that they are, as it were, anathema, and that ye will have nothing, not even their dust in common with them, as being doomed to eternal condemnation. So S. Jer. Theophyl., Ambrose, &c.

3. That this dust shaken off may be a witness in the day ot judgment against their unbelief and wickedness. And this is why Luke adds, for a testimony to them, i.e., against them.

By this, which is the8th precept of Christ, He tacitly bids His Apostles be of good courage, and not to be distressed, when they saw the Jews rejecting the Gospel, but as God"s avengers to rise up boldly against them.

Verily I say unto you, &c. They shall be more heavily punished and condemned who reject the Apostles than the Sodomites were, who perished in the fearful fire from heaven, by which the whole Pentapolis was consumed, for an awful example to all ages.

You will ask, how can this be true, since the sin of Sodom was a very great crime contrary to nature, and crying to heaven? The sin of Sodom is reckoned amongst the worst sins, but in the catalogue of lusts, or sins against the natural law of chastity only, for, in other respects, it is certain that there are worse sins, such as heresy, infidelity, blasphemy, sacrilege, despair, hatred of God. Those therefore who rejected the Apostles, and in so doing rejected the grace and salvation of Christ, sinned far worse than the Sodomites, and that, not by a single, but by a manifold sin, viz., 1. by the sin of infidelity, 2. of disobedience, 3. of ingratitude, 4. of inhospitality, 5. of rebellion and contumacy against God, contrary to the law of nature, and of God, and against His grace so benevolently and liberally offered to them, and confirmed by so many miracles and benefits.

This denunciation has also in a measure an application to those who despise God"s word, or vocation, or holy inspirations, against whom God thunders, in Proverbs 1:24. "Because I called, and ye refused, I also will mock at your calamity."

S. Jerome proves from this. passage that the punishments of the damned are not all equal, nor, by consequence, their faults.

Moreover Christ appositely compares those who rejected the Apostles to the Sodomites1. Because they were guilty of inhumanity and barbarity towards guests2. Because as the Sodomites were admonished by Lot and despised him, so were these admonished by Apostles whom Christ sent forth for their salvation3. As the Sodomites were punished by fire and brimstone from heaven, so will these be punished by fire and brimstone in hell, only far more severely; because if the Sodomites had heard the preaching of Christ and His Apostles, and had seen their miracles, they would have believed and repented.

Behold I send you forth as sheep, &c. S. jerome, by wolves, understands the Scribes and Pharisees: others, any enemies, or persecutors. No animal is so defenceless as a sheep. In this way Christ sends his Apostles without arms, that he may shew forth His own power in them. He does not send them as lions, but as sheep, that by means of His miraculous power they may vanquish the wolves. Listen to S. Chrys., "Let them blush, who, like wolves, persecute their adversaries, when they behold innumerable wolves overcome by a very few sheep. And assuredly, so long as we are sheep, we shall easily overcome our enemies. But when we are changed into the nature of wolves, then we are overcome, for in such a case we have no more help from our shepherd, who feeds sheep not wolves." S. Chrys. observes that Christ foretells coming evils and persecutions to His Apostles for four reasons1. That they may learn His foreknowledge2. That they may not suppose such things happen through lack of power in their master3. That they may not be suddenly overcome4. That they may not be troubled at the time of the Cross. Christ thus, as it were, animates His Apostles, "Come, 0 ye my Apostles, I am sending you to the Jews and to Infidels, who will vex you and persecute you, but think of this, that it is I who send you, I, I say, who sent Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and the rest of the prophets to Ahab, Jezebel and Manasseh, and other wicked kings. I animated, strengthened, and protected them, and when need was, I delivered them. And when at length I permitted them to be slain by them, it was that by their blood they might set a seal to My faith and religion, and win the laurel crown of martyrdom. In the same manner I now send you: and through you I am about to do the same, yea still greater things. I will be always with you, and stand by you, that in life ye may by the innocency of sheep, and in death by the meekness of sheep, conquer all men and all things."

Therefore by these words, Behold I send you, are signified the Divine authority, power, assistance, and protection of Christ whereby He defends His Apostles, as it were innocent sheep, against the wolves their enemies, that they may convert them by preaching, or else nobly vanquish them by dying. He therefore that will be Christ"s true servant, disciple, and Apostle, let him look upon himself as sent forth like a sheep in the midst of wolves. So let him be lavish of his life, as though he were doomed, and prepared to endure labours and crosses, yea death itself, for Christ"s sake. Albanus, the Captain General of the army of Charles V., had400 stout and resolute youths, who were prodigal of life, and devoted to death, called the forlorn hope. In a battle, he despatched these against the strongest part of the enemy"s ranks, that by their audacity and determination to die, they might throw those ranks into confusion, and so prepare the way for victory. Thus devoted and prodigal of his life let the Apostolic preacher of Christ deem himself, that he may subdue unbelievers to Christ the conqueror. Such a one blessed Xavier deemed himself, when he was going to the Indies, and said to his weeping friends: "Do merchants at such expense and such peril, prodigal of life, sail to India from zeal for earthly merchandise; and shall not I go thither for the sake of God and souls?"

Be ye therefore wise, &c. Wise, i.e., prudent1. "That by prudence," says S. Jerome, "ye may avoid snares, and by harmlessness or simplicity ye may do no evil. And the craft of a serpent is given as an example, because with its whole body it hides its head, to protect that wherein is its life. So too let us, by the exposure of our whole body, guard Him who is our Head—Christ; that is, let us strive to keep the faith whole and undefiled." 2. Rabanus Maurus says, that the serpent is wont craftily to choose narrow chinks, so as by passing through them, to put off his old skin. Hear Isidore of Pelusium (lib. i. epist26): "The serpent by crafty artifice puts off his old skin, by compressing himself into some narrow chink. So Christ wishes us, by means of the narrow way and affliction, to put off the old man and to put on instead the new man, which is renewed after His image." 3. Remigius says, Beautifully doth the Lord admonish preachers to have the prudence of serpents, because the first man was deceived by a serpent. It was as though He had said, Because the enemy was crafty to deceive, do ye be prudent to deliver. He commanded the Tree, do ye praise the virtue of the Cross. Hilary adds, He falsely promised immortality, saying, Ye shall be as gods; do ye promise true immortality, that they who believe shall be as angels.

4. The serpent has most clear sight. Whence the adage—the eye of a serpent. So let an Apostle behold all things with the piercing sight of his mind, that he may avoid what is evil and forward what is good.

And harmless (Vulg. simplices) as doves. Because, as Remigius says, "Simplicity without prudence is easily deceived, and wisdom is dangerous unless it be tempered with simplicity." And as S. Gregory says (lib. iv. epist31ad Mauritium), "As the astuteness of the serpent sharpens the simplicity of the dove, so does the simplicity of the dove temper the astuteness of the serpent."

For harmless the Gr. is α̉κέραιοι, which (if it be derived from α̉, privative, and κέρας, a horn) means devoid of malice or harm, innocent, innocuous. So S. Basil: or if from α̉, privative, and κερα̉ννυμι, to mingle, it is the same as unmixed, i.e., pure, sincere—those who, without prevarication, express with their mouths what they think in their hearts. Christ therefore bids them "by prudence avoid snares, by simplicity to do no evil," says S. Jerome.

S. Chrysos. says, anger is not extinguished by anger, but by meekness. It is not enough to bear evils, but we must not even be troubled, which is dove4ike.

Theoph. and Euthym. remark that doves, although they be deprived of their young ones, yet return to the same nests and masters. As though Christ said, "So also, 0 ye Apostles, do not ye remember the injuries done unto you, but meekly and lovingly return ye to those who have vexed and injured you, that ye may help and convert them. This is the ninth precept of Christ. The tenth follows.

But beware of men, &c. Councils, Gr. συνέδρια, i.e., sessions of magistrates and judges; lest by them ye be condemned as blasphemers of God, or rather of the gods. The Syriac has, They shall deliver you into the house of judgments, that is, into the prætoria. Beware of men—1, false and treacherous men, who shall bring you to councils and before judges. Such are those, who for this cause are to be guarded against by priests at this day in England, Scotland, and Japan; 2, of men, viz., insidious men, who lay snares for you by means of perplexing and political questions, that they may catch some word out of your mouth against the laws or sovereigns, that they may accuse you to them; 3, of men, i.e., persecutors, who seek to kill you. Beware, i.e., bear yourselves cautiously, as far as may be, remembering your duty, so that ye may avoid their plots and treacheries; but above all, that ye fall not by their persecutions and threats so as to deny Christ.

Moraliter, let every one learn to beware of himself, for man is a wolf to man.

And so no one need say, I have been born in an inauspicious time, I cannot be a martyr. There is no Nero now, no Decius now. Any one can be a martyr if he manfully resist lusts, fears, temptations, for the love of God. Thy cupidity is a Decius to thee, thy fear a Nero, thy temptation is a Julian. Thy companion persecutes thee—laughs at thee—calumniates thee. Fever, cold, asthma torments thee. If thou bear these patiently for the love of God, thou art a martyr of patience, like Job was. Gluttony goads thee to swill in wine and delicacies. Resist, and thou art a martyr of abstinence, like Daniel. Ambition attracts thee to raise thyself above others, to aim at high dignities. Pluck it from thy mind, and thou art a martyr of humility and modesty, like S. Francis. Does thy superior bid thee do hard things, which are repugnant to thy feelings? obey, conquering thyself, and thou art a martyr of obedience, like Abraham, when he offered up Isaac. Does lust titillate thee? Mortify it by fasting, crucify it by hair shirts, and thou wilt be a martyr of chastity, as Joseph was. Study, teach, preach, labour, go to the Indians, that thou mayest save perishing souls, and thou art a martyr of charity, like blessed Xavier.

And in the synagogues, where the law was read, and breakers of the law were scourged, ye shall be beaten: Thus Peter and the Apostles were beaten ( Acts 5:40). And S. Paul says ( 2 Corinthians 2:24), "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one."

And before governors, i.e., of provinces. So Paul was led as a captive before Felix and Festus, governors of Judea; James the Less before Ananias, the High Priest, by whom he was ordered to be slain; Peter and James the Great before Agrippa, who struck off James" head. Peter and Paul were brought to Nero, under whom they at length underwent a glorious martyrdom, Thus, too, S. Andrew was led to geus, the pro-consul of Achaia, by whom he was crucified; S. John to the Emperor Domitian, by whom he was placed in a cask of boiling oil, from which he gloriously came forth. From such things it will be seen that what Christ now says does not refer to this first sending the Apostles into Judea, for we do not read of any such things happening then, but of things which were to happen in their future life.

For my sake. He adds, says S. Chrysostom, an alleviation which was no small consolation, that they should suffer for Christ"s sake. Wherefore when the Apostles were beaten, "they went from the Council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."

For a testimony of my true faith which ye preach: for of this your martyrdom shall be an illustrious testimony. Hence, many who saw the constancy of the Apostles and Martyrs under their torments were converted to Christ. So S. Hilary.

But when they shall deliver you, &c. This is the eleventh precept of Christ, by which he forbids the Apostles being anxious about their answers to the questions of the governors, because He promises that He will Himself suggest to them what they shall be. The Gr. is μὴ μεριμνήσητε, do not be anxious and solicitous. He does not forbid their prudently premeditating an answer, but forbids an anxious and troubled care about it. By the martyr in his questionings and torments God must be assiduously invoked that He may inspire him with wisdom to answer, and courage to endure. This is what Luke says Christ promised, I will give you a mouth and wisdom which none of your adversaries shall be able to gainsay or resist. Thus it is said of S. Stephen, "They were not able to resist the wisdom and spirit with which he spake." There is a famous example of the literal fulfilment of this promise in the life of Saint Lucy of Syracuse who, when she was ordered by the governor Paschasius to sacrifice to the gods, boldly refused. The prefect said in a threatening tone, "Your words will cease when you come to be scourged." The Virgin answered, "Words can never be wanting to God"s servants when the Lord Christ has said, "When ye stand before kings and governors take no thought how or what ye shall answer, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall say, for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost which speaketh in you."" Then Paschasius asked her, "Is the Holy Spirit in thee?" She replied, "Those who live chastely and holily are the temple of the Holy Spirit." Then he said, "I will command thee to be taken to the house of shame, and then the Holy Spirit will leave thee." The Virgin answered, "If you order me to suffer violence against my will, my chastity shall receive a double crown." Then Paschasius was inflamed with rage, and commanded her to be led to the house of shame; but by the power of God it came to pass that by no force could the Virgin be removed from the place where she stood. Observe the wonderful prudence of this Virgin, who to every question answered wisely, so that the governor was put to silence. Of a truth the Holy Ghost spake in her.

Tropologically. S. Austin (lib. iv. De Doctrinâ Christiani, c15) teaches that a preacher ought to pray and study before his sermon: but for the actual time when he is speaking he ought to think that the Lord"s words are applicable to a good mind—Take no thought how or what ye shall speak, &c.

Brother shall deliver the brother to death, &c. Because they believe in Me and preach Me. Christ fortifies beforehand the Apostles and believers by predicting the persecutions which they were about to suffer from their unbelieving relations, who (forgetful of natural ties and affections) would persecute them even unto death. As Bede says, "He foretold the future trouble, in order that, being known beforehand, they might more easily bear it." "For the darts which are seen coming are less likely to strike," says S. Hilary. As examples of the fulfilment of these words, S. Barbara was killed by her own father for the faith of Christ. So, too, was S. Christina. S. Lucia was accused by her own son Eupr

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Bibliographical Information
Lapide, Cornelius. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide. 1890.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Shall we turn now in our bibles to the tenth chapter of the gospel of Matthew?

In the beginning of the tenth chapter we find Christ sending His disciples out, telling them to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But in the fact that He is sending them to go, in the first part of chapter ten, makes the last verse of chapter nine quite significant. For in the last verse of chapter nine, Jesus said to His disciples: "Pray ye therefore the Lord of harvest, that he will send forth labourers into His harvest" ( Matthew 9:38 ). And having told them to pray that the Lord will send workers into the harvest, the next thing He says is, "Go."

So many times as we pray, the Lord speaks to our own hearts. So many times we see a need and we think, oh what a need. The church really should be trying to fulfill that need, and we become all concerned with the need. And the Lord says, "Pray about it." And as we pray about it, suddenly we realize that God has called us. He has shown us the need, because He wants us to plug ourselves into the filling of that particular need. Many times the very fact that God has made you conscious and aware of that particular thing, is the beginning of the call of God upon your own life for that particular field of service.

So the Lord says pray, "Because harvest is plenteous, the labourers are few; pray that the Lord of harvest, will send forth labourers into his harvest" ( Matthew 9:37-38 ). Then in the very next section, the Lord says, "Now you go out into this harvest." And so praying so often prepares us for going. It is while I am praying that the Spirit of God can really get a hold of my heart.

As I"ve said, I do believe that prayer changes things, mainly me. I don"t think that prayer changes God. I wouldn"t really want prayer to change God. I think it would be extremely dangerous if prayer could change God. I think that God knows best in every situation. And I would not want to convince God, if I could, I can"t, but if I could, I would not want to convince Him to see things my way. I would rather that through prayer the Spirit of God be able to get hold of my own heart and mold me, and shape me, into that which God has purposed, in that which God has designed. So often as I say, "Oh Lord, send forth workers into the harvest." Then I hear the call of God, "Who will go?" And I answer, "Oh Lord, here am I, send me."

And so Jesus said, "Pray the Lord of harvest," and then He says now you go.

And when he had called unto him the 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 ( Matthew 10:1 ).

Jesus is first of all empowering His disciples for that work before He sends them out to do the work, empowering them against unclean spirits, giving them the power to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease.

Now the names of the twelve apostles, and here they are first called apostles, because of the fact that He is sending them out. The word "apostle" means "one who is sent". Up to this point they have been disciples, they"ve been learning of Him. They have been following Him and learning as He taught, but now the time has come for them to go out. They are now being sent by Him, and thus the change from disciple, a follower, to an apostle, one who has been sent.

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 [or tax collector]; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him ( Matthew 10:2-4 ).

"Simon the Canaanite", that word translated Canaanite is actually Canaanin. We are told in Luke"s gospel that he was Simon the Zelotes ( Luke 6:15 ).

Now Josephus tells us that the Zelotes were the extreme patriots. These were men who valued freedom above life itself. These were men who were willing to sacrifice their own lives, or even see their own families martyred, in order that they might be free. They preferred freedom to life. They were willing to do whatever is necessary to obtain freedom. They were the ones who rebelled constantly against the Roman government. Simon the Zelotes.

Matthew, a publican, was considered a quisling by the Jews. He was one that had more or less sold out to the enemy, because he was collecting taxes, for the hated Roman government.

Now had Simon and Matthew met under any other circumstances, Simon would have done Matthew in. I mean here you"ve got a Zelote, one who hates the Roman yoke, one who is willing to fight to overthrow it, and you have another one who was almost in league with Rome, a turncoat so to speak. It"s interesting though how that Christ takes people from many different backgrounds, even adverse backgrounds, and brings us together in a loving fellowship.

Now it is also interesting to me, that as the Lord names these apostles, there aren"t really any great marvelous people among them as far as the world is concerned. None of them are highly educated. None of them are prominent or wealthy. In fact, they are just common ordinary people. Four of them were fishermen, and one was a tax collector. We are not really given much of a background on the others, but they were just plain common people. That always interests me, because these men that God is preparing to send out to do His work, are just plain, common people like you. And when God has a work to be done, He doesn"t really go to the universities to select those with the highest grades, and IQ"s and all, but God chooses and calls just plain ordinary people like you.

It is wrong for any of us to excuse ourselves from serving the Lord, because of the fact that we are just so ordinary, because that is the kind of person God seeks to use for His glory. If God used the highly talented, highly developed kind of an individual, then we would all be saying, oh, but don"t you know he"s got his doctorate. Don"t you know he was so brilliant? Don"t you know he-- and we would be putting the emphasis upon the ability of the instrument, rather than upon the One who has used the instrument. We would have a tendency then to glory in man, or man"s educational processes.

So the Lord has chosen the simple things to confound the wise, and the foolish things to put to naught the wisdom of this world. And God uses just plain common ordinary people like Raul Ries, Greg Laurie, Mike Macintosh, and Chuck Smith to do His work, just the plain ordinary people to do His work.

I love to hear Raul on the radio. I have to sacrifice listening to myself, because I am on KYMS at that hour. I heard Raul this week as he was describing his condition when he was in the Marine Corp. He had been such a vicious killer, and had killed so many people, that he was brought back and put in the hospital in Vallejo for the mentally deficient. And he said, "The psychiatrist said, "Man, I was far and above beyond gone."" That"s a typical Raul-ism. He is ordinary, and yet anointed by the Spirit of God and used by God to do His work.

So not many wise, not many great, not many notable of the world, but just those plain ordinary people who He sent out as apostles to represent Him.

These twelve Jesus sent foRuth ( Matthew 10:5 )

That is what made them apostles.

And commanded them saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, or into any city of the Samaritans do not enter. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel ( Matthew 10:5-6 ).

So by telling them not to go into the way of the Gentiles, He was restricting their area of ministry. They were not to go south into Samaria. They were not to go west over to Tyre and Sidon. They were not to go as far north as Damascus, but they were to go only around the region of the Galilee; not even to the cities of the Decapolis, but only to those Jewish communities around the Galilee. So in the first sending out of the disciples, it was a very restricted area that He gave them to work in. They were to be forerunners of His coming; for He was going to follow up and to go into each of these villages. And they were more or less the forerunners of His own coming to these villages. So they were sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Paul the apostle said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: it is the power of God unto salvation to those that believe; to the Jew first" ( Romans 1:16 ).

Jesus came to the Jew first. And as He was sending them forth now, it was very limited, only to the Jews, not to be going to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans. However, He Himself later was to reveal Himself to that Samaritan woman. He was to heal the daughter of the Syrophoenician, and finally He was to tell His disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" ( Mark 16:15 ). But it was important in God"s plan that the Gospel come first to the Jew.

And so there was first of all that restricted ministry of the disciples when He was first sending them forth. It was not to the world at this time; it was just among the Jews, not even into the Samaritans, but only to the Jews at this point.

Later, He said, "When the Holy Spirit comes upon you: you will be witnesses unto me not only in Judea, but also in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth" ( Acts 1:8 ). But now restricted to the Galilee region, only to those Jewish communities: the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Notice it doesn"t say, "The ten lost tribes of the house of Israel." Ten lost tribes is not a Biblical term. There are not ten lost tribes. God knows exactly where they are and who they are. He has never lost them. And when the time comes, He is going to seal12,000 from each of the tribes to be preserved during the great tribulation period.

I discount the attempt to make a Jew out of me, because of my English heritage. The business of Denmark being of the tribe of Dan, or Danmark, so they are called the Dan-ish people. The word "ish" in Hebrew is "man", so Dan"s man or Dan-ish, Brit-ish, Engl-ish, fool-ish. Just because it has an "ish" on the end, doesn"t make it Jewish.

Now as Jesus sent them forth, He said,

Go, and preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand ( Matthew 10:7 ).

What is the "kingdom of heaven," this glorious phrase? Well, we"ll be getting parables about the kingdom in our next study as we get into Matthew thirteen and fourteen, these parables of the kingdom. What is the kingdom of heaven? Jesus said when you pray, say, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven" ( Matthew 6:10 ). What are we praying for when we pray for the kingdom of heaven? Now Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is among you, rather than in you. But in reality God"s kingdom has come to every man who has acknowledged Jesus Christ as his Lord and King. And if you tonight have acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus Christ, if He is the King of your life, you are already a citizen of the kingdom: the kingdom of heaven has come to you. And as a citizen of the kingdom, there are many tremendous benefits for the citizens of that kingdom.

As a citizen of the United States I have many benefits. Even when I travel in a foreign country there are certain protections that I have as a citizen of the United States. Should I get into trouble there are always those embassies to which I can turn who are there to help the citizens of the United States out of whatever difficulty they might find themselves in. And those within the embassies in these foreign countries will seek to help those citizens of the United States, that"s just one of the benefits of citizenship. Just because I am a citizen, they"ll go to bat for me, and they"ll speak up for me, and they will pull strings for me, because I am a citizen of the United States. And the United States has an obligation to guarantee its citizens certain rights, certain privileges. So I enjoy being a citizen of the United States, because of those rights and privileges that I have as a citizen.

But I am also a citizen of a kingdom, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven. And I tell you, the rights and the privileges that I have as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven far exceed the rights and the privileges that I have as a citizen of the United States. Wherever I go, I have protection. I have authority, the authority of the kingdom of heaven behind me.

Jesus is saying, "Now you go out and preach saying, herald it, the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And they were to demonstrate the aspects of the kingdom of heaven by

Healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, and raising the dead, and casting out the devils ( Matthew 10:8 ).

We read in the prophesy of Isaiah thirty-five, some of the aspects of that kingdom age; where the lame will leap for joy, the dumb will sing praises unto God, the blind will behold the glory of the Lord, and the gospel will be preached unto the meek, to the poor. So Jesus is telling them to demonstrate the aspects of the kingdom by setting men free from the kingdom of darkness.

I love the commission that the Lord gave to Paul the apostle when He called him on the Damascus road. When Paul was talking to king Agrippa and relating to Agrippa that calling of God on the Damascus road, Paul said that the Lord spoke to him to go to the Gentiles, "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" ( Acts 26:18 ). So Paul"s commission as he went to the Gentiles was to deliver them from the power of Satan unto God, from the power of darkness to light.

As a citizen of God"s kingdom, I"ve been delivered from the power of darkness, and I am to bring deliverance to those to whom I come, to those who will heed the message and receive Jesus Christ as King. That is the effect: they are delivered from the power of darkness and brought into the light, from the power of Satan and made a part of the kingdom of God. There are people today who are living in the kingdom of darkness.

There are two basic kingdoms in the Universe. In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth there was only one kingdom in the Universe, the kingdom of God: the kingdom of light and life. But God in His kingdom created these beings we call, "angels", and He endowed them with the capacity of choice. And one of the choicest of the angels, the anointed cherub that covered, perfect in beauty, perfect in wisdom, was lifted up by pride and decided to exalt himself and be as God; the first Mormon. And the inspiration behind the Mormons today is to be as God.

What was it Shakespeare has this statement in one of his plays, "Oh Cromwell, flee ambition for by this sin the angels fell." What was the temptation that Satan offered to Eve in the garden? "Eat of it because you will be as God, knowing good from evil" ( Genesis 3:5 ). That bait still works. And there are those who are attempting to be as God still. Tragic.

Now in his rebellion against God, in his pride being lifted up to be as God, he formed a second kingdom in the universe, a kingdom that was an antithesis to the first kingdom, a kingdom that was in rebellion to the first kingdom: The kingdom of death and darkness. So now in the universe there are two opposing kingdoms: the kingdom of God, the kingdom of light and life, ruled by God; but now a sub-kingdom in antagonism to the first, rebelling against the first, the kingdom of death and darkness.

Now when God created man, and placed him here upon the planet earth, He placed man here in the kingdom of God. Adam had fellowship with God. God came down and He communed with Adam there in the garden. There was this beautiful fellowship with man and God in the kingdom of light and life.

But Satan, the ruler of the kingdom of death and darkness, came to Eve and said, Did God say you could eat of all the trees? Yes, all but the one in the middle. He told us if we ate of that tree we would die. Satan said, Oh you really won"t die. That"s the finest tree in the garden. God isn"t really being fair to you, Eve. He is trying to hold back something good. You see that tree holds the key to knowledge. And God doesn"t want you to eat that tree because He knows that when you eat of it, you"ll be wise as He is, knowing good from evil. He is trying to hold that back. You really ought to try it. How do you know unless you"ve tried it? ( Genesis 3:1-5 ).

And so Eve being deceived ate of it and her eyes were opened. And she gave to her husband Adam and he did eat. But in that act of disobedience to God, which was a double act, because it was an act of obedience to Satan, they left the kingdom of light and life, and they were drawn into the kingdom of death and darkness. They drew all mankind into the kingdom of death and darkness, because they could not pass on something they did not have. They had lost that place in the kingdom of God, the kingdom of light and life. "And so by one man, sin entered the world, and death by sin; for death passed upon all men, for all sinned" ( Romans 5:12 ).

So each of us born of Adam were born in sin and shapen in iniquity, born sinners by nature, and we were all by nature children of wrath, even as others; born into the kingdom of death and darkness.

But there is another tree. The tree of life is still available. It is through Jesus Christ. And if you choose to come into the kingdom of light and life, you can come by the cross of Jesus Christ, using that same exercise of free choice that Adam used in leaving the kingdom of God. You can use that to come back, come back into the kingdom of God, since Jesus Christ made provision.

So the duty of the apostles was to preach the kingdom. It"s possible for a man to now again have fellowship with God. You can come out of the kingdom of darkness. You can come into the kingdom of light. You can have deliverance from the power of Satan, and you can know fellowship with God. And that"s the glorious Gospel that we herald today. That"s the glorious Gospel we still preach. It is possible for that man who has been bound in the kingdom of darkness and death, that man that has been alienated by God because of his life after the flesh, it is possible for him to know the power of God"s Spirit in his life. He can come from that kingdom of darkness into the glorious light and liberty of the sons of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, through the tree, the cross. And so a lot of people blame Adam today for their problems and they feel that it is quite unfair that they have to suffer for Adam"s mistake.

I was hiking a group of kids from the High Y camp there in Arizona, coming down the backside of Mt. Lemon from an old mine. And as I was leading them down this trail I heard this yell back in the line, and so I went back to see what this horrible scream was about. This one little guy had brushed to close to an Ajoja cactus. Now the Ajoja is called the jumping cactus, and if you just barely touch it, it will break off and just clamp on to you. He had one that really clamped on to him good. He was really yelling. So I got back there and I took a couple of sticks, and I carefully worked the sticks in between the thorns and then I flipped that Ajoja cactus off of him. And as he was shaking his hand and all, he said, "That darn guy, Adam." Where do you go to Sunday school? He said, "I go to the First Baptist Church." I said, "Well, they"re teaching you correct doctrine anyhow." You know that the thorns and the thistles resulted from the curse. "Cursed is the ground... thorns shall it bring forth" ( Genesis 3:17-18 ).

So many times we"re looking at the miseries that we"re facing and we say, that darn guy, Adam, got us into this mess. He made such a horrible choice. When he had the choice of the tree of life, or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, why couldn"t he have chosen the tree of life, why would he eat of the other tree first? That tree of life in the midst of the garden, why didn"t he eat of it? How foolish. And we"re prone to really come down on Adam for the foolish choice. But in reality, there are still two trees today and you have the choice. You can choose to eat of the tree of life today, for God has given to you that choice by believing and receiving in Jesus Christ you can have eternal life. Or, you can choose to disobey God, to rebel, to eat of the fruit of the world and abide in death. So you really can"t blame Adam for your condition. You can only blame yourself, because you, many, are following Adam"s folly not choosing to eat of the tree of life that God has made available to all men through Jesus Christ.

Now Jesus said to His disciples,

Freely you have received, freely give ( Matthew 10:8 ).

I wonder how that fits with these modern evangelists today.

I have got on my desk a letter, I wish I had it here right now before me. It"s classic. We have these Jewish friends in Israel that we"ve been seeking to share the truths of Jesus Christ with, but it"s a difficult task sharing with them, because he is a guide and he guides a lot of Christian tours. As a guide he sees a lot of the inner workings and the background, and a lot of the rip-offs. When I go over he will start telling me about these rip-offs that he sees where these tour guides get the people over there, the famous evangelists and all, and then they really rip the people off.

He will tell me of these things, and then somehow he has gotten on the mailing list of some of these evangelists, and he gets these computerized letters. "Dear brother," and all of this junk. Have you been bothered with an ear problem lately, or maybe its the eyes or nose, or a knee, or hepatitis? I mean the guy goes down a long list, and you"re bound to hit something. Somehow I"ve been impressed to pray for you lately, and I think there might be something wrong. Why don"t you write me and share with me. Now please don"t send me any money for my birthday, but I"ve been laboring for the Lord three hundred and forty-one nights a year and I am really tired and I am gonna take a vacation and we could use a little extra money. Our organ blew up -- and all of this kind of stuff. Here this guy is getting these computerized letters, and he is smart enough to see through them, and to him the ministry is a sham. He sees the rip-offs.

Jesus said to His disciples, "Freely you have received, freely give." They weren"t to demand fees for their services. They weren"t to be taken offerings for themselves. They had received freely from God, and they were to give freely.

Now the Lord said,

Don"t provide gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses ( Matthew 10:9 )

Don"t take any coins in your purses,

Nor script for your journey, Don"t even take two coats, nor an extra pair of shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat ( Matthew 10:9-10 ).

Now you can go and it"s proper that the people support you. You don"t have to take a lot of money with you. It"s proper that the people support you. The workman is worthy of his hire. However, you"re not to go in and make yourself a burden, or lay yourself upon people.

And into whatsoever city or town you shall enter, inquire who is worthy; and stay there until you leave. And when you come into a house, greet it. And if the house worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you ( Matthew 10:11-13 ).

Now in those days they really thought quite a bit about giving a person a blessing. If they would greet you, they would often greet you with a blessing of the Lord. "The blessings of the Lord be upon you and your seed." "Thank you." But then if they get down the road and think, oh, he wasn"t worthy. That was a Gentile or something, and he comes back, and he says, "I take that blessing back." They felt that they had to remove the blessings that they gave if the person was undeserving or unworthy. So Jesus is pretty much saying if thy house is worthy let your peace abide, if it"s not, take your peace with you.

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, just shake off the dust off your feet. 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. Behold, I"m sending you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore as wise as serpents, and harmless as doves ( Matthew 10:14-16 ).

Now someone said, well, serpents aren"t really noted to be very wise. They"re not considered to be a wise kind of a creature. And I heard a professor in biology making fun of the knowledge of Christ by pointing out to the class that serpents really weren"t wise, and so for the Lord to say, "be as wise as serpents," was a rather stupid thing, and showed that He had really very little knowledge of biology. One of the students spoke up in class and said, "How long do you think you would survive without any arms or legs, and you had to take care of yourself out in the dessert? So you have to give him some credit, at least they survive. That"s more then we could do." The servant of the Lord, harmless as doves.

But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to their councils, they will scourge you in their synagogues [that is they will beat you]; You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not take forethought how or what you are going to say: for it will be given you in that same hour what you shall speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you ( Matthew 10:17-20 ).

So you don"t have to make up for the whole speeches in advance, just let the Lord anoint you by His Spirit.

And the brother shall deliver up 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 ( Matthew 10:21-22 ).

So here we have that basis for the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, which is oftentimes used as a contrast to those who would go to antianimism, to the extremes of the security of the believer. And there are those who press this side of the coin, "he that endures to the end," and the perseverance of the saints. Truth lies somewhere in the middle.

But when they persecute you in this city, flee to another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come ( Matthew 10:23 ).

Now Jesus is referring to His journey that He is going to be taken among these cities. And so if they persecute you in one city, just go to the next. You are not actually going through all of these cities before I"ll be right behind you. I"ll be coming behind you, and I"ll be ministering in these cities. He is not really referring to His Second Coming at all, but just to His ministry in these cities of the Galilee.

Now Jesus said,

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 ( Matthew 10:24-25 ).

That"s enough. You bet it is, that"s great, if we could only be as our Lord. And He said, "Your not greater than the Lord." It"s just enough that you be as the Lord. God help us to be as the Lord.

If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub [or the lord of flies], how much more shall they call them of his household? ( Matthew 10:25 ).

They called me names, they are gonna call you names.

Don"t fear them: 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 in light: and what you hear [in sort of whispered] in the ear, that preach from the housetops ( Matthew 10:26-27 ).

Now I"ve been teaching you, I"ve been training you, I"ve been telling you in these little intercessions that we have, now you go out and proclaim these truths openly. That, which you"ve heard in these little sessions that we"ve had, go out and proclaim them.

And don"t fear 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 ( Matthew 10:28 ).

So He"s not saying to fear Satan. Satan has no capacity of destroying your soul in hell. He is saying, fear God, don"t fear man. The worst thing man can do is kill you. So why should you fear man, "To be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord" ( 2 Corinthians 5:8 ). You should fear the one who is able to take both body and soul and cast it into hell, that"s the one you really should be fearing.

Are not two sparrows sold for half of a cent? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father taking note ( Matthew 10:29 ).

Again, "your Father," and again, "your Father oversees His creation," and one of the common things of God"s creation are the little sparrows. They are so common as to be almost worthless. You could buy four of them for a penny in those days. Two Sparrows sold for a half a farthing, and yet not a little sparrow falls, but what your Father doesn"t know it, doesn"t make note of it. How detailed is God"s knowledge of you?

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

Now just look at all of us here tonight. Some make it easy on the Lord, but isn"t it interesting the trivia that God knows about us. He knows more about us than we know about ourselves. God knows even trivia about you. That"s how concerned your Father is with you. Oh, if we would only be aware of the tremendous concern that our Father has with us, His children.

For Jesus said, You are worth more than many sparrows ( Matthew 10:31 ).

If God takes note of the sparrows, and He"s been saying, don"t worry about if they kill you. There is not even a sparrow that falls to the ground, but what your Father knows it, if you fall to the ground in the proclaiming of the gospel, if you be killed in your endeavor to reach others with the glorious love of Christ, how much more will your Father take note. You really have nothing to fear, not man, the worst he can do is kill you.

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 ( Matthew 10:32-33 ).

This is a heavy, heavy verse, because we must all stand before God one day, stand before the creator of the universe.

Now if I have confessed Jesus Christ before men, when my name is called and I have to stand before God, Jesus will step forth and confess me before the Father. "Father, this is Chuck. He is perfect." Isn"t that what Jude said, "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless" ( Jude 1:24 ). Why should you laugh when I say, He says, "I am perfect?" Because you know the truth. I know the truth, but I also know the power of my Redeemer. When He confesses me before the Father, and when He presents me before the Father, I will be complete in Him, "Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" ( Jude 1:24 ).

But if a person has denied Jesus before men, you"re going to stand all alone before God, the books will be opened, and He who knows all things, He who knows the secrets of the heart. The bible says, "Every thing are naked and opened before him with whom we have to do" ( Hebrews 4:13 ). And there in the embarrassment of your own bare being, and everything exposed, and you might turn fervently to Jesus Christ, and say, "Lord, Lord," and He shakes His head, "I never knew you." Ah, what a heavy thing. "If you deny me before men, I also will deny you before my Father."

Don"t think that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword ( Matthew 10:34 ).

The gospel of Jesus Christ unifies men, it brings together a tax collector and a Zelote, but the gospel of Jesus Christ also divides men. It divides men into two categories: those who are apart of the kingdom of God, and those who are apart of the kingdom of darkness. But Jesus divides men as well as unifies men and many times Jesus divides those within a household. A child comes into the kingdom of light, but the father continues to rebel in the kingdom of darkness, and so division comes, and a difference comes. This contention oftentimes arises over the differences of being in the kingdom of light, and the kingdom of darkness.

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 will often be those of his own household ( Matthew 10:35-36 ).

Jesus was speaking out of personal experience, for at this particular time His brothers were against Him.

He that loves his father or mother more than he loves me is not worthy of me: and he who loves the son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me ( Matthew 10:37 ).

Our love for Christ has to be supreme, even above those of our family members, if they are not united with us in the faith. If they are not a part of that kingdom of light, our love for Christ must exceed even our love for those in our own family.

And he that does take not his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me ( Matthew 10:38 ).

When we get to chapter sixteen, we will take up the cross and what it means.

He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake, shall find it ( Matthew 10:39 ).

That we"ll also take up in chapter sixteen.

He that receives you ( Matthew 10:40 ).

Now you see the authority that Jesus gives to His disciples. I mean you are there representing the Lord, you should be as your Lord.

Those that receive you receives me, and he that receives me receives the Father that sent me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet"s reward; and he that receives 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 even 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 ( Matthew 10:40-42 ).

So you"re doing it as unto the Lord, giving as unto the Lord. Giving unto a servant of the Lord, you receive him as you receive the Lord, and as you give to him, it is, as giving unto the Lord and you will receive your reward for it. The giving of a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, "verily I say unto you, you shall in no wise lose your reward."


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Mission of the Twelve

1. Mission of the Twelve (Mark 6:7; Luke 9:1). This mission was intended partly to prepare the way for visits from Jesus Himself, and partly to train the apostles for their future ministry. He sent them out 'two and two' (Mk), for the sake of mutual encouragement. That is the true method of undertaking missionary work, as the experience of St. Paul shows. The apostles were to preach a little, but not much, since they were beginners. They were to prepare the way for Jesus, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' All accounts agree that they were to work miracles on a great scale ('power over all the devils,' Lk; 'to heal every disease, and every infirmity,' Mt). They healed by anointing with oil (Mk): cp. James 5:14. Their power extended even to cleansing the lepers and raising the dead (Mt). This mission began about five weeks before the second Passover of the ministry (John 6:4), and lasted about a month. Having dismissed the apostles, Jesus went up to Jerusalem to keep the feast of John 5:1, probably Purim, at the beginning of March. He then rejoined the Twelve shortly before Passover: see on John 6:1.

2-4. The names of the Twelve (Mark 3:13; Luke 6:12; Acts 1:13). At an early period in His Galilean ministry, Jesus selected Twelve from among the disciples already called (Mk, Lk), after spending a night in prayer in 'the mountain' (Lk), as befitted so solemn and important an act. The 'Sermon on the Mount' constituted their ordination address (Lk). St. Matthew assumes these facts to be known, and introduces the Twelve abruptly, Now the names of the twelve apostles are these, without mentioning how they were called together. The chief significance of the appointment of the Twelve is that it indicates the design of Jesus to provide His society with an ordained ministry, and to give it a thoroughly efficient organisation to cope with its world-wide mission. The number twelve was suggested by the number of the Jewish patriarchs. The apostles were to be the patriarchs or spiritual ancestors of the new Israel.

The names of the apostles are always given in three groups of four names, of which the leaders (Peter, Philip, James of Alphseus) are mentioned first in all the lists. The names are always kept in their own groups, but vary in order, except that the leader is always placed first.

2. Apostles] An 'apostle' (lit. 'one sent') is more than a messenger; he is a messenger who represents the person who sends him, an 'ambassador' (2 Corinthians 5:20). The name is here introduced because this mission was the first occasion on which the Twelve began to act as apostles or ambassadors of Jesus. The name, though specially applied to the Twelve, was extended to embrace St. Paul, St. Barnabas, and other apostolic men (Acts 14:4, Acts 14:14, etc.).

Apostle is used without technical meaning John 13:16;(RM) 2 Corinthians 8:23;(RM). The Jews had 'apostles' who were sent abroad from Jerusalem to collect the Temple-money. The Greek Church calls missionaries 'apostles,' and the Nestorian Christians apply the same term to the delegates of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Simon, who is called Peter] in Aramaic Kephas (a 'rock' or 'stone'). He received the name at his first call (John 1:43). The career of Peter can be constructed from these references: Matthew 4:18; Matthew 8:14; Matthew 14:28; Matthew 15:15; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 16:22; Matthew 17:1; Matthew 17:24; Matthew 18:21; Matthew 19:27; Matthew 26:33, Matthew 26:37, Matthew 26:58, Matthew 26:69; Luke 8:45, Luke 8:51; Luke 22:8, Luke 22:61; Luke 24:12; John 1:43; John 6:68; John 13:6, John 13:24, John 13:36; John 18:10, John 18:16; John 20:2; John 21:2.; Acts 1:13, Acts 1:15; Acts 2:14; Acts 3:1; Acts 4:8; Acts 5:3, Acts 5:5, Acts 5:29; Acts 8:14; Acts 9:32; Acts 10:5; Acts 11:2; Acts 12:3; Acts 15:7; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Corinthians 15:5; Galatians 1:18; Galatians 2:7; 1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; He had Mark for his 'interpreter' (1 Peter 5:13).

The tradition of his Roman residence and martyrdom, though highly probable, is not quite certain. He is first in all lists of the apostles. For his position in the Church, see on Matthew 16:18.

Andrew] Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:19; Mark 13:3; John 1:41; John 6:8; John 12:22.

James the son of Zebedee] sometimes called 'thegreat': Mark 1:19; Mark 3:17; Mark 10:37; Luke 5:1; Luke 9:53; Acts 12:1. The first apostle to be martyred.

John] Matthew 4:21; Matthew 17:1; Mark 1:29; Mark 9:38; · Mark 10:35; Mark 13:3; Mark 14:33; Luke 22:8; John 1:35; John 13:23; John 18:15; John 19:26, John 19:35; John 20:2; John 21:7; Acts 1:13; Acts 3:1; Acts 4:13; Acts 8:14; Galatians 2:9; Revelation 1:1. See Intro, to St. John.

3. Philip] John 1:44; John 6:5; John 12:21; John 14:8.

Bartholomew] i.e. Nathanael of Cana of Galilee: see John 1:45; John 21:2.

Thomas] see John 11:16; John 14:5; John 20:24; John 21:2. There is a tradition that his real name was 'Judas.'

Matthew the publican] see Intro, and on Matthew 9:9. St. Mark calls him 'Levi.'

James the son of Alphæus] lit. 'James of Alphaeus.' Called James 'the less,' or rather 'the little,' Mark 15:40. His mother was named Mary. He is not to be identified with James the Lord's 'brother,' who became head of the Church of Jerusalem, nor is his father Alphæus with Clopas (John 19:25), nor His mother Mary with the Virgin's sister (John 19:25): see further on Matthew 12:46-50; John 19:25.

Lebbæus, whose surname was Thaddæus] He is the same as the 'Judas of James' (Luke 6:16), and the 'Judas not Iscariot' (John 14:22). Thaddæus is perhaps a form of 'Theudas,' and is, therefore, Greek. Lebbæus is Aramaic, but its meaning is unknown. Some regard it is a form of 'Levi.' Although Westcott and Hort reject Lebbæs from the text of this passage, it is supported by excellent authorities, and it is hard to account for its insertion, if it is not genuine.

4. Simon the Canaanite] RV 'the Cananæan,' RM 'the zealot.' 'The Zealots were a sect founded by Judas of Gamala (or of Galilee, Acts 5:37), who headed the opposition to the census of Quirinius 6 or 7 a.d. They bitterly resented the domination of Rome, and would fain have hastened with the sword the fulfilment of the Messianic hope. During the great rebellion and the siege of Jerusalem their fanaticism made them terrible opponents, not only to the Romans, but to other factions among their own countrymen' (HDB.).

Judas Iscariot] Both Judas and his father Simon were called Iscariot, lit. 'man of Kerioth,' because they were natives of Kerioth, a village of S. Judah, near Hebron (John 15:25). He was the only Judæan apostle: see Matthew 26:14, Matthew 26:25, Matthew 26:47; Matthew 27:3; Luke 22:3; John 6:71; John 12:4; John 13:2, John 13:26, John 13:29; John 18:2; Acts 1:16, Acts 1:25.

5-42. Charge to the Twelve (Mark 6:7 Luke 9:1 : cp. also Luke 10:2, charge to the Seventy). The first eleven vv. of this great charge (Matthew 10:5-15) represent Christ's words actually spoken to the Twelve on the occasion of this mission. The rest of the charge (Matthew 10:16-42), with the exception of the last three vv., represents instructions given by Christ at other times to His apostles with reference to their missionary work after His ascension. St. Matthew adds them to the charge in accordance with his custom of grouping our Lord's sayings of a similar character together. Specially to be noticed are, (1) the limitation of the mission to Israel, and (2) the extraordinary authority over the whole human race which Christ claims for Himself throughout the charge.

The charge to the Seventy (Luke 10:2) is almost the same as the charge to the Twelve. Our Lord probably repeated to the Seventy much of what He bad said to the Twelve, because their missions were so similar.

5-15. The charge delivered on the occasion of the mission.

5. Way of the Gentiles] i.e. a road which leads to a Gentile district or city. The restriction to the Jews was part of the divine purpose that the gospel should be offered to the Jew first, and afterwards to the Gentile. It was also a condescension to the inexperience of the apostles, who would find their work easier among Jews than among hostile Samaritans or contemptuous Greeks. Only when their training was complete could they hope to face a hostile world with success. On account of the ease of their mission, and their certainty of a warm welcome, they were to take no money or food, or any staff to defend themselves with (Matthew 10:9-10). Yet if they were accustomed to use a staff they might take one (Mk). Afterwards, when Christ spoke of their future mission to an unbelieving and a hostile world, He said exactly the opposite (Luke 22:36).

7. They were also to preach 'that men should repent '(Mk).

8. Raise the dead] to be taken literally. The clause is accepted by all recent editors. It is omitted by a few MSS, perhaps because there is no mention of raising the dead on this occasion. For the fulfilment see Acts 9:40; Acts 20:10. Freely ye have received the gift of working miracles, freely exercise it.

9. Purses] i.e. 'girdles,' in which money was carried.

10. Scrip] RV 'wallet,' i.e. provisionbasket. Two coats] i.e. two shirts or undergarments. Shoes] were forbidden as too luxurious. The apostles were to wear only sandals. 'Shoes,' said Lightfoot, 'were of more delicate use. A shoe was of softer leather, a sandal of harder.' The workman is worthy of his meat] or, 'of his hire '(Lk). Our Lord lays great stress on the principle that the clergy are to be supported by the Church, and not to be obliged to work at a secular calling: see 1 Corinthians 9:14; 1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Timothy 5:18.

11. Worthy] of the honour of receiving you.

12. Salute it] i.e. by saying 'Peace be to this house.'

13. If the house be worthy] or, as St. Luke expresses it, 'if the owner be a son of peace,' i.e. a peaceful man, worthy of the blessing.

14. Shake off the dust] The rabbis taught that the dust of heathen lands defiled. They said, 'The dust of Syria defiles, as well as the dust of other heathen countries.' The act of the apostles, therefore, signified that the city that rejected them was no better than heathen: see on Acts 13:51.

15. Why was the sin of Sodom less? Because the men of Sodom sinned largely in ignorance, but rejecters of the gospel sin against light.

16-39. Later charges of Jesus, referring to work after the Ascension. Matthew 10:16-22 were probably spoken in Holy Week: see Mark 13:9; Luke 21:12.

16. As sheep (Lk 'lambs') in the midst of wolves] This can only refer to the later persecutions of the apostles. According to a very early writer, Peter proceeded to ask, 'What, then, if the wolves rend the sheep?' Jesus replied that after death the lambs need not fear the wolves, for the wolves have no power to slay the soul. Wise as serpents, and harmless as doves] cp. a saying of the rabbis, 'The holy and blessed God said to the Israelites, Towards Me the Israelites are uncorrupt like the doves, but towards the Gentiles they are as cunning as serpents.' Jesus meant that the apostles were to use every human device to protect themselves from persecution, as St. Paul did when he pleaded his Roman citizenship.

17. But beware of men] better, 'beware of the men,' viz. those wolves of whom I have been speaking. Councils] i.e. courts of justice generally. Scourge you in their synagogues] A synagogue was also a court of justice in which three Jewish elders sat to judge both secular and religious cases. 'Scourging,' said the rabbis, 'was by the bench of three': cp. Acts 22:19; Acts 26:11; 2 Corinthians 11:24. Wetstein quotes an interesting account of a modern Jewish scourging. It was done publicly in the synagogue in the presence of a large congregation of men and women. The man was bared to the waist. The porter tied his hands to a pillar. Then the 'precentor' approached, and scourged him with thirty-nine strokes, a Psalm being sung during the ordeal.

18. Before governors and kings] 'Governors' were the Roman governors of the provinces, viz. proprætors, proconsuls, and procurators: cp. Paul before Felix and Pestus (Acts 24:1; Acts 25:6). 'Kings' were, (1) the emperor, who was generally so called in the East; (2) subject kings, tetrarchs, and ethnarchs, such as the Herods and Aretas; (3) independent kings, as of the Parthians, Arabians, and Indians.

For a testimony against them] RV 'to them,' i.e. to the Jews. The meaning is, that when the Jews should deliver up the apostles to governors and kings, the speeches of the apostles in their own defence would be a powerful testimony of the truth of Christianity both to Jews and Gentiles. This really happened. The persecutions greatly contributed to spread the gospel, partly by the publicity which they gave to it, and partly through the inspired testimony which the martyrs gave to Christ. When the aged Polycarp (160 a.d.) was brought before the Proconsul in the amphitheatre of Smyrna and urged to revile Christ, 'he looked with a grave face at all the multitude of lawless heathen in the arena.. and said, Eighty and six years have I served Him, and in nothing hath He wronged me; and how then can I blaspheme my King that saved me?'

19, 20. Cp. Luke 12:11-12 in addition.

19. Take no thought] RV 'be not anxious.'

It shall be given you] cp. the courage of Peter and John (Acts 4:13) before the Sanhedrin.

21. The brother shall deliver up, etc.] Actual examples of Christians being delivered up by their nearest relatives are found in the Martyrologies, but the saying is to be taken more generally to refer to the rupture of all ties of kindred and affection on account of the gospel.

22. Hated of all men] cp. Tacitus the Roman historian: '(Nero) inflicted the most cruel punishments upon a sect of people who were holden in abhorrence for their crimes, and called by the vulgar “Christians.” The founder of that name was Christ, who suffered death in the reign of Tiberius, under his procurator Pontius Pilate... This pernicious superstition, thus checked for a while, broke out again; and spread not only over Judæa where the evil originated, but through Rome also, whither everything bad upon earth finds its way and is practised... A vast multitude were apprehended who were convicted, not so much of the crime of burning Rome, as of hatred to mankind... They were criminals, deserving the severest punishments': cp. also Acts 7:54. To the end] viz. of the trials and persecutions.

23. Flee ye into another] The apostles are forbidden to court martyrdom, and the wisest leaders of the later Church, e.g. Polycarp and Cyprian, gave the same advice. It was often found that those who rushed eagerly forward to claim martyrdom contrary to our Lord's command, were denied the grace to attain the martyr's crown. 'Flee ye into another' (RV 'the next'), 'for owing to the time wasted in going from city to city to avoid persecution, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come, and the Jewish nation and dispensation destroyed.' The meaning, as interpreted in the light of events, is that until the destruction of Jerusalem the Twelve were to confine themselves mainly to evangelising the Jews, a task which would even then be incomplete, owing to the hindrances which would arise.

Our Lord here referred to His coming to destroy Jerusalem. The apostles understood Him to refer to His final coming. This accounts for the general expectation of the early Christians that the end of the world would come in the lifetime of the first believers (1 Thessalonians 4:15): see on Matthew 24 Mark 13:32.

24. The disciple, etc.] A favourite saying of Jesus used in several different connexions. Here it means that the apostles are not to expect better treatment than their Master. In Luke 6:40 it means that the disciples of blind spiritual guides are as blind as their teachers. In John 13:16 it means that since Jesus washes other men's feet, the disciples must do so too. In John 15:20 it means, as in St. Matthew, that the apostles are to expect the same persecutions which have befallen their Master.

25. Beelzebub] cp. Matthew 12:24; John 8:48, John 8:52. The true form here is Beelzeboul, which is altered from Baalzebub (2 Kings 1:2). 'Baalzebub' means 'Lord of flies,' and appears in OT. as a god of Ekron who gave oracles. 'Beelzeboul' in NT. is the devil. The NT. form perhaps means 'master of the house' (of the demons). J. Lightf oot regards it as meaning 'lord of dung': see on John 12:22.

26-33. These vv. are found in quite another connexion in Luke 12:2-9.

26. Fear them not therefore] for the whole effect of their persecutions will be to publish abroad the gospel, which but for their action would have remained obscure: cp. Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; Luke 12:2, Luke 12:3.

27. What I tell you in darkness] A prophecy that the labours of the apostles will be more successful than those of Jesus Himself. He taught with indifferent success in the obscurity of an insignificant and remote province. They will teach successfully in the publicity of the great cities of the empire, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Alexandria, Rome. What ye hear in the ear] In the Jewish schools the rabbi sat in his chair, and whispered in Hebrew into the ear of his interpreter, who then proclaimed aloud in the vulgar tongue what the rabbi had said. So the apostles were to proclaim to the wide world what Christ had whispered to them in the retirement of Galilee. Upon the housetops] Proclamations are still made in the East from the flat roofs of houses. E.g. the sabbath is proclaimed by the 'attendant' of the synagogue, who ascends to a lofty housetop, and blows there three times with the synagogue-trumpet.

28. Him which is able] i.e. God, not, as some strangely take it, the devil. In hell] i.e. Gehenna, the place of final punishment: see Matthew 5:22.

29. Sparrows] At the present day, in the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa, long strings of little birds, sparrows and larks, are offered for sale, trussed on wooden skewers. Farthing] (Lat. assarius) i.e. about a farthing and a third.

32, 33. The sense is that in the day of judgment men's fate will depend upon their attitude to Christ, and upon Christ's attitude to them, another proof of Christ's divinity.

34-36. These vv. occur in a somewhat different form and in a different connexion, Luke 12:51-53.

34. Think not, etc.] Christ could not expect that His claim to absolute dominion over the soul of man and all human institutions, would be accepted without a bitter struggle. But knowing such a struggle to be necessary for the establishment of peace with God and of permanent peace on earth, He deliberately willed it. 'The sword' stands for persecution, and for all kinds of social and domestic dissensions.

37. He that loveth father, etc.] This explains the stronger expression in Luke 14:26 about 'hating' father and mother. Observe here, again, the tremendous stress upon personal loyalty to Christ.

38. Taketh not his cross] i.e. he that is not willing to follow Me to martyrdom is not worthy of Me. The 'cross' stands here, not for trouble in general (though this is included), but for actual crucifixion, the most painful and degrading form of martyrdom. The condemned criminal was forced to 'take' or carry his cross to the place of execution. Christ here indicates that He knew beforehand not only the fact of His death, but its manner.

39. Cp. Luke 17:33, where the context is different. He that findeth his life] i.e. saves his life in time of persecution by denying Me, shall lose it in the next world. He that loseth his life, i.e. by martyrdom, for my sake shall find it in the next world, i.e. shall enjoy immortal life. The passage may also be applied to self-denial in general, by which man loses his life of self-centred worldliness, to find it again enlarged and purified.

40-42. These vv. form the conclusion of the charge to the Twelve, and are not to be referred to a later date. In St. Luke the substance of them forms the conclusion of the charge to the Seventy.

40. Cp. Luke 10:16. He that receiveth you] Those who receive Christ's representatives, the apostles, and after them His ministers (i.e. those who believe their message spoken in His name), receive Him, and with Him His Father.

41. He that receiveth a prophet, etc.] The meaning is that those who receive the apostles, because they recognise them to be prophets and righteous men and disciples, will receive the same reward as they, eternal life.

In the name of a prophet] i.e. simply because he is a prophet (a Hebraism).

42. These little ones] a tender name for the apostles themselves. Even those who only help on their mission by offering them a cup of cold water as they journey, will be rewarded: cp. Mark 9:41. Some think that 'little ones' was a standing title for pupils of the rabbis, but clear proof is wanting.

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Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

3. Jesus" charge concerning His apostles" mission10:5-42

Matthew proceeded to record Jesus" second major discourse in his Gospel: the Mission Discourse. It contains the instructions Jesus gave the12Apostles before He sent them out to proclaim the nearness of the messianic kingdom. Kingsbury saw the theme of this speech as "the mission of the disciples to Israel" and outlined it as follows: (I) On Being Sent to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel ( Matthew 10:5-15); (II) On Responding to Persecution ( Matthew 10:16-23); and (III) On Bearing Witness Fearlessly ( Matthew 10:34-42). [Note: Kingsbury, Matthew as . . ., p112.] Whereas there is much instruction on serving Jesus here, there is also quite a bit of emphasis on persecution.

"Before Jesus sent His ambassadors out to minister, He preached an "ordination sermon" to encourage and prepare them. In this sermon, the King had something to say to all of His servants-past, present, and future. Unless we recognize this fact, the message of this chapter will seem hopelessly confused." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:36.]

"It is evidential of its authenticity, and deserves special notice, that this Discourse, while so un-Jewish in spirit, is more than any other, even more than that on the Mount, Jewish in its forms of thought and modes of expression." [Note: Edersheim, 1:641. See ibid, 1:641-53, for many parallels.]

This observation suggests that this mission was uniquely Jewish. Yet, as in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke beyond His immediate audience with later disciples also in mind. This seems clear as we compare this instruction with later teaching on the conduct of Christ"s disciples in the present age.

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Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The provisions for their mission10:9-15 (cf. Mark 6:8-11; Luke 9:3-5)

Jesus explained further how the12Apostles were to conduct themselves on their mission.

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Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

They were to stay with "worthy" hosts, not necessarily in the most convenient or luxurious accommodations. A worthy person would be one who welcomed a representative of Jesus and the kingdom message. He or she would be the opposite of the "dogs" and "pigs" Jesus earlier told His disciples to avoid ( Matthew 7:6). By this time there were probably people in most Galilean villages who had been in the crowds and had observed Jesus. His sympathizers would have been the most willing hosts for His disciples.

The greeting the disciple was to give his host was the normal greeting of the day. If his host proved to be unworthy by not continuing to welcome the disciple, he was to leave that house and stay somewhere else. By withdrawing personally the disciple would withdraw a blessing from that house, namely, his presence as a representative of Jesus. The apostles were to do to towns as they did to households.

"A pious Jew, on leaving Gentile territory, might remove from his feet and clothes all dust of the pagan land now being left behind ... thus dissociating himself from the pollution of those lands and the judgment in store for them. For the disciples to do this to Jewish homes and towns would be a symbolic way of saying that the emissaries of Messiah now view those places as pagan, polluted, and liable to judgment (cf. Acts 13:51; Acts 18:6)." [Note: Carson, " Matthew," p246.]

More awful judgment awaited the inhabitants of the Jewish towns that rejected Messiah than the judgment coming on the wicked residents of Sodom and Gomorrah that had already experienced divine destruction ( Genesis 19). The unbelievers of Sodom and Gomorrah will receive their sentence at the great white throne judgment ( Revelation 20:11-15). The unbelieving Jews of Jesus" day would also stand before Jesus then. One"s eternal destiny then as now depended on his or her relationship to Jesus, and that was evident in his attitude toward one of His emissaries (cf. Matthew 10:40; Matthew 25:40; Matthew 25:45). In that culture people treated a person"s official representative as they would treat the one he represented. The apostles could anticipate opposition and rejection as Jesus experienced and as the Old Testament prophets had as well.

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Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament

Matthew Chapter 10

So long as God gives Him access to the people, He continues His labour of love. Nevertheless, He was conscious of the iniquity that governed the people, although He did not seek His own glory. Having exhorted His disciples to pray that labourers might be sent into the harvest, He begins (chap. 10) to act in accordance with that desire. He calls His twelve disciples, He gives them power to cast out devils and to heal the sick, and He sends them to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. We see, in this mission, how much the ways of God with Israel form the subject of this Gospel. They were to announce to that people, and to them exclusively, the nearness of the kingdom, exercising at the same time the power they had received: a striking testimony to Him who was come, and who could not only work miracles Himself, but confer power on others to do so likewise. He gave them authority over evil spirits for this purpose. It is this which characterises the kingdom-man healed of all sickness and the devil cast out Accordingly, in Hebrews 6:1-20, miracles are called “the powers of the world to come.” (27)

They were also, with respect to their need, to depend entirely on Him who sent them. Emmanuel was there. If miracles were a proof to the world of their Master’s power, the fact that they lacked nothing should be so to their own hearts The ordinance was abrogated during that period of their ministry which followed the departure of Jesus from this world (Luke 22:35-37). That which He here (Matthew 10:1-42” Matthew 10:1-42) commands His disciples appertains to His presence as Messiah, as Jehovah Himself, on the earth. Therefore the reception of His messengers, or their rejection, decided the fate of those to whom they were sent. In rejecting them they rejected the Lord Emmanuel, God with His people. (28) But, in fact, He sent them forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. They would need the wisdom of serpents, and were to exhibit the harmlessness of doves (rare union of virtues, found only in those who, by the Spirit of the Lord, are wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil).

If they did not beware of men (sad testimony as to these), they would but suffer; but when scourged and brought before councils and governors and kings, all this should become a testimony unto them-a divine means of presenting the gospel of the kingdom to kings and princes, without altering its character or accommodating it to the world, or mixing up the Lord’s people with its usages and its false greatness. Moreover circumstances like these made their testimony much more conspicuous than association with the great ones of the earth would have done.

And, to accomplish this, they should receive such power and guidance from the Spirit of their Father as would cause the words they spoke to be not their own words, but His who inspired them. Here, again, their relation with their Father, which so distinctly characterises the sermon on the Mount, is made the basis of their capacity for the service they had to perform. We must remember that this testimony was addressed to Israel only; only that, Israel being under the yoke of the Gentiles since the time of Nebuchadnezzar, the testimony would reach their rulers.

But this testimony would excite an opposition that should break all family ties, and awaken a hatred that would not spare the life of those who had been the most beloved. He who in spite of all this should endure to the end should be saved. Nevertheless the case was urgent. They were not to resist, but if the opposition took the form of persecution, they were to flee and preach the Gospel elsewhere, for before they had gone over the cities of Israel the Son of man should come. (29) They were to proclaim the kingdom. Jehovah, Emmanuel, was there, in the midst of His people, and the heads of the people had called the master of the house Beelzebub. This had not stopped His testimony, but it very strongly characterised the circumstances in which this testimony was to be rendered He sent them forth, warning them of this state of things, to maintain this final testimony among His beloved people as long as possible. This took place at that time, and it is possible, if circumstances permit, to carry it on until the Son of man comes to execute judgment. Then the master of the house will nave risen up to shut the door. The “to-day” of Psalms 95:1-11 will be over. Israel in possession of their cities being the object of this testimony, it is necessarily suspended when they are no longer in their land. The testimony to the future kingdom given in Israel by the apostles after the Lord’s death, is an accomplishment of this mission, so far as this testimony was rendered in the land of Israel; for the kingdom might be proclaimed as to be established while Emmanuel was on the earth; or this might be by Christ’s returning from heaven as announced by Peter in Acts 3:1-26, Acts 3:1-26. And this might take place if Israel were in the land, even until Christ should return. Thus the testimony may be resumed in Israel, whenever they are again in their land and the requisite spiritual power is sent forth by God.

Meanwhile, the disciples were to share in Christ’s own position. If they called the master of the house Beelzebub, much more they of His household. But they were not to fear It was the necessary portion of those who were for God in the midst of the people. But there was nothing hid that should not be revealed. They themselves were to hold nothing back, but were to proclaim on the housetops all that they had been taught; for everything should be brought into the light; their faithfulness to God in this respect, as well as all other things. This, while it met the secret plottings of their enemies, was itself to characterise the ways of the disciples. God, who is light, and sees in darkness as in light, would bring all out into the light, but they were to do this morally now. Therefore were they to fear nothing while performing this work, unless it were God Himself, the righteous Judge at the last day. Moreover the hairs of their heads were numbered. They were precious to their Father, who took notice of even a sparrow’s death. This could not happen without Him who was their Father.

Finally, they were to be thoroughly imbued with the conviction that the Lord was not come to send peace on the earth; no, it should be division, even in the bosom of families. But Christ was to be more precious than father or mother, and even than a man’s own life. He who would save his life at the expense of his testimony to Christ should lose it; he who would lose it for the sake of Christ should gain it. He also who should receive this testimony, in the person of the disciples, received Christ, and, in Christ, Him that sent Him. God, therefore, being thus acknowledged in the person of His witnesses on earth, would bestow, on whoever received the latter, a reward according to the testimony rendered. In thus acknowledging the testimony of the rejected Lord, were it only by a cup of cold water, he who gave it should not lose his reward. In an opposing world, he who believes the testimony of God, and receives (in spite of the world) the man who bears this testimony, really confesses God, as well as His servant. It is all that we can do. The rejection of Christ made Him a test, a touchstone.

Footnotes for Matthew Chapter 10

(27) For then Satan will be bound and man delivered by the power of Christ. And there were partial deliverances of the kind.

(28) There is a division of the Lord’s discourse at Matthew 10:15. Up to that it is the then present mission. From Matthew 10:16 we have more general reflections on their mission, looked at as a whole in the midst of Israel on to the end. Evidently it goes beyond their then present mission and supposes the coming of the Holy Ghost. The mission by which the church is called as such is a distinct thing. This applies only to Israel they were forbidden to go to Gentiles. This necessarily closed with the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation, but it is to be renewed at the end, till the Son of man be come. There was a testimony to the Gentiles only, as brought before them as judges, as Paul was, and that part of his history even on to Rome in Acts, was amidst Jews. The latter part, from Matthew 10:16, has less to do with the gospel of the kingdom.

(29) Observe here the expression “Son of man.” This is the character in which (according to Daniel 7:1-28) the Lord will come, in a power and glory much greater than that of His manifestation as Messiah, the Son of David, and which will be displayed in a much wider sphere. As the Son of man, He is the heir of all that God destines for man (see Hebrews 2:6-8, and 1 Corinthians 15:27). He must, in consequence, seeing what man’s condition is, suffer in order to possess this inheritance. He was there as the Messiah, but He must be received in His true character, Emmanuel; and the Jews must thus be tested morally. He will not have the kingdom on carnal principles. Rejected as Messiah, as Emmanuel, He postpones the period of those events which will close the ministry of His disciples with respect to Israel, unto His coming as the Son of man. Meantime God has brought out other things that had been hidden from the foundation of the world, the true glory of Jesus the Son of God, His heavenly glory as man and the church united to Him in heaven. The Judgment of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the nation, have suspended the ministry which had begun at the moment of which the evangelist here speaks. That which has filled up the interval since then is not the subject here of the Lord’s discourse, which refers solely to the ministry that had the Jews for its object. The counsels of God with respect to the church, in connection with the glory of Jesus at the right hand of God, we shall find spoken of elsewhere. Luke will give us in more detail that which concerns the Son of man In Matthew the Holy Ghost occupies us with the rejection of Emmanuel.

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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) For the land of Sodom and Gomorrha.—The thought implied in the previous verse is now expressly asserted. The cities that stood out, in the history of the world, as most conspicuous for their infamy, were yet less guilty (as sinning less against light and knowledge) than those who rejected the messengers of the King. The same comparison reappears with the addition of Tyre and Sidon in Matthew 11:21.

In the day of judgment.—The phrase, like the Old Testament “day of the Lord,” is wider in its range than the thoughts we commonly connect with it, and includes the earlier and more earthly judgments, as well as that which is the great consummation of them all.

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Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

List of the Apostles

Matthew 10:2-4

I. There are several pairs of brothers: Peter and Andrew; James and John; Judas and James. This points to (1) the need of companionship in Christian work, as solace, and as a curb to excessive individualism. (2) The allowableness of special friendships among Christian workers. (3) That Christianity is more beautiful when the natural bonds of love and kindred are sanctified. It is meant to heighten these and they to provide channels for its operation. (4) But also Christianity separates and dissolves natural ties.

II. There were wide varieties in the characters of the men chosen, which shows that there is room for all diversities in Christ"s service and the uniting power of the Christian faith. Christ Himself in His living presence as the centre held all in unity.

—A. Maclaren.

References.—X:3.—H. J. Martyn, For Christ and the Truth, p75. X:4.—J. E. Roberts, Studies in the Lord"s Prayer, p106. A. F. Winnington Ingram, The Men Who Crucify Christ, p11. X:5.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Matthew IX-XVII. p55. X:5-16.—Ibid. p68. X:6.—H. Ward Beecher, Sermons (2Series), p179. X:7.—H. A. Stimson, The New Things of God, p267. Lyman Abbott, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlviii1895, p372. X:7, 8.—E. White, ibid. vol. xlv1894, p389. W. M. Sinclair, ibid. vol. xlvi1894, p56.

The Condition and Obligation of Service

Matthew 10:8

I. The Condition, the Source, the Inspiration of Service.—"Freely ye have received;" and here I cannot, dare not, attempt to speak about the greatness of the giving. He who told us most about it called it unspeakable; the riches of the grace are unsearchable, the love beyond all faith"s measurement; we can only kneel before it and adore. But about our receiving we may speak, for that, alas! is too often a measurable quantity, and yet upon that depends all the power and willingness of service. It is not the magnitude of the grace, but the proportion of its inflow, that determines all the issues of the Christian life; the sun-rays are poured as plentifully upon the barren rock as upon the vine which creeps around it, but it is the measure of reception that makes the difference between the dead, profitless stone and the living tree that quivers into fruit-bearing. Glad giving comes out of full receiving. Loving God is letting God love us; the outgoings of our love are just the overflow of the Divine love in us. The Apostles tell us often in glowing, rapturous words of God"s wonderful gifts to them, but they tell us quite as frequently of their own receiving. It was that which had made the miracle of their lives: "Out of His fulness we all received, and grace upon grace".

People who merely move among the crowd about Christ, who stop short of touching the hem of His garment, who perhaps see only His shadow as it passes by, who hardly open the narrowest chink of their being to the healing of His power, cannot be expected to lavish costly ointment at His feet. Only those give Him of their best, and give it with raptures of gratitude, who have been much healed and much forgiven; then they lay at His feet their ointment, or their tears, or their very blood-drops, if He asks, and think it all too small. If we measure with sparing, reluctant hands every coin that we drop into His treasury, every hour that we give to His worship and work, every meagre self-denial which His service imposes, there needs no further proof of the feeble hold which He has upon us and our scant reception of His grace.

II. The Obligation of Service.—Our receipts make our debt. The Lord tells us here, and His words are echoed and repeated in all the confessions of His disciples, that we have received for the very purpose of giving. The Gospel of the blessed God has been committed to us in trust. We are not absolute owners, we are responsible trustees. "As every man hath received the gift, so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." The men who had learned directly of Christ never regarded their spiritual endowments save in this aspect. They never once supposed that the heavenly light had been kindled in them solely for their own glory, that the Divine treasure had been bestowed upon them simply for their own enrichment, and that for their own sakes alone they had been singled out for a benefit so vast, a mercy so wonderful, a salvation so grand and complete. How could they suppose that, unless Calvary had developed in them the Pharisee"s pride or the miser"s greed? How could they entertain that thought, unless they had been plunged in a blinding maelstrom of intolerable self-conceit? What had they done to deserve this signal grace and the promotion from rude fishermen to companionship with the King of Kings? No, they knew that the Divine love which had fixed itself on them was felt as fully and as freely towards the whole human race, and that the light had shown on their hearts first that through them the illumination might spread everywhere. It was not their own. It was the most sacred and responsible of trusts. It belonged to all men. To withhold it would be to rob men of what God had made their right. Nay, it would be to deny and forfeit their own calling. "Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel." And every one feels this who has truly understood and rejoiced in God"s great gift. If it has not yet penetrated and suffused the hearts of all Christians, it is because the selfish human elements have counteracted the workings of the Divine, and because man"s littleness has brought God"s great thought down to the measure of the market and the shop.

—J. G. Greenhough, The Cross in Modern Life, p162.

References.—X:8.—James Baldwin Brown, The Divine Life in Prayer of Manasseh, pp321, 344. E. Y. Mullins, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxviii1905, p168. H. Montagu Butler, ibid. vol. lxx1906, p97. H. A. Stimson, The New Things of God, p245. F. Paget, The Spirit of Discipline, p234. X:10.—J. O. Wills, The Dundee Pulpit, 1872, p185.

Matthew 10:11

"There are some men," says Mrs. Oliphant in her Life of Edward Irving, "who seem born to the inalienable good fortune of lighting upon the best people—"the most worthy," according to Irving"s own expression long afterwards—wherever they go. Irving"s happiness in this way began at Haddington. The doctor"s wife seems to have been one of those fair, sweet women whose remembrance lasts longer than greatness.... The Annandale youth came into a little world of humanizing graces when he entered that atmosphere; and it was only natural that he should retain the warmest recollection of it throughout his life."

Reference.—X:12, 13.—R. E. Hutton, The Crown of Christ, vol. ii. p565.

Matthew 10:14

Compare Wesley"s account of how he left Georgia, being hampered by the authorities in his work. "I saw clearly the hour was come for leaving this place and as soon as evening prayers were over, about eight o"clock, the tide then serving, I shook off the dust of my feet, and left Georgia, after having preached the Gospel there (not as I ought, but as I was able) one year and nearly nine months."

Reference.—X:14, 15.—F. E. Paget, Sermons for The Saints" Days, p205.

Matthew 10:16

Compare Amiel"s remarks on prudence, as part of love to men. "Be ye simple as the dove, and prudent as the serpent," are words of Jesus. Be careful of your reputation, not through vanity, but that you may not harm your life"s work, and out of love for truth."

It was what he called his wisdom of the serpent, says Mr. Morley, that gave Cobden his power in the other arts of a successful agitator, which are less conspicuous but hardly less indispensable, than commanding or persuasive oratory. He applied the same qualities in the actual business of the League that he brought to bear in his speeches. He was indefatigable in industry, fertile in ingenious devices for bringing the objects of the League before the country, constantly on the alert for surprising a hostile post, never losing a chance of turning a foe or a neutral into a friend, and never allowing his interest about the end for which he was working to confuse his vigilant concentration upon the means.

References.—X:16.—J. H. Newman, Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day, p331. D. Fraser, Metaphors in the Gospels, p118. J. Stark, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxix1891, p241. J. Stalker, ibid. vol. lxi1902, p41. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiii. No1370. X:16-31.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Matthew IX-XVII. p74. X:19.—J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. iv. p256. X:22.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x. No554.

The Christian Palliation of Pain

Matthew 10:23

I. The days of persecution are past; has this text lost its meaning? No, it is to my mind the revelation of an eternal fact—a fact which distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. Christ"s remedy for the immediate pressure of grief is one peculiarly His own. Consider the remedies proposed by some other faiths. The Buddhist says: "When you are oppressed by any sorrow, think how all your desires will be stilled in death". The Brahman says: "When you are oppressed by any sorrow, remember how all finite things are illusions". The Stoic says: "When you are oppressed by any sorrow, keep your mind on things that suppress emotion". The Jew says: "When you are oppressed by any sorrow, seek out and expiate the sin you have committed". Christ says none of these things. His recommendation is: "When you are oppressed by any sorrow, rest your thoughts as much as possible upon some joy that remains; when you are persecuted in one city, flee into another".

II. Our danger in grief is that of forgetting our untouched joys. We have all some city of refuge—some spot left green. Christ says our first duty is to flee thither. He says we shall be better able to remedy any stroke of fortune if in the first instance we seek comfort in another direction. He practised this Himself in His cures. A paralytic came to be healed; Jesus said, "Thy sins be forgiven thee". Was not that irrelevant—to promise a man forgiveness of sin who wanted cure for paralysis? Yes, but in the irrelevancy lay the beauty. The best prelude to curing a man"s paralysis is to get him over to the sunny side of the street—to fix his mind upon an actually existing joy.

III. Song of Solomon, too, when Christ tells the labouring and laden in body that He will give them rest to their souls, it seems an irrelevancy; but it is not. What better prelude to a medical cure than a flash of sunshine in the soul; what better preparation for a physical improvement than a state of inward rest? Our Lord would have us first get out from the persecuted into the unpersecuted city and brace ourselves for struggle by an hour of peace.

—G. Matheson, Messages of Hope, p149.

Matthew 10:23

If religion be the doing of all good, and for its sake the suffering of all evil, souffrir de tout le monde et ne faire souffrir personne, that Divine secret has existed in England from the days of Alfred to those of Romilly, of Clarkson, and of Florence Nightingale, and in thousands who have no fame."

—Emerson, English Traits, xiii.

References.—X:24.—W. J. Knox-Little, Christian World Pulpit, vol. li1897, p250. X:24, 25.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Matthew IX-XVII. p83; see also Greed and Conduct, p89. X:24-26.—H. Ward Beecher, Sermons, vol. ii. p195. X:26.—A. Martin, Winning the Soul, p181. X:26, 27.—H. Scott Holland, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xli1892, p49. X:27.—E. Griffith-Jones, ibid. vol. liii1898, p195. C. Silvester Home, ibid, vol. liv1898, p85. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlvi. No2674.

Matthew 10:28

Compare Carlyle"s account, in the first volume of his Cromwell, of Prynne, Bastwick, and Burton, being mutilated, by order of Archbishop Laud, and of how, "Bastwick"s wife, on the scaffold, received his ears in her lap and kissed them. Prynne"s ears the executioner "rather sawed than cut". "Cut me, tear me," cried Prynne? "I fear thee not; I fear the fire of Hell, not thee.""

Matthew 10:29

Nature herself has not provided the most graceful end for her creatures. What becomes of all the birds that people the air and forest for our solacement? The sparrows seem always chipper, never infirm. We do not see their bodies lie about. Yet there is a tragedy at the end of each one of their lives. They must perish miserably; not one of them is translated. True, "not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our heavenly Father"s knowledge," but they do fall, nevertheless.

—Thoreau, A Week on the Concord.

The Providence of the Trifle

Matthew 10:29-30

We are so earth-bound that we half-suspect the competence of any being to exercise a Providence over motes, atoms, and infinitesimal details. We are not sure that we honour the Infinite by such a conception.

I. Our own carelessness about details in the lives that crowd our daily pathway makes it difficult for us to believe in Christ"s doctrine of a Providence that regulates trifles. It is only a point in the unmeasured area of human life, not to speak of other uncounted realms of life, that we can touch by our sympathies. How incredible that God should fulfil a Providence that includes the meanest things in nature!

The indifference that warps our judgment of this question is made up of two things—sheer selfishness and rigid limitation of power and opportunity. Selfishness shrivels resource, and the shrinkage of resource seems to justify our selfishness.

II. It is often intimated that our theories of Providence are frequently discredited by the actual facts we see around us. The government of the world often looks as though it were impersonal. The universe, we are tempted to say, is ruled by a necessity that takes no account of the individual. All facts point in that direction.

Could we get into God"s secret chambers we should see how He puts Himself into the blindest forces of the universe, and makes them move the fine threads of His counsel, and work out His deepest and most complex designs.

We cannot gauge God"s providence over the little things of life by His apparent indifference to the time and circumstance under which the stream of breath in a man ceases. It is His hand which controls that breath, and His hand never forgets its cunning.

Much of our terror of death is due to ignorance of what death Isaiah, and to the assumption that it can come to any one of us as mere fate. To God and to us death must seem very different things. We are held in its chain, or at least seem to be. He holds death in chains, and never lets the key of the grim monster"s fetters pass for a moment out of His possession.

III. Belief in a Providence that is informed in incalculably minute sympathies is necessary to our habitual communion with God. If God cannot or will not care for little things, we have no encouragement to come to His feet and pour out our tale before Him.

Our belief ought to give calmness in our work and authority to the message we are sent to deliver. Every part of the elect life is under a sacred ordination, and God watches over all the things that concern us as we do His will. We often lack a due sense of our vocation because our belief in a guiding Providence is feeble.

—T. G. Selby, The Lesson of a Dilemma, p82.

References.—X:30.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. No187; vol. xxxiv. No2005. James Vaughan, Sermons Preached in Christ Church, Brighton (7th Series), p151.

On Churchgoing

Matthew 10:32

We are told to confess Christ. "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven." Nor is this all. This is only half the truth. There is the dark side as well as the bright one. "But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven."

I. In an age when everybody is allowed to believe what they like, the constancy of the martyr and the cowardice of the renegade are alike impossible. Confessing Christ before men is done by all respectable churchgoers, as you may say; what can any one require more? I think God will require much more. And here I would enter a protest against a form of cowardice common at this day. How many among us reverse the language of the prayer and "profess and call themselves non-Christians"? You hear repeatedly men and women say, "I don"t profess to be a Christian, but I look after sick people. I don"t profess to be a Christian, but I am always ready to help. I don"t profess to be a Christian, but you will not hear any slander or evil-speaking from me." This is a common line for people to take up just now, even if they do not put it quite so plainly in words. Examine it, and it means something like this. I will copy the teachings of Christ"s gracious life, but I will not acknowledge their source For who taught the world to seek out the sick and the sorrowing? Who taught the world to help the poor? Who made it a duty to refrain from guileful speech, and to be gentle, compassionate, tender-hearted? Jesus Christ of Nazareth! This fact, however, must be ignored; we must pretend that it is our own superiority that enables us to lead the higher life.

II. We constantly find people taking a sort of pride in assuming this attitude of aloofness about religion. They seem to consider it a mark of intelligence to deny the superior claims of Christianity over other faiths. Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, or Jesus are all treated with the same patronizing approbation. It is a revival of the saying of the Roman cynic, "All religions are equally false". To entertain no preference for the best thing in the world is not dignity, but dullness.

People are denying the Master in a new way, and while taking all they can from His system, they revile it and call it outworn and dying.

III. A public profession of Christianity is what is wanted. Since the days of the Apostles it has been the rule that all Christians should assemble themselves together on the first day of the week in open acknowledgment of their allegiance to Christ.

—C. H. Butcher, The Sound of a Voice that is Still, p160.

References.—X:32.—S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Sermons, p1. C. Perren, Revival Sermons in Outline, p173. X:32, 33.—F. E. Paget, Sermons for the Saints" Days, p55. X:32-42.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Matthew IX-XVII. p94.

The Sword of Doubt

Matthew 10:34

Our Lord tells us here that the preaching of the Cross is like a sword. When St. John saw the Son of Man is his vision, "there went a sharp two-edged sword out of his mouth".

It sounds like a paradox that the Lamb should bear a sword. Yet we know that the preaching of the Cross, wherever it sounded, cut men to the heart, leaving deep divisions and awakening sharp animosities.

I. Now may we not say that this sword of the Lamb is Doubt. In the mind of the seeker after light it is the anguish of indecision. And in the case of the persecutor it is at bottom the same thing.

Ever since the advent of our Lord you find doubt in the world. The leaven immediately began to work, and it worked with great violence, causing a turmoil, a civil war, in the soul, such as had never been experienced before.

What did our Lord do to create this horrid spectre of Doubt and let it loose upon the modern world?

If we are to understand why He sent not peace but a sword, we must fix our attention on the deepest and most characteristic feature of His work and doctrine, and this is certainly to be found in the Cross. It has always been a supreme difficulty, and there is nothing in the whole body of Christian doctrine that has excited so much hostility, so much repugnance, or so much derision, as the notion that vicarious suffering; can have any moral value or can in any sense be called a duty or a Divine law. It does not seem reasonable, it does not square with our empirical conception of justice, and it is the very last thing that men desire. Yet it is the specific mark of Christianity, and deep within our hearts there is a voice that tells us that it is Divine and that through it lies the way to the right understanding of God and of life. Here, and here only, we see the full meaning of the sword of the Lamb. Alone of all teachers He dared to proclaim as the goal of human aspiration not happiness nor tranquillity but Life, Life attained through pain and working in Pain, Pain not passive but active, not borne with stoic resignation but cheerfully accepted and sought for, as a ransom for the souls of others and through those others of ourselves. Such a doctrine is exquisitely painful. It offends at every point. It affronts our reason, our dignity, our freedom, our conduct, our physical weakness. Yet no man reads the history of the Passion without feeling its truth.

II. Pain indeed suggests the one and only doubt which is worth a moment"s consideration.

Pain is undoubtedly a grave problem, but for this very reason it is of vital importance that it should not be presented in a false or exaggerated light. Nature strikes many people as cruel, yet the suffering which forms part of her system is never inflicted, in the first instance at any rate, from a mere delight in barbarity. Animals are not cruel unless they are depraved. Aimless ferocity is a vice in them as it is in man. They kill for food as man himself does, and almost always in the shortest and least painful manner. Again, it is highly probable that the lower animals are not so susceptible of pain as man himself, and the pain of violent injuries is not to be compared with the lingering torments of disease. Pain is not really a large factor in life, and even what we call brute courage thinks but little of it. These considerations go at any rate some way, and they should debar us from speaking of the world as if it were merely a vast and hideous torture-chamber.

The difficulty of pain is almost entirely modern. It is hardly to be found in Scripture, except perhaps in the phrase of St. Paul about the whole Creation groaning and travailing in sympathy with the evil of man. Our Saviour never touches upon this theme, and the old Psalmist writes without hesitation, "the lions roaring after their prey do seek their meat from God".

III. We may say that pain is not an evil because it shortens life but only when it degrades it, that it never degrades the brute and only accidentally degrades man. But still there will remain an unanswered doubt. Why did a good God order His universe in this way? Why did He not content Himself with framing painless angels and leave suffering beasts out of the scheme?

If we fix our eyes on the lower parts of Creation we can discover no satisfactory answer. We do not know the brutes. But man we do know, and in his spirit we can find a law that brings peace, the law of the Cross. And not in his spirit only. The Cross reaches up to heaven and brings suffering into contact with God Himself. As we look upon Calvary we see pain transfigured; it is no longer a burden, but a wing. It is the cement of all society, the spur to all progress, the main link between man and Prayer of Manasseh, and man and God.

Why it should be so we cannot tell. We cannot fully solve those or any other mystery, nor can we banish mystery from life. There is darkness around us, above us, within us. But there is also light; and though it be but a glimmering point, the wise man will turn his face towards it. Aristomenes of Messene, when he was condemned to die and cast into the dark pit, at first gave way to despair. But as he strained his eyes around the black recesses of the Ceadas he caught sight of a thread of sunlight, crawled towards it on hands and knees, and finally escaped through a fox"s earth. And this is a parable of the Christian pilgrim. Only he must have faith, that is to say, he must believe that there is open day and freedom, and that the little spark of brightness points the way towards the sun.

—C. Bigg, The Spirit of Christ in Common Life, p21.

Not Peace, But a Sword

Matthew 10:34

I. Not Peace, but a Sword.—The words are written in the whole history of the Church from then until now. The martyrdom of Stephen was the first occasion for the extension of the Gospel, and the law of its progress has never varied. For three centuries Christianity maintained an open struggle with the strongest power which the world has ever seen. The victory was won, the triumph exceeded all human hope; but peace was not yet.

II. Not Peace, but a Sword.—For three more centuries hordes of barbarians poured over the fairest provinces of Europe. Christianity alone was unconquered. Again and again the wild flood swept over our island, but the bulwarks of faith rose secure above them. So again the victory was won. A new family of nations was gathered in the fold of Christ: but peace was not yet.

III. Not Peace, but a Sword.—The nations were Christianized, but the poor were forgotten. The history of the Middle Age is a long record of conflicts between the spirit of the Gospel and the spirit of dominion. When the full time was come the outward unity of Christendom was broken. Christian was armed against Christian in an unnatural strife. But we now are allowed to look back upon that age of the Reformation and see how men, who owned no fellowship on earth, were yet enabled to work out each some fragment of Divine truth and hand it down to us. But with the larger view of the capacities of Christianity, and the truer view of its adaptation to every variety of thought which we owe to them—larger and truer, I believe, than was ever vouchsafed to any earlier age—we have received also an inheritance of division: not peace, but a sword.

IV. But they have also another and a more personal sense. They speak to each one of us in our own peculiar work. In that our battle is to be fought; in that the critical power of Christianity for us is to be manifested; in that we shall find that the Gospel comes not with the soft voice of rest, but with a sterner call.

V. Not Peace, but a Sword.—But the words cheer us when we find the conflict of life hardest. It is Christ"s will that it be so.

—B. F. Westcott, Village Sermons, p298.

The Sending of the Sword

Matthew 10:34

There seems to be a glaring contradiction between this word and some other words of Jesus. Life proves many a proposition to be true that logic would readily demonstrate as false. And the strange thing about the words of Christ Isaiah, that while they seem to contradict each other at the bar of reason, they link themselves together into perfect harmony when we go forward in the strength of them. They are words of life; meant to be lived out.

I. The coming of Christ sends a sword into the heart. Now this is exactly what I should have expected when I remember the penalties of gain. For everything a man achieves there is a price to pay. There comes a wound with everything we win. All knowledge, whatever joy it brings with it, brings with it in the other hand a sword. All love, though it kindles the world into undreamed-of brightness, has a note in its music of unrest and agony.

To receive Christ is to receive the truth; it is to have the Spirit of Love breathing within us; and if truth and love always bring sorrow with them, I shall expect the coming of Christ to be with pain.

II. There are three ways in which the coming of Christ into the heart sends a sword there.

1. Christ opens up the depths of sin within us. We see what we are in the light of His perfection. We were tolerably contented with our character once, but when Christ comes we are never that again.

2. Christ calls us to a lifelong warfare. The note of warfare rings through the whole New Testament. The spirit is quickened now to crave for spiritual things, and the flesh and the spirit must battle till the grave.

3. Above all, it is by heightening our ideal that the old peace goes and the pain begins. It is in the new conception of what life may be that the sword-stroke cuts into the heart.

III. Christ comes to send a sword into the home. Did you ever think how true that was of Nazareth? Did you ever reflect on our text in the light of that home? It might have been so peaceful and so happy if God had never honoured it like this. But Jesus was born there, and that made all the difference. It could never be the quiet home again. Gethsemane was coming, Calvary was coming; a sword was going to pierce through Mary"s heart. He came not to send peace, but a sword.

Develop love, and you develop sorrow. Deepen the heart-life, and you deepen suffering. It is by doing that, through all the centuries, that Christ has brought the sword into our homes.

—G. H. Morrison, Sun-Rise, p158.

Illustration—I notice in the engines of our river-steamers that there are rods that move backward as well as rods that move forward. A child would say they were fighting with each other, and that half of the engines were going the wrong way. But though half the engines seem to go the wrong way, there is no question that the ship is going the right way: out of the smoke and stir of the great city into the bays where the peace of God is resting. So with the words of Christ that seem to oppose each other. Make them the driving power of the soul, and the oppositions will not hinder progress, and the contradictions will reveal their unity, and you shall be brought to your desired haven.

—G. H. Morrison, Sun-Rise, p159.

Matthew 10:34

What said Jesus—that He came to send a sword? Of course He did. Every idea is a sword.

—W. Hale White.

References.—X:34.—J. Neville Figgis, The Gospel and Hitman Needs, p145. W. Garrett Horder, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxiv1903, p204. A. G. Mortimer, The Church"s Lessons for the Christian Year, part ii. p247. Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher, p295. X:36-38—C. G. Finney, Sermons on Gospel Themes, p319.

The Supreme Claim of Christ

Matthew 10:37

It seems to me that the supreme claim of the Lord Jesus Christ rests at least upon three bases. The first basis of His claim is in His own character; the second basis of His claim is in the need of him upon whom He makes the claim; and the third basis is in the need of the world for him upon whom He makes the claim.

I. His Own Character.—Christ claimed it for Himself, mark you, not for a moral ideal, but for Himself as a living Person, and He claimed the same kind of love as we give to father, to mother, or to child. I say that claim was based upon His own character, for Christ was conscious of having an absolute commission from God to men.

He claimed it because He was conscious of His ability to guide men, and all men, and all kinds of men in all kinds of conditions. Christ brings us a message from God, that we know from experience is the last message, not only of God as a Creator, or as a Judges, or even as a Father, but Christ"s message as of a forgiving Father, and of a forgiving Father to the uttermost.

II. The Needs of the Individual.—No man ever saw the needs of men as the Lord Jesus Christ beheld them. He saw the individual need—some one to take the supreme place in man"s affection. Man needs a ruler who will save him from himself. Every man living knows that he longs for someone to save him, not from the world, not from the temptations without, but from himself; not only to put out the fires which our own stupidity have kindled, but to bring out the treasure that we know God has deposited within us, and which we cannot dig out ourselves.

There are four ways in which we can use our ware. That boy who had the loaves and fishes could have done four things with them. He could have thrown them away; he could have eaten them himself; or he could have distributed them himself among his friends, or as he did—give them to Christ. And we may do these four things with our lives. And that is why Christ claimed the first place in men"s lives, because He knew that life must of necessity be a tragic failure without that influence of Divine grace upon it.

III. The Claim of Others Upon Us.—The world has certain demands upon us. We realize it as we never have realized it before, and the supreme claim of Jesus Christ is based upon the claim of other lives upon us. No man who does not live in communion with God can give an original contribution to life. We owe supreme allegiance to Christ in the interest of the world. We owe it in the interests of the unity of the world as well.

—J. Douglas Adam, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxxii1907, p86.

Matthew 10:37

In his Anglican days, Newman wrote thus of the Roman Church: "Considering the high gifts and the strong claims of the Church of Rome and its dependencies on our admiration, reverence, love, and gratitude, how could we withstand it, as we do, how could we refrain from being melted into tenderness, and rushing into communion with it, but for the words of Truth itself, which bid us prefer It to the whole world? "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.""

References.—X:37.—R. Flint, Sermons and Addresses, p166. X:37, 38.—H. Ward Beecher, Sermons (2Series), p585.

Matthew 10:38

To repel one"s cross is to make it heavier.


To take up the Cross of Christ is no great action done once for all; it consists in the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us.


References.—X:38.—R. H. McKim, The Gospel in the Christian Year, p166. H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Holy-Tide Teaching, p92. X:38, 39.—T. B. Dover, Some Quiet Lenten Thoughts, p95. X:39.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Matthew IX-XVII. p102. J. Vickery, Ideals of Life, p181. J. H. Jowett, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxiv1903, p209. H. A. Stimson, The New Things o God, p65.

Matthew 10:40

Foe a long time past I have seen into a something most wondrous, in what I fear so many think the accident of our circle of friends. It is no accident. If it be true, "He that receiveth you receiveth Me," in one sense, it is also in this. God draws nigh in our friend-circles.


Reference.—X:40.—W. J. Knox-Little, The Perfect Life. p289.

The Exaltation of the Obscure

Matthew 10:41

One of the noticeable features of our Lord"s earthly ministry was His tender regard for the obscure and undistinguished men and women by whom He was surrounded, closely connected as this feeling was with an unshaken belief in the undeveloped, yet developable, spiritual capacities of the average mass of mankind.

I. So long as we keep Christ"s image in view we can never degenerate into pessimists or cynics. The more we know of Him, and the more truly we believe in Him as representing God and Prayer of Manasseh, the greater will be our reverence for the image of God in our fellow-men, and the more clearly shall we see how out of the very fact of men"s seeming insignificance may come opportunities of special faithfulness and of service to God and to man. But in order to see this as Christ saw and revealed it, we need first to be changed in ourselves. And some such generous faith in the higher possibilities of commonplace men and women, implied as it is in the doctrine of the Incarnation, is necessary for our own moral support.

II. There is a peculiar glamour about great talents and powerful individualities. Hence comes a natural tendency to undervalue commonplace qualities, and even to assume that those who are not possessed of any remarkable gifts, however worthy they may be individually, are destitute of significance, and hardly count at all as factors in the moral and spiritual advance of mankind.

The same false estimate sometimes has a benumbing effect on character by leading people to disparage their own powers of usefulness.

Strictly speaking, the great question for every man Isaiah, not whether he has commanding powers, but what use he proposes to himself, with God"s help, to make of the gifts entrusted to him. Be those gifts great or small, few or many, the main concern to each of us is that they are our gifts, given to us by God Himself, a part, therefore, of our own distinct personality, and they are the measure whereby our faithfulness will be tested.

III. But Christ"s words carry us even further than this. Not only do they bring encouragement to the hearts of all those who live faithfully a hidden and an obscure life. They lay down the broad principle of an equivalence of reward as between the eminent and the obscure. They tell us that he who welcomes a prophet simply because he is a prophet, out of regard for his prophetic character, shall receive a prophet"s reward, and he who welcomes a righteous man for the simple reason that he loves and reveres righteousness, shall receive a righteous man"s reward. The words are of a figurative character, but their meaning is plain. They reveal a law of identification by moral sympathy of humble and holy men of heart with the great characters to whom their highest homage is given.

—J. W. Shepard, Light and Life, p60.

A Prophet

Matthew 10:41

I. A Prophet—a man sent from God to teach us absolute truth concerning our relations with God. Christ was preeminently such: the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He still continues to give this knowledge from heaven. No man spake like this Man. No books speak like these books of Holy Scripture: Christ speaks in them from heaven. The real evidence of Christianity is in the Bible; the Word made flesh can only be known through the word made letter as in the writings of the Lord"s Apostles.

II. Righteous Men—such as might go forth in God"s name. Men"s character might be told more by their attitude to the Bible than by anything. The righteous man is one who lives in Christ, and though he may not even be able to read he cannot help saving others—he radiates the saving energy.

III. The Idea of Receiving a Prophet who is able to teach others. The old word "parlour," our little social parliament, has given place to the modern term, "reception room ". Who comes there? Those who like you. Receiving means taking into your confidence, mind, heart, those who are drawn toward you by your character. That man only receives a prophet who receives him to closest intimacy and helps him. To receive a righteous man is to draw him to yourself and help him.

IV. Reception of Prophets: our sympathetic help ensures for us certain participation in their reward both here and hereafter. The reward seems too great, as if the shepherds of Bethlehem should be rewarded for listening to the angels" song by being made angels themselves. But receiving a righteous man goes very deep into character. The impulse to a noble, sympathetic act gains the reward of an inward approving conscience, which Isaiah, in fact, the approval of the universal conscience—the love of God. There was no praise in the universe so hearty and vital as God"s.

There are many forgotten attributes of God, such as His intensely human sympathies, His love of being loved, the enthusiasm with which He beholds noble and self-sacrificing character.

—Edward White, British Weekly Pulpit, vol. II. p77.

References.—X:41.—W. Ewen, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xliii1893, p220. W. Boyd Carpenter, ibid. vol. lviii1900, p113. "Plain Sermons "by contributors to the Tracts for the Times, vol. viii. p25. X:41, 42.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Matthew IX-XVII. p110. X:42.—H. Harris, Short Sermons, p221. B. D. Johns, Pulpit Notes, p21. XI.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlvii. No2708. XI:2.—T. Barker, Plain Sermons, p224. XI:2, 3.—F. D, Maurice, Lincoln"s Inn Sermons, vol. iii. p33. G. Jackson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvii1895, p67. T. F. Lockyer, The Inspirations of the Christian Life, p76. XI:2-5.—H. Varley, Spiritual Light and Life, p145. G. Salmon, Non-Miraculous Christianity, p1. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Matthew IX-XVII. p121. J. B. Stedeford, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxviii1890, p129. XI:2-19.—A. B. Davidson, The Called of God, p230.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 10:1-15. The Twelve: their names, mission, and relative instructions (Mark 3:14-19; Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6).



Copyright Statement
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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 10:5-15. Instructions to the missioners.



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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 10:11-15. ( , from , true; to inquire as to the truth of a matter). A host to be carefully sought out in each place: not to stay with the first who offers.— points to personal moral worth, the deciding consideration to be goodness, not wealth (worth so much). The host to be a man generally respected, that no prejudice be created against the mission (ne praedicationis dignitas suscipientis infamiâ deturpetur, Jerome).— : having once secured a host, abide with him, shift not about seeking better quarters and fare, hurting the feelings of the host, and damaging your character, as self-seeking men.



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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 10:15. . .: Sodom and Gomorrah, a byword for great iniquity and awful doom (Isaiah 1:9), , land for people.— : yet the punishment of these wicked cities, tragic though it was, or the punishment still in store, more endurable than that of city or village which rejects the message of the kingdom. This may seem an exaggeration, the utterance of passion rather than of sober judgment, and a dangerous thing to say to raw disciples and apprentice missionaries. But the principle involved is plain: the greater the privilege rejected the greater the criminality. The utterance reveals the high value Jesus set on the good tidings He commissioned the Twelve to preach.



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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

More tolerable; their doom shall be less dreadful. They sinned against less light, and were less guilty than those who lived in the days of Christ.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

AT THE close of the previous chapter the Lord told His disciples to pray for the sending forth of labourers. This chapter opens with His calling the twelve and commissioning them to go forth. They themselves were to be the answer to their prayer! Not infrequently this is the case. When we pray for this or that to be done in the Lord’s service, often His answer to us would be in effect, “Then you are the ones to do it.” Now for any commission to be effective, there must be the people selected, the power conferred, and the right procedure indicated.

This chapter is occupied with just these three things. In verses Matthew 10:24, we get the names of the twelve chosen disciples; and in verse I we read how Jesus conferred the necessary power upon them. This power was effective in two spheres, the spiritual and the physical. Unclean spirits had to obey them, and all kinds of bodily evils disappeared at their word. From verse Matthew 10:5 to the end of the chapter we have the record of the instructions He gave, so that they might proceed rightly on their mission.

The first item of instruction concerned the sphere of their service— neither Gentiles nor Samaritans, but the lost sheep of Israel only. This at once reveals decisively that the gospel today does not go forth under this commission. In the service of a false theory verse Matthew 10:6 has been wrested into meaning that they were to go to Israelites scattered amongst the nations. The word “lost” however means spiritually lost. If Jeremiah 50:1-46 be turned to, and verses Matthew 10:6; Matthew 10:17 consulted, it will be seen that Israel is both “lost” and “scattered.” They are lost because caused to go astray by their shepherds—spiritually lost. They are scattered by the action of the kings of Assyria and Babylon—geographically scattered. This distinction in the use of the two words seems to be observed through Scripture. The disciples never went outside the land while Christ was on earth, but they did preach to the spiritually lost Jews that were around them.

In verse Matthew 10:7 their message is summed up in seven words. It agrees exactly with that preached by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), and by the Lord Himself (Matthew 4:17), save that here the word, “Repent,” is omitted. It was a very simple message, hardly allowing of much amplification or variety. They could not preach things not yet accomplished; but the predicted King was present in His own land, and hence the kingdom was nigh them. That they announced It was the glad tidings of the kingdom, and they were to support what they said by showing the power of the kingdom in bringing healing and deliverance gratuitously.

Moreover they were to discard all the ordinary provision of a prudent traveller, and so be manifestly dependent upon their Master for all their needs; and in entering any place they were to seek out the “worthy,” that is, those who feared the Lord, and who manifested their reception of the Master by the reception of His servants. They were to render testimony against those who did not receive Him, and who consequently refused them and their words; and the responsibility of such would be far greater than that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Next He plainly warned them that they were going to meet with opposition, rejection and persecution, and they are instructed as to their attitude in the presence of these things. This occupies verses Matthew 10:16-39. In going forth amongst men they would be as sheep in the midst of wolves; that is, they would be as their Master in position, and they were to be like Him also in character—wise and harmless. When accused before rulers they were to rest in God as their Father, and not concern themselves in preparing their defence, since in the hour of their need the Spirit of their Father would speak in and through them. Martyrdom in some cases would lie before them, and in all cases they would have to face hatred of a type that would override all natural affection. For those not martyred endurance to the end would mean salvation.

What “the end” signifies is shown in the next verse (23)—the coming of the Son of man. In Matthew 24:3, Matthew 24:6, Matthew 24:13, Matthew 24:14, we again have the Lord speaking of “the end,” with a similar significance, for there it is “the end of the age.” This mission then, which the Lord was inaugurating, is to extend to His second coming, and barely be completed even then. As verse Matthew 10:6 had indicated, the cities of Israel were the field to be covered while they were persecuted, and their endurance would be crowned by salvation at His coming. As we look back it looks as if there has been some failure in these predictions. How can we account for it?

The explanation evidently is that this testimony to the nearness of the kingdom has been suspended and will be resumed at the time of the end. The disciples are viewed as representative men, and what is said applied to them at that moment and will apply to others who will be in a similar position at the end of the age. The kingdom, as presented at that moment in Christ in person, was rejected, and consequently the testimony was withdrawn, as we see in Matthew 16:20. It will be resumed when the outgathering of the church is completed; and barely carried to its finish when the Son of Man comes to receive and establish the kingdom, as had been predicted in Daniel 7:1-28.

Meanwhile the disciple must expect to be treated as his Master, and yet he need have no fear. He will be denounced and maligned and even killed by men; but in verses Matthew 10:26-33, the Lord mentions three sources of encouragement. First, light shall shine upon everything, and all the malignings of men be dispersed. The disciple’s business is to let the light shine now in his testimony. Second, there is the intimate care of God, descending to the minutes” detail. Third, there is the reward of being publicly confessed by the Lord before the Father in heaven. Nothing but faith will enable any of us to appreciate and welcome the light, to rely upon the care, and to value the praise of God more than the praise of men.

Verse Matthew 10:28 is worthy of special note, for it very definitely teaches that the soul is not subject to death, as is the body. God can destroy both soul and body in hell; but the word for “destroy” is different from the word for “kill,” and is one meaning to cause to perish, or to ruin, and has in it no thought of annihilation. The exact words, “the immortality of the soul” do not occur in Scripture, but here are words of our Lord which assert that solemn fact. The words of verse Matthew 10:34 may seem at first sight to clash with such statements as we have in Luke 1:79; Luke 2:14; or Acts 10:36. But there is no real discrepancy. God approached men in Christ with a message of peace, but He was rejected. At this point in Matthew’s Gospel His rejection is coming into view, and hence He declares the solemn fact that the immediate effect of His approach is going to be strife and warfare. Peace on earth will be established by Him at His second advent, and this the angels foresaw and celebrated when first He came. Peace is indeed the ultimate thing, but the cross was the immediate thing; and if He was about to take up the cross then His disciples must be prepared for a sword, and for the losing of their lives for His sake. That loss however was going to mean ultimate gain.

The closing verses show that the reception of the unpopular disciples would be in effect the reception of their unpopular Master, and even of God Himself. Any service thus rendered, even so small a thing as the giving of a cup of cold water, will not fail of a reward in the day to come.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary


Matthew 10:5-15

For the present, the Twelve were to confine themselves to Jews, because the Lord’s ministry was the climax of the Jewish probation and it was desirable that every opportunity should be given to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to repent. God can never be unmindful of any covenant into which He has entered with the soul. If we believe not, He remaineth faithful.

May we not say that our Lord was the first medical missionary? He has taught us that the healing of disease is often the best way of approaching the soul. The kingdom of God deals not only with our eternal welfare, but with the conditions of human life. On Christ’s head are many crowns; social, family and civic life are departments of His beneficent reign. His servants must be without worldly entanglements and live in absolute dependence upon God to whom they have consecrated their lives. The peace of God goes forth and returns.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". 1914.

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

7. The Messengers of the Kingdom.


1. The Twelve Disciples. (Matthew 10:1-4.)
2. Their Commission. (
Matthew 10:5-15.)
3. Persecutions Promised. (
Matthew 10:16-23.)
4. Words of Encouragement.(
Matthew 10:24-33.)
5. Not Peace but the Sword. (
Matthew 10:34-36.)
6. True Discipleship and Rewards. (
Matthew 10:37-42.)

We learn now how our Lord, who is truly the Lord of the Harvest, sends forth the laborers. He does it as the King, who came to offer the Kingdom to Israel. He sends forth the laborers into the harvest as messengers of Himself to announce the same message, which He announced, “The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn nigh,” and confers to them the authority and the power to heal the infirm, raise the dead, and cast out demons. This sending forth, as we shall see, was altogether in connection with the Kingdom; it was therefore only temporary and ended with the complete rejection of the Kingdom by Israel. However, there is a time coming when a Jewish remnant will again go forth to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. This will be during the great tribulation.

It is strange that Christian believers should go to the tenth chapter of Matthew and look upon what is written here as meaning the sending forth of the laborers, missionaries, preachers and teachers to proclaim the Gospel of Grace, when there was first of all no Gospel of Grace and when the words of our Lord so clearly show that it could not refer to anything outside of Israel and Israel’s land. Yet this wrong application is constantly made. It is claimed by some on the authority of this chapter that missionary efforts should consist in not preaching alone, but healing of the sick. They send out, therefore, missionaries who are physicians, and supply them with drugs and surgical instruments, as if our Lord did anything of the kind. Others again claim that the healing of the sick, besides the preaching of what they term, the Kingdom of the heavens, is still in order, and they act according to this belief; however, the raising of the dead they do not include in their powers. The Mormons with their abominable and blasphemous teachings likewise go to this chapter, going forth two by two and trying to follow the other commands given. All this confusion is at once ended, when we look upon the sending forth of the laborers here, as the sending forth of messengers to announce the Kingdom; after the Kingdom had been postponed this special mission of the twelve ended.

The first verse in the chapter tells us that He called His twelve disciples and that He gave them power over unclean spirits, so that they should cast them out, and heal every disease and every bodily weakness. The twelve messengers, whose names are given in the second, third and fourth verses, stand as such always in relation to Israel. He tells them later, “Ye shall also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel “ (Matthew 19:28). Even in the New Jerusalem there will be this distinction. “Her shining was like a most precious stone, as a crystal like jasper stone; having a great, high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names inscribed, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:12-14). The twelve apostles thus stand in prominent and definite relation to Israel. Here among the twelve, who are sent forth, is also the name of Judas the Iscariot, who delivered Him up. After his awful end another was rightly and divinely chosen in his place, that is Matthias. It is astonishing to hear able teachers of the Word talk and write of the mistake which the eleven made in the first chapter in the book of Acts in casting the lot and choosing Matthias. We have heard all kinds of criticism upon their action. They were, however, guided aright, and did not make a mistake, for they acted upon the Word of God in the Psalms, and in the casting of the lot they were fully authorized by the Old Testament Scriptures, and besides this, they did it in dependence on the Lord. It is also said by these brethren who see in the choosing of Matthias an error, that the Lord wanted Paul to be the one who belongs to the twelve. This is the worst blunder of all. The Holy Spirit fully endorses the action of the eleven before Pentecost through Paul himself. In 1 Corinthians 15:5 we read that the risen Lord was seen by the twelve. In the eighth verse Paul says: “And last of all, as to an abortion, He appeared to me also.” It is clear from this passage that Paul does not belong to the twelve. Paul, as apostle to the Gentiles, is an apostle not from men nor through man (Galatians 1:1); he received his apostleship from the risen and glorified Lord. It is through Paul as the one who has no earthly connections, but has it all from above, that the Gospel of Grace as well as the mystery hid in former ages is made known.

In the Epistles given through Paul we read, therefore, all concerning the Gospel of Grace, the church and the ministry, which is for this age, an age in which our Lord Jesus Christ is not King, but Lord in Glory. It is from the Glory as Head of the Body He gives gifts. “He that descended is the same who also ascended up above all the heavens, that He might fill all things; and He has given some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some shepherds and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints” (Ephesians 4:10-12). He ministers then through the instruments He chooses from above, and nowhere in the Epistles do we read anything like that which is contained in the tenth chapter of Matthew. Let us divide the Word of truth rightly and not put the church and the ministry of the church in the chapter before us. All this will become clearer to us as we turn to the different verses.

For instance, in the sixth verse we read: “Go not off into the way of the Gentiles, and into a city of Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel .” This is a limited sphere. They had nothing to do and could have nothing to do with the Gentiles nor with Samaritans. After the death and resurrection of our Lord the Gospel was to be preached, beginning in Jerusalem, in Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth. The lost sheep of the house of Israel, that much “spiritualized” phrase, were not Gentiles, nor were they the church, for a church was not and could not be then. Their preaching was only this text: “The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn nigh.” What does it mean? It meant that the promised Kingdom for Israel, and through Israel to the nations, the Kingdom with all its earthly blessings, was about to come. It was heralding the fact of the presence of the King to set up the Kingdom, if His own would have it. Such a preaching of the Kingdom of the heavens is not given now. After the church age closes by the removal of the church from the earth into heaven, as foreshadowed by the vessel which Peter saw coming out of heaven and again received into heaven, then the kingdom will again draw nigh in the person of the returning King and Lord with His saints.

He tells them: “Ye have received gratuitously, give gratuitously. (Christian Science also claims to follow this chapter by healing the sick. But “freely give” is not practiced by this wicked cult. It costs to be healed.) Do not provide yourselves with gold, or silver, or brass, for your belts, nor scrip for the way, nor two body coats, nor sandals, nor a staff, for the workman is worthy of his nourishment.” Some well-meaning persons have tried to follow out these commandments to the very letter, but it was never meant for the servants of Christ to be followed literally during this age. However, two principles are in these words before us, which find their application in this age. They had received the message and power gratuitously and thus they were to give it. The Gospel is to be free, without price and without money. This principle holds good at this time. How great the failure in Christendom, with its salaried ministry, pew rents, fairs and entertainments to make money for the building of churches and other things!

They were to go forth with no provision made. This made them altogether dependent upon the Lord who had sent them. Trust in the Lord, who sends out the laborer, is another principle, which belongs to this age as well. All disappointment and discouragement for the servant of Christ comes in when he looks not to the Lord but to man. The Lord never disappoints. “And He said to them, When I sent you without purse and scrip and sandals, did ye lack anything? And they said, Nothing” (Luke 22:35). The Lord who calls His servants and sends them forth always keeps them when they walk in simple dependence upon Himself.

From verses 11 to 15 we read other instructions for this special mission. In city and village they were to inquire for them who are worthy. The worthiness consisted undoubtedly in a desire to know Messiah, “waiting for the consolation of Israel .” The Gospel of Grace, which is preached now, is preached without any such distinction. Its message is: “Whosoever,” even the most unworthy. At the end of this paragraph (Matthew 10:15) there is the threatening of judgment when their message is not accepted.

In the next four verses (Matthew 10:16-20) we read of how their ministry would be accepted. “Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves; be therefore prudent as the serpents and guileless as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues.” And so they did reject the Lord and the servants He sent. But it was not alone confined to the Jews -- sanhedrin and synagogue -- but the Gentiles would treat them in the same way. “And ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations.” Part of the fulfillment of all this is found in the book of Acts. We see here also a deeper meaning and refer to these words again when we come to another verse.

“But when they deliver you up, be not careful how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given to you in that hour what ye shall speak. For ye are not the speakers, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you.” We can point to Stephen in Acts 7:1-60 as an illustration how fully this promise has been fulfilled.

The most bitter persecution is now promised them by our Lord: “But brother shall deliver up brother to death, and father child; and children shall rise up against parents and shall put them to death; and ye shall be hated of all on account of my name. But he that has endured to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee to the other, for verily I say to you, Ye shall not have completed the cities of Israel until the Son of Man be come.” These words are perhaps the most important in the whole chapter. They are a kind of key to the entire chapter.

The coming of the Son of Man which is mentioned is His second coming. The giving of the testimony by Jewish disciples concerning the Kingdom of the heavens is according to the words of our Lord to continue till He comes again. How are we to understand this? The testimony which was begun by the apostles up to the time when Israel rejected once more the offers of mercy from the risen Lord, when He was still waiting for their repentance as a nation, is an unfinished testimony. After that offer was again rejected the great parenthesis, the church age, began, and during this age (which is not reckoned in the Old Testament) there is no more Jewish testimony of the kingdom of the heavens. Israel nationally is set aside, blindness in part is theirs till the fulness of the Gentiles is come in. When the church is complete and the rapture of the saints has taken place, then the Lord begins to deal with His people Israel again. There is the seventieth week of Daniel 9:1-27 yet to come, and this week of seven years forms the end of this dispensation. In this coming last week of seven years the church testimony is finished and Jewish believers will take up the unfinished testimony to the nation and proclaim once more “The Kingdom of the heavens is at hand.” The 24th chapter in this Gospel is a continuation of the 10th chapter, inasmuch as Matthew 24:1-51 shows us the unfinished testimony of the 10th chapter, finished and completed. (Read Matthew 24:5-32.) In Matthew 24:1-51 we read of the great tribulation, so likewise here in the tenth chapter. In Micah 7:1-20 we read of a dark picture and there the Spirit of Christ reveals a tribulation, which His lips on the earth proclaim to His disciples. Then during the tribulation (never now) it will mean enduring to the end and salvation will come then by the visible return of the Son of Man from heaven. What our Lord said in Matthew 10:17 and Matthew 10:18 about persecutions from Jews and Gentiles for these witnesses will find its final great fulfilment in that great tribulation, when not alone the unbelieving nation will persecute the believing and witnessing Jewish remnant, but nations as well.

From the twenty-fourth verse to the end of the chapter our Lord continues to speak to the twelve, who were about to go forth. His words are now words of encouragement, not to fear; they were safe in the hands of His Father. While all these words had a special significance for the Jewish disciples our Lord sent forth, they also contain precious comfort and instruction for every true believer living in this day. It would be extremely one sided to pass over these words of our Lord and treat them as not containing truth for us. Every word which our God and Father has been pleased to give us has a meaning for us.

First of all our Lord speaks of the position of the disciple. “The disciple is not above his teacher, nor the bondman above his Lord. It is sufficient for the disciple that he should become as his teacher, and the bondman as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more those of his household?” (Matthew 10:24-26). (Beelzebub means “Lord of the house,” that is, Satan as the possessor of the house.) The position of the disciple is then according to these words identification of the closest kind with His Lord. However, to learn fully of this identification with Him, who is our Saviour and Lord, we do not go to this first Gospel. The Gospel of Matthew was not written with this purpose. In the Gospel of John, the Gospel of Life and Resurrection, and the First Epistle of John as well as the Epistles given by the Holy Spirit through Paul, we learn of the blessed identification which exists by Grace between the Lord and His own. How preciously it is revealed by Himself in that Holy of Holies in the Gospel of John, the seventeenth chapter. And this chapter itself is but the germ out of which the Holy Spirit develops in the Pauline Epistles, the Gospel of Grace and the truth concerning the Church as the Body of Christ. In that marvelous chapter our Lord intercedes before His Father for the very disciples (as well as ourselves) whom He sent forth in the beginning of His earthly ministry. Altogether one with Him, is the golden thread which goes through His prayer. And He said; “The world has hated them, because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. I do not demand that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them out of evil.” In the First Epistle of John the Holy Spirit says: “Do not wonder, brethren, if the world hate you,” and in the upper room He said to His own: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before you” (John 15:18). It is therefore an identification of the closest nature in which we stand with our Lord. And do we ever stop and think on these things? How little we do, how little all this is real to us? It is true little of the reproach of Christ is seen in these days; but little hatred from the side of the world, nor any names of rejection. We ask why? The answer is soon given. The professing church has turned her back upon her heavenly calling and with that upon the Lord. She has committed adultery in loving the world and has returned to the beggarly elements of this world. But let the true believer leave this camp and go outside of that which professes His name and soon enough the reproach will have to be borne. Christendom and the world has little use for one who walks in true separation. Still how precious is that place. If it is reproach it is His reproach; hatred, it is the same with which He was hated. Reproach, hatred and persecution is the seal of identification and fellowship with Him.

But with this our Lord does not leave it. He comforts those He sent forth. And now He speaks the word which is to calm their fears: “Fear not.” What meaning it has coming from such lips! Angels spoke the word “Fear not” in olden times. They are but creatures sent with a message from the Throne. But He who speaks here is the Creator Himself made a little lower than the angels He had created; the Omnipotent One, our Lord speaks, “Fear not!” “Fear them not therefore; for there is nothing covered which shall not be revealed, and secret which shall not be known. What I say to you in darkness speak in the light, and what ye hear in the ear preach upon the houses.” In other words, He tells them of the day when all is to be uncovered, and the secret things to be made known. This fact is ever to be before them. It is to be daily before us. Oh, brethren, let us learn to look at all things in the light of the Judgment seat! “Do not judge anything before the time, until the Lord shall come, who shall also bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and shall make manifest the counsels of hearts; and then shall each have his praise from God” (1 Corinth. 4:5). In view of this revelation of the secret things our Lord tells us to be bold and to declare the whole counsel of God.

Then what harm can men do to him anyway, who is Christ’s (and Christ is God’s). We belong to God, we are His own. No man can do us any harm with his persecution or hatred. Therefore He says now: “And be not afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” What if they should even go so far as to kill the body, as they often did and will yet do, especially to the Jewish Saints in the great tribulation. (We mention again that all these words have a future meaning and fulfillment during that time of Jacob’s trouble, after the removal of the church. The Jewish believers will know the comfort of these words, as Saints during this age know them.) If they kill the body they cannot kill the soul and the killing of the body and faithful testimony given through martyrdom will enrich the Lord as well as the disciple. We may not be called upon to surrender thus our bodies, yet the principle of it is ours; fear nothing outward, nothing temporal, whatever it may be. “But fear rather Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Here Gehenna and not Hades. Gehenna is correctly translated hell.) And He who is able to do that and will do it at the great white Throne to the unsaved, is God. He then is to be feared alone. Of course all this is not to be read as referring to the believer. He who has believed is passed from death unto life, he does not come into judgment. Once saved means always saved. We must, however, not overlook the fact that among the twelve there was one who was not saved. It was the first warning coming to Judas. He looked to outward things and was a thief.

Words of comfort come next. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father; but of you even the hairs of the head are all numbered. Fear not therefore; ye are better than many sparrows.” And where is the child of God who does not rejoice in such a statement? He knows the sparrows upon the housetops as He knew the fish in the sea and the piece of money, which laid on the bottom of the sea. He knows every hair of His own. He speaks of a special providence which watches over every child of God. Happy are we if we walk in the simplicity of a child before our Father and our Lord and ever know by day and by night “He careth for you.” We are all in His hands.

The words of responsibility follow: “Everyone therefore who shall confess me before men, I also will confess before my Father who is in the Heavens. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in the Heavens.”

He who believes in the name of the Lord Jesus is saved; confession with the mouth follows ( Romans 10:8-12).

Every one who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and confesses with the mouth that Jesus is Lord, such confesses Him before men. This confession of Him is ever to increase not only with the lips but in the conduct and the life. Thus every true believer is a confessor of Jesus as Lord and the Lord in His day will confess him before His Father. Individual faithfulness will of course bring a corresponding reward. The unsaved denies Him before men. He may have the name of Jesus upon his lips but he trusts not in Him and this is the denial and he who has not believed will not be confessed before the Father, because the unsaved is none of His.

In the few verses which follow, 34-36, our Lord describes the characteristics of this age, the age in which we live and which is so rapidly ending up. “Do not think that I have come to send peace upon the earth. I have not come to send peace, but a sword.” Many puzzled Jews have come to us with this word and asked what Jesus of Nazareth meant. How could He be our Messiah when instead “of peace He sends the sword?” “Is not Messiah the Prince of Peace to speak peace to the nations?” However we learn that the words He speaks here, foretelling the history of this age, are blessed evidences of His divinity. This age is not the age of world wide peace. “Peace on Earth” is not yet reached in the divine program for the earth. The King and His kingdom rejected, He Himself absent, strife, confusion and wars, the sword reigns. But the King is coming back. Before His return as King out of the opened heavens the sword will be unsheathed and peace be taken from the earth. The nations may boast of peace among themselves at this time, but it will not last very long and soon the rider upon the red horse will gallop over the earth (Revelation 6:1-17). Peace like a river will surely flow after the King has come and all swords have become plowshares. The Lord hasten the day.

And what place and position has the true disciple with Christ in this age? Christ is rejected and scorned. He Himself is to be owned and full devotedness shown to Him, and that means -- suffering.

“He who loves father or mother above me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter above me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He that finds his life shall lose it; he who has lost his life for my sake shall find it.”

But there is another side. Not alone the suffering but the glory which is to follow. The recompense is as sure as the suffering and the recompense will be greater than the sufferings.

“He that receives you, receives me, and he that receives me, receives Him who has sent me. He that receives a prophet in a prophet’s name shall receive a prophet’s reward; he that receives a righteous man in a righteous man’s name shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily he shall in no wise lose his reward.” The one who receives a prophet shall have the blessing of a prophet -- he who receives the Son of God becomes the Son of God, Heir of God and joint heir with Jesus Christ, and anything done, which has love for its motive, will not be forgotten.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.

Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospels

"And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12. And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 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. 15. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, then for that city."

Chrys.: The Lord had said above, "The workman is worthy of his meat;" that they should not hence suppose that He would open all doors to them, He here commands them to use much circumspection in the choice of a host, saying, "Into what city or town ye enter, enquire who in it is worthy."

Jerome: The Apostles, on entering a strange town, could not know of each inhabitant what sort of man he was; they were to choose their host therefore by the report of the people, and opinion of the neighbours, that the worthiness of the preacher might not be disgraced by the ill character of his entertainer.

Chrys.: How then did Christ Himself abide with the publican? Because he was made worthy by his conversion; for this command that he should be worthy, had respect not to their rank, but to their furnishing food. For if he be worthy he will provide them with food, especially when they need no more than bare necessaries. Observe how though He stripped them of all property, He supplied all their wants, suffering them to abide in the houses of those whom they taught. For so they were both themselves set free from care, and convinced men that it was for their salvation only that they had come, seeing they carried nothing about with them, and desired nothing beyond necessaries. And they did not lodge at all places indiscriminately, for He would not have them known only by their miracles, but much more by their virtues. But nothing is a greater mark of virtue, than to discard superfluities.

Jerome: One host is chosen who does not so much confer a favour upon him who is to abide with him, as receive one. For it is said, "Who in it is worthy," that he may know that he rather receives than does a favour.

Chrys.: Also observe that He has not yet endowed them with all gifts; for He has not given them power to discern who is worthy, but bids them seek out; and not only to find out who is worthy, but also not to pass from house to house, saying, "And there remain until ye depart out of that city;" so they would neither make their entertainer sorrowful, nor themselves incur suspicion of lightness or gluttony.

Ambrose, Ambros., in Luc., 9. 5: The Apostles are not to choose carelessly the house into which they enter, that they may have no cause for changing their lodging; the same caution is not enforced upon the entertainer, lest in choosing his guests, his hospitality should be diminished. "When ye enter a house, salute it, saying, Peace be to this house."

Gloss., interlin.: As much as to say, Pray ye for peace upon the master of the house, that all resistance to the truth may be pacified.

Jerome: Here is a latent allusion to the form of salutation in Hebrew and Syriac; they say Salemalach, or Salamalach, for the Greek, or Latin, Ave; that is, "Peace be with you." The command then is, that on entering any house they should pray for peace for their host; and, as far as they may be able, to still all discords, so that if any quarrel should arise, they, who had prayed for peace should have it - others should have the discord; as it follows, "And if that house be worthy, your peace shall rest upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you again."

Remig., ap. Raban.: Thus either the hearer, being predestined to eternal life, will follow the heavenly word when he hears it; or if there be none who will hear it, the preacher himself shall not be without fruit; for his peace returns to him when he receives of the Lord recompense for all his labour.

Chrys.: The Lord instructs them, that though they were teachers, yet they should not look to be first saluted by others; but that they should honour others by first saluting them. And then He shews them that they should give not a salutation only, but a benediction, when He says, "If that house be worthy, your peace shall rest upon it."

Remig.: The Lord therefore taught his disciples to offer peace on their entering into a house, that by means of their salutation their choice might be directed to a worthy house and host. As though He had said, Offer peace to all, they will shew themselves either worthy by accepting, or unworthy by not accepting it; for though you have chosen a hose that is worthy by the character he bears among his neighbours, yet ought you to salute him, that the preacher may seem rather to enter by invitation, than to intrude himself. This salutation of peace in few words may indeed by referred to the trial of the worthiness of the house or master.

Hilary: The Apostles salute the house with the prayer of peace; yet so as that peace seems rather spoken than given. For their own peace which was the bowels of their pity ought not to rest upon the house if it were not worthy; then the sacrament of heavenly peace could be kept within the Apostles own bosom. Upon such as rejected the precepts of the heavenly kingdom an eternal curse is left by the departure of the Apostles, and the dust shaken from their feet; "And whosoever shall not receive you, not hear your words, "when ye go out of that house, or that town, cast the dust off your feet." For he that lives in any place seems to have a kind of fellowship with that place. By the casting the dust off the feet, therefore all that belonged to that house is left behind, and nothing of healing or soundness is borrowed from the footsteps of the Apostles having trod their soil.

Jerome: Also they shake off the dust as a testimony of the Apostles" toil, that in preaching the Gospel they had come even so far, or as a token that from those that rejected the Gospel they would accept nothing, not even the necessaries of life.

Rabanus: Otherwise; The feet of the disciples signify the labour and progress of preaching. The dust which covers them is the lightness of earthly thoughts, from which even the greatest doctors cannot be free; their anxiety for their hearers involves them in cares for their prosperity, and in passing through the ways of this world, they gather the dust of the earth they tread upon. They then who have despised the teaching of these doctors, turn upon themselves all the toils and dangers and anxieties of the Apostles as a witness to their damnation. And lest it should seem a slight thing not to receive the Apostles, He adds, "verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city."

Jerome: Because to the men of Sodom and Gomorrah no man had ever preached; but this city had been preached to and had rejected the Gospel.

Remig., ap. Raban.: Or because the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were hospitable among their sensuality, but they had never entertained such strangers as the Apostles.

Jerome: But if it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for that city, hence we may learn that there is difference of degree in the punishment of sinners.

Remig.: Sodom and Gomorrah are especially mentioned, to shew that those sins which are against nature are particularly hateful to God, for which the world was drowned with the waters of the deluge, four towns were overthrown, and the world is daily afflicted with manifold evils.

Hilary: Figuratively, The Lord teaches us not to enter the houses or to mix in the acquaintance of those who persecute Christ, or who are ignorant of Him; and in each town to enquire who among them is worthy, i.e.where there is a Church wherein Christ dwells; and not to pass to another, because this house is worthy, this host is our right host. But there would be many of the Jews who would be so well disposed to the Law, that though they believed in Christ because they admired His works, yet they would abide in the works of the Law; and others again who, desiring to make trial of that liberty which is in Christ, would feign themselves ready to forsake the Law for the Gospel; many also would be drawn aside into heresy by perverse understanding. And since all these would falsely maintain that with them only was Catholic verity, therefore we must with great caution seek out the house, i.e. the Church.

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Aquinas, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospel".

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

As a result of this, the King calls, equips, and sends forth His disciples. No work can be done to extend His Kingdom that is not the direct outcome of His compassion. To men in communion with that compassion He first says, "Pray," and then, "Go." This is the perpetual order of the messengers and missionaries of His Kingdom-Compassion, Prayer, Service.

These men are to proclaim the Kingdom, and to accompany the proclamation with signs. The measure of their service is to be the measure of their receiving-"freely." The King forewarns them of persecution, and promises them that before governors and kings the Spirit shall give them the word to speak. All the persecution and misunderstanding will bring them into the truest communion with Him, "the disciple as his Master," "the servant as his Lord." This sense of comradeship with Christ in suffering is the certain cure for its smart.

Then follow words concerning God which are full of the most overwhelming terror, and these are linked with other words perhaps more exquisitely tender than any ever spoken concerning Him. "Able to destroy both soul and body in hell." "Not one of them [sparrows] shall fall to the ground without your Father; but the very hairs of your head are all numbered." With such conceptions of God, who will not dare anything to serve Him?

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John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Verily, I say unto you,.... This was not all the punishment that should be inflicted on such despisers of the Gospel of Christ, and the ministers of it; as not to enjoy that peace and prosperity wished for by the apostles, and to be declared to be on an equal foot with Heathen cities and countries: but they were to suffer everlasting punishment in the world to come; which is here asserted by Christ in the strongest manner, saying:

it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha, in the day of judgment, than for that city. The inhabitants of the land of Sodom and Gomorrha are the rather mentioned, because, as they were very notorious and abominable sinners, so their temporal punishment was well known, exemplary and awful, though not that, but their future damnation is here regarded, of which the Jews made no doubt; for they sayF25Misn. Sanhedrim, c. 11. sect. 3. Hieros. Sanhedrim, fol. 29. 3. ,

"the men of Sodom have no part in the world to come; as it is said, Genesis 13:13 "the men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners, before the Lord exceedingly": they were "wicked" in this world, and "sinners" in the world to come;'

meaning, that by this passage is designed their double punishment in this, and the other world. But though their punishment was very tremendous, and they will suffer also "the vengeance of eternal fire", as Jude says; yet, their punishment will be milder, and more tolerable, than that of the inhabitants of such a city, that rejects the Gospel of the grace of God: as there are degrees in sinning, for all sins are not alike, as the Stoics say; so there will be degrees in suffering; the sins of those that are favoured with the Gospel, are greater than those who only have had the light of nature, and so their torments will be greater. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha, though they sinned against the light of nature, despised the advice and admonitions of Lot, and ill treated the angels, yet will be more mildly punished than the wicked Jews, who rejected Christ, and his Gospel, and despised his apostles, and ministers; because they sinned not against so much light, and such means of grace, and knowledge, as these did; see Lamentations 4:6 which is thus paraphrased by the Targumist, and may be aptly applied to the Jews in Christ's time:

"the sin of the congregation of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overturned in a moment; and there dwelt no prophets in it to prophesy, and turn it to repentance.'

The time referred to, signified by "the day of judgment", respects not the destruction of Jerusalem, which was a very severe judgment on that people, but the general judgment, at the end of the world, which is appointed and fixed by God, though unknown to angels and men. The phrase is Jewish, and often to be met with in their writings, who use it in the same sense; particularly in the book of ZoharF26In Gen. fol 13. 3. & 16. 1. , mention is made of יומא דדינא, "the day of judgment", when there will be no pollution in the sanctuary.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament



Matthew 10:1-17; Mark 2:15-22; Luke 5:29-39. Luke “And Levi made a great feast for Him in his own house; and there was a great multitude of publicans and others who were sitting with them. And the scribes and Pharisees were murmuring to His disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus, responding, said to them, They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Levi is a name of Matthew, the author of the first Gospel. He was a rich Jew, holding the office of publican — i.e., collector of the Roman revenue — living at Capernaum. Jesus passed by one day, spoke to him, and said, “Follow Me.” Unhesitatingly leaving all, he becomes a disciple of our Lord, and was afterward promoted to the apostleship. The publicans, as a rule, were proverbial for wickedness, dishonesty, and popular odium, as the Jews loathed the Roman Government, whose financial officers they were. We see how dearly Matthew loved his unsaved companions. Consequently he makes a great feast, and compliments them with an invitation, at the same time inviting Jesus and His disciples, hoping by this costly festival to bring them under the influence of the sinner’s Savior; thus giving us all an example we would do well to appreciate, also answering the hackneyed question, “How shall we reach the masses?” Give them a kind invitation, like Matthew, to come to a feast especially prepared for them in your own house, meanwhile you do your utmost, by prayer and timely conversation, to win them for God and heaven. We observe the same phenomenon this day which confronted Jesus and His disciples, thus intimately associated with the publicans and sinners at Matthew’s feast; i.e., the scribes (i.e., the pastors) and Pharisees (i.e., the influential and official members of the popular Churches) rejecting, contemptuously, drunkards, harlots, and other notorious reprobates, especially if they have no money. Matthew says: “Going, learn what this is, I wish mercy and not sacrifice. For I came, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” What does our Lord mean by mercy and not sacrifice? When you are utterly destitute, bankrupt, and broken-hearted, there is a wide, open door for Jesus to come in. With this He is delighted. So long as you realize your own possessions, you bank on them, and expect to win Divine favor by your contributions. In this way million’s plunge into hell. God is not poor. He does not need your money, nor anything else you have. He wants you, and not your possessions. Jesus wants immortal intelligence to glorify Him through all eternity.


Mark 2:18. “And the disciples of John and Jesus were fasting. And they come and say to Him, Wherefore do the disciples of John and the Pharisees, and Thy disciples do not fast?” Fasting, in both dispensations, is not only a concomitant, but an auxiliary of prevailing prayer. Elijah, Moses, and Jesus all fasted forty days, Divinely kept in a spiritual rapture, the physical organism abiding in status quo. The disciples of Jesus, during His personal appearance, were an exception to this general rule, because of its disharmony with the power, the glory, and the infinite and extraordinary privilege peculiar to the immediate companions of the Omnipotent Savior; as fasting has a melancholy and lugubrious influence upon its votaries somewhat incompatible with that paradisiacal felicity characteristic of the Divine presence.


“And Jesus said to them, Whether are the sons of the bride’s chamber able to fast as long as the bridegroom is with them? So long a time as they have the bridegroom with them they are not able to fast.” The sons of the bride’s chamber here mentioned as the men who have charge and are commissioned to the work of preparing the chamber in the house of the bridegroom for him to bring the bride into his own home; i.e., the great work of getting the bride ready and the bride chamber in order for the coming of the Bridegroom when He will take the bride to His heavenly home. We are betrothed to Christ in regeneration, and married to Him in sanctification. Jesus makes the application to His own disciples, and especially the twelve apostles, who were then laboring in the evangelistic field, destined soon to broaden out and encompass the whole world; thus calling out the bride from every nation under heaven, getting her sanctified, robed, and ready to meet the Bridegroom. Hence, God’s holy people, preaching the gospel of full salvation to the ends of the earth, “are the sons of the bride chamber,” faithfully laboring to get the bride ready for the Coming of the Bridegroom. Our Lord here fully settles the problem in reference to the expediency of fasting in our dispensation, when He states “And the days will come when the Bridegroom must be taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” Hence you see from this Scripture the pertinence of fasting ever since our Lord ascended into heaven. In His presence there was too much sunshine and glory for His disciples to fast. Since His departure, the widowed Church has not ceased to fast and pray for the return of our Lord.


Luke 5:36. “And He spoke a parable to them, That no one putteth a piece of new garment on an old garment; as in that case the new tears it, and the piece which was from the new does not harmonize with the old. No one puts new wine into old bottles; as in that case the new wine will burst the bottles, and it will be poured out, and the bottles will perish; but the new wine is to be put into new bottles, and both will be preserved.” Every conceivable entity has both an exterior and an interior, which are equally indispensable to its existence. In the lucid and diversified symbolism of the gracious economy we have the most beautiful and perfect elucidation of both of these hemispheres, constituting the grand globe of full salvation. The new patch sewed on the old, thread-bare garment is too heavy and strong. It tears out all the fabric with which it is connected, making the hole several times its former size, and if repeated would actually tear the old garment all to pieces. What are we to do in this case? Let the old garment wear out, and never patch it. Oh! so our Lord has something better for us than the old tagged garment, and wants to take us out of the patching business altogether. He has for us the “best robe,” snowy white, washed in the blood of the Lamb, which will never get old and never wear out. Counterfeit religions are always patching up an old experience. Be sure you get this royal robe, which the King of glory furnishes His faithful bride without money and without price, which will never get old, nor wear out, nor need patching, but will shine with ever-brightening splendor through the flight of eternal ages. The garment represents the exterior of a Christian character, while the wine and the bottle typify the interior. You must keep your mind off the glass bottles of modern times, and contemplate the leather bottles, the only kind in use in the days of our Savior. It is wonderful how the Orientals never change, but perpetuate the customs and institutions of the Bible times. On the streets of Jerusalem, Hebron, Joppa, and all Palestinian cities, we constantly see the water- carriers bending under a whole goat-skin, full of water, thus carrying it from the fountain to supply the various demands. The fermentation of new wine, Increasing its bulk will break the old leather bottle, which is not strong enough thus to endure the pressure. While, of course, these strong metaphors illustrate the fact that Christianity is not simply a patch on Judaism, or some new wine poured into the old Mosaic bottles, but a de novo institution, such an interpretation merely reaches the surface, leaving the grand interior unexplored. The bottle is the heart. In a genuine conversion, God gives you a new heart. (Ezekiel 36:26) God’s work, like Himself, never gets old. Hence the bottle He gives you is always new. Wine symbolizes the Holy Ghost, whom you receive as an indwelling Comforter in sanctification; of course, He can never get old. Therefore you see, with a true regeneration, you get the new bottle, which will never get old; while in the genuine. sanctification, you receive the new wine of the kingdom, which will never ferment nor get old. Hence, you should have nothing to do with the old bottles of a backslidden experience, nor the old wine of a counterfeit sanctification. The reason why the dead, worldly Churches are so timorous of sanctification preached in their pulpits, is because they are afraid the new wine will burst up their old bottles. But that is just what ought to be done. The bottle which the new wine will burst is of no account. The Lord’s genuine new bottles are elastic enough to hold a hundred-fold without detriment. The very thing we need in the fallen Churches is a glorious, Holy Ghost revival, whose first work is the bursting up of all those old bottles, and tearing up their old garments, thus showing them their need of the new. Then what a glorious time for all of us, when they all get new robes, bright and beautiful; new bottles, and all filled with the delicious, sweet, new wine, bright as ever sparkled from the grapes of Eshcol!

“And no one drinking the old immediately wishes the new; for He says, The old is better.” How is this? We find it universally illustrated. The heathens constantly meet our missionaries with the response, “Your religion suits you; but ours is ‘better’ for us.” Roman Catholic hears a Pentecostal sermon, but turning away, says his dead formality and priestcraft are “better.” As Luke says, he does not “immediately desire the new, but says the old is better.” Go into a dead, formal Church anywhere, and preach the living power of full salvation, and the people at first get angry, become sullen, and say their old religion “is better.” Go ahead, wait on the Lord, till these people get pungently convicted, and they will change their mind and want the “new.” Now remember, Jesus does not say “the old is better,” but that dead professor says it, and he is mistaken; for he soon changes his mind, when conviction strikes him like lightning, and takes it all back, turns round, seeks and finds the new bottle — i.e., the new heart — and never stops till he gets it filled with the new wine (i.e., the Holy Ghost), in the rich and glorious experience of entire sanctification.

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament".

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament


Matthew 9:37-38. “Then He says to His disciples, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest, in order that He may send out the laborers into His harvest.” Our Lord, seeing the awful state of the Jewish Church, destitute of competent spiritual guides, going miserably into eternal ruin, and consequently calls on all of His disciples to unite in a prayer to God to send out more laborers into the harvest. This prayer ascends up to Heaven, and receives a speedy answer, so that, instead of a single evangelistic force, He determines to multiply seven-fold, sending out the twelve apostles, two by two, to scour the whole country of Galilee and Judea, moving with all possible expedition, and preaching the gospel in every city and village. O how inconceivably urgent a similar policy this day! N.B. The time has not yet arrived to unfurl the gospel banner to the Gentile world. Hence, all of this evangelistic movement was confined to the Jews; i.e., in the Churches, preaching in the synagogues, as well as to the multitudes in the open air.

Matthew 10:1-42; Mark 6:7-13; & Luke 9:1-6. Matthew: “And calling His twelve disciples, He gave them power over unclean spirits, so as to cast them out, and heal every disease and every malady. Luke says, “He sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” The kingdom of God, or kingdom of heaven, is the Divine government, which prevails among the angels and redeemed spirits throughout all celestial worlds; hell having none of it, and earth a mixture — some, citizens of God’s kingdom; others, the denizens of Satan’s pandemonium.

Matthew “Jesus sent forth these twelve, commanding them, saying, Go not into way of the heathens nor enter ye into a city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” As the Jews were the organized Church of God, and the custodian’s of the Divine Oracles, God’s plan was first to give them the gospel, so they might turn evangelists, and carry it to the ends of the earth. For a similar reason, we should now begin with the Churches, and get all of them saved who will receive the living Word, and then go to the world. You see our Savior repeatedly mentions “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Do you not know that this included the rank and the of the ministry and membership? There were a few honorable exceptions, like Simeon, Anna, Zacharias, Elizabeth, and the apostles. The Divine economy originally contemplated the Jewish Church en masse receiving Christ, and enjoying the immortal honor of heralding Him to the world. This they missed, both preachers and people, except the elect few. In a similar manner, it is the glorious privilege of the whole Church to receive Christ at His second coming; but amid the sad apostasy of the latter days (2 Thessalonians 2), we see that only the elect few will enjoy this transcendent glory. “Going, preach, saying, That the kingdom of the heavens draweth nigh.” This was significantly true, because they were the heralds of the kingdom, enjoying citizenship in the same, and commending it to all others. “Heal the sick, raise the dead.” We have a number of instances, in the ministries of Paul and Peter, of healing the sick; and at Joppa, Peter actually raised Dorcas from the dead. Her tomb was pointed out to me when I was there a few days ago. “Cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Paul at Philippi ejected the fortune-telling demon from a damsel. The genuine, regular work of the Holy Ghost in the gospel dispensation, saving and sanctifying souls, is constantly accompanied by demoniacal ejectment and bodily healing. “Possess neither gold nor silver, nor copper in your girdles;” i.e., do not wait and prodigalize God’s precious time and opportunity in order to get money of any kind, as God can feed and clothe you as well out in the evangelistic field as at home. Have faith in Him to feed you like the birds and clothe you like the lilies. “Nor valise, nor two coats, nor sandals, nor staff; for the laborer is worthy of his food.” Hence, you see, we are to wait for nothing, but go as we are, taking what we have, and trusting God for everything.

“Into whatsoever city or village you enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and abide there until you may depart.” This is not an interdiction of house-to- house preaching; but their time was short, and the work too great to admit of it. Hence they are commanded to find some place with God’s elect, and thence radiate out everywhere, preaching the Word, till they traverse the field. “And going into a house, salute it. And if the house may be worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it may be unworthy, let your peace return unto you.” Salvation is optionary, and never goes begging. God is infinitely rich, and can get along without any of us. “Whosoever may not receive you, nor hear your words, going out from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Truly, 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.” When we go to a people and offer them the gospel, we have done our part, and will be rewarded in eternity as if they had received it. When they reject our message, they relieve us, and assume the responsibility of their own damnation. Sodom and Gomorrah were Gentile cities, in the beautiful, rich, and productive Vale of Sidim, which were destroyed for their wickedness, the very site they occupied being now covered by the Dead Sea. These heathen cities never had the opportunities of the Jews and the Christians. Consequently the latter, who reject the gospel, will sustain a more grievous responsibility in the judgment-day, and sink to a more terrible doom in the world of woe, than the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, with all their dark vices.

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” The serpent is the symbol of Satan, who has a wonderful intelligence, shrewdness, and cunning; while the dove is the symbol of the Holy Ghost, full of innocent, sweet, regenerating, and sanctifying love, and ready to pour it out into every penitent, believing heart. “Harmless” is akeraioi, from akeranumi, from a, “not,” keranumi, “to mix.” Hence the word means unmixed, the strongest statement of entire sanctification. Sinners are full of unmixed evil; holy, sanctified saints are full of unmixed good; while unsanctified Christians have a mixed experience, the pure love of God in a heart which is not free from depravity, but needs the second work of grace to eliminate it all away, leaving nothing but the pure love of God to fill the sanctified heart. We see from this commandment that, while we are to be innocent, holy, and faithful, trusting God for everything necessary to soul and body, we are still to carry with us the good, common sense with which we are born, and to utilize all the intelligence God gives us, “watching” lest we enter into temptation. Ministerial failures are constantly being made, simply because people do not use their common sense. “Beware of men; for they will deliver you up unto the Sanhedrins, and scourge you in their synagogues.” You see how they arrested, beat, and imprisoned Paul and Silas. “And you shall be led before governors and kings, for My name’s sake, for a testimony to them and the Gentiles.” Whereas the former clause specifies Jewish punishments and persecutions, this gives those they will encounter among the Gentiles; e.g., Paul, at Paphos, on the Isle of Cyprus, testified, when arraigned before Sergius Paulus, and won him; but when, in a similar manner, at the tribunal of Felix, another Roman proconsul, at Caesarea, he testified; but Felix rejected.

“But when they may deliver you up, do not he solicitous, how or what you may speak, for it will be given to you in that hour what you shall say; for it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father who is speaking in you.” Wonderful has been the testimony and preaching of the martyrs, in all ages, when brought face to face with the burning fagot or the blood-thirsty lion. This Scripture has been most wonderfully verified, the heathen historian’s of the first three centuries certifying that the testimony of the dying martyrs often won their own murderers, so that they embrace the Christian religion, likewise sealing their faith with their blood. “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and father the child; and the children will rise up against the parents, and put them to death.” It has been estimated that two hundred millions of martyrs, during the Pagan and Papal ages, have died for Jesus. You can readily see how families would all be divided during those times of peril and bloodshed, the persecutors requiring them to testify against each other, and even participate in their martyrdom, as the only way of escape from a similar fate. “You shall be hated by all men for My name’s sake; but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Those apostles, to whom He gave this commission and appended these stringent liabilities, all proved true to the end, except poor Judas. Matthew suffering martyrdom in Ethiopia; Mark, in Egypt; Luke, in Greece; James the Elder, the first of all, beheaded by Herod in Jerusalem; and James the Less, at a later date, hurled from a pinnacle of the temple; Matthias, the successor of Judas, suffered martyrdom in Abyssinia; Thomas, in India; Jude, in Tartary; Andrew, in Armenia; Bartholomew, in Phrygia; Philip, at Heliopous, in Syria; Paul and Peter, at Rome; and John, miraculously delivered from martyrdom in the caldron of boiling oil at Rome, and, as we believe, finally translated into heaven without seeing death.

“And when they may persecute you in this city, fly into another.” Thus you see, the people of God who bear this message of love and grace are not to use carnal weapons in self-defense, but run away, trusting the Lord for another open door. “For truly, I say unto you, That you may not complete the cities of Israel, till the Son of man may come.” You must remember, the immediate commission of these apostles, under which they are now going out, is restricted to the Jews, that restriction being removed when our Lord ascended, and the Holy Ghost fell on them, qualifying them for the conquest of the world. They are only gone out about three months in these duets, traversing the territory of Israel, till they return to the Lord, and accompanied Him the ensuing year of His ministry. N.B. The Mount of Transfiguration was really a prelude of the Lord’s second and glorious coming. This they actually witnessed in a few months from that date, thus verifying this mysterious declaration, as they had not yet gone over all the cities of Israel till the Son of man did actually come in adumbration on the Mount of Transfiguration, thus preliminarily revealing to them His second and glorious coming.

“The disciple is not above his teacher nor the servant above his lord.” Where we have “Master” so frequently in E.V., the word didaskalos, the noun, from didasko, to teach, hence it literally means a teacher. Jesus is the world’s Great Teacher, without whom the black darkness of the pandemonium would envelop it. “It is sufficient for the disciple that he may be as his teacher, and the servant as his lord. If they called the landlord Beelzebub, how much more the inmates of his house?” Our Savior here reveals to all who would be His witnesses, and herald His truth to a dying world, that we must be ready for any fate and disappointed at nothing.

“My rest is in heaven, My home is not here; Then why should I murmur at trials severe?

Come trouble, come sorrow; The worst that can come, Will shorten my journey, and hasten me home.”

Our Teacher and Lord, our great Exemplar, was homeless, destitute, and the world combined against Him, not even permitting Him to live on the earth which He had created. If we can riot accept the situation, and walk in His footprints, we can not be His disciples.

“Therefore be not afraid of them. For nothing has been hidden which shall not be revealed, and secret which shall not be known.” This follows as a logical sequence from the preceding affirmation in reference to the grave, criminal, and even diabolical affirmations which have invariably been adduced against the people of God. The Roman historians, Seutonius, Pliny, and Sallust, have all chronicled the gravest sins and darkest crimes against the Christians during the Martyr Ages of the heathen empire, thus apologizing for the bloody persecutionary edicts issued against them by the emperors. Of course, these historians only recorded hearsay, not claiming ocular testimony in the case. They said of Jesus, constantly, “He hath a demon,” “He is gone mad,” and “He is beside Himself.” They finally killed Him in the most disgraceful method, even hanging Him up between two criminals, notorious for robbery and murder. Similar accusations have been arrayed against the martyrs of all ages, thus signally verifying these prophecies of our Savior. Millions of people have been put to death, under gravest accusations, who, in the judgment-day, will shine like angels, while their accusers and persecutors, who stood at the head of the Church, will be calling for rocks and mountains to fall on them, and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne. While, of course, the primary application of our Lord’s affirmation as to the revealment of all secrets is the ultimate and eternal vindication of His saints, it certainly follows that we should, in this life, become perfectly lucid and transparent to all illuminated eyes, so they can actually look through us, and read the hieroglyphics the Spirit has written on the tablets of our hearts, thus sweeping away the oath-bound secrecy of lodgery in all its forms and phases. “What I say to you in the darkness, speak ye in the light; and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim ye upon the house-tops.” This is a confirmation of the preceding, showing up the thorough transparency of God’s true saints. When filled with the Holy Ghost, secrecy evanesces.

“Be not afraid of those who kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The sainted mother, by her godly teaching, baptized with loving tears and fired with the prayer of heavenly inspiration, should put the hell-scare on her infant so thorough that the tomfoolery and superficialism of the popular religion, which brings a polar iceberg into the Church to melt in hell-fire, can never be able to obliterate; but an early conversion will only add expedition to the race-horse speed with which you are running from an open hell and an unchained devil, and sanctification give you eaglewings to expedite the velocity of your precipitate flight from the awful, deep-toned thunders of that quenchless damnation which awaits all who, by the intrigues of men and devils, shall fall below the Bible standard of “holiness to the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14.) “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father; indeed, all the hairs of your head are numbered.” The infinite minutiae of the Divine cognizance, absolutely passing by nothing, but taking in everything indiscriminately, are here mentioned as a constant and potent inspiration to us all, peremptorily to settle matters for judgment and eternity by actually getting rid of the devil and everything belonging to him, in the glorious experience of entire sanctification and the constant indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as nothing short of this can actually settle that awful problem, whose solution is the “destruction of soul and body in hell.” “Therefore be not afraid; for you are of more value than many sparrows.” “Perfect love casts out fear.” Consequently the poorest and weakest saint, if true to God, can shout perennial victory from the mouth of hell to the gate of glory.

“Therefore, every one who shall confess Me before the people, I will confess him in the presence of My Father who is in heaven; but whosoever may deny Me in the presence of the people, I will also deny him in the presence of My Father who is in the heavens.” O what a potent inspiration to Christian testimony, semper et bique, “always and everywhere!” The awful delinquency in this duty and depreciation of this glorious privilege, thus turning the Churches into graveyards instead of battle-fields, is the “Ichabod” superscribed on the walls of modern Churchism. In the face of these glorious promises on the one side, and terrific denunciations on the other, voiceless pews are an incontestable proclamation of dead Churches. “Do not consider that I came to send peace on the earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.” The Bible abounds in riddles and enigmas, inexplicable to the carnal mind. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace, and at the same time described as a mounted military General, leading His embattled host into deadly conflict, deluging the world with blood, and heaping it with mountains of the slain. Both of these characteristics are literally true. The peace which He gives only follows a bloody war with sin and the devil, fought under the black flag, which means victory or death. The sword in this passage is the formidable weapon wielded by the Holy Ghost in the extermination of sin and the decapitation of Adam the First

“For I came to divide a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and the enemies of a man shall be the inmates of his own house.” All this is the normal effect accompanying a true work of salvation; Satan’s grip on the people being so tight that he is certain to hold enough to represent him in every family, unless literal miracles of grace flood the home with heavenly conquest and stampede the devils down to hell. Bogus, popular religion makes no disturbance in families and communities, from the simple fact that the devil is not fool enough to waste his ammunition on dead game, as there are plenty of live people to shoot at. Whenever the holiness movement gets so it does not arouse the devil in dead Churches and stir up hell in debauched communities, you may go and write “Ichabod” on its banner, and prepare its winding sheet as quickly as possible, to bury it speedily, before the stench of a putrifying carcass disseminates pestilential malaria far and wide. “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and whosoever does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Here we see illustrated the absolute sine qua non confronting every aspirant to discipleship and heaven; i.e., the utter subordination of consanguinity, affinity, home, friends, and earthly possessions to the great Captain of our salvation. This is the fatal maelstrom into which many a bark has foundered.

“The one having found his soul, shall loose it; the one having lost his soul for My sake, shall find it.” The E.V. here has “life,” instead of soul. The word used by our Savior is not zoe, “life,” but psyche, the regular word for soul. In every instance in the New Testament, where the E.V. has “soul,” the Greek is psyche. Hence I give it just as Jesus said it. While King James’s translators were scholarly theologians, they were not eminent for spirituality, but much on par with the English clergy. I do not think they saw down into the profound depths of our Savior’s meaning in this passage. There never was but one creation of the human race. We were all created in Adam seminally. Hence, in the fall, we all fell with Adam, forfeiting the Divine and receiving the Satanic or carnal mind. James speaks of the “double-soul man.” (James 1:4; James 4:8.) The sinner has but one mind, and that is bad. The wholly sanctified has but one mind, and that is good; while the unsanctified Christian is James’s double-minded man, having the carnal mind in subjugated state, and the mind of Christ, received in regeneration, ruling in his heart and life, but must have the carnal mind sanctified away before he can go to heaven. Psyche, “soul,” is the word used by James. The reason why so few get saved is because they are not willing to travel the death route to heaven. Millions, intimidated by the grim monster, lifting up the battle-ax to decapitate Adam the First, turn away, and travel some other road, which does not require so much self- denial. We are born into the world with an evil soul, which must die, or hell is our doom. Hence this awful test: Unless you are brave enough to die, and take chances for life beyond the black river, your heavenly hope is Satan’s ignis tatuus,

“whose delusive ray Glows but to betray.”

“He that receiveth you receiveth Me; he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me.” Christ bridges the chasm between God and man. Hence the wonderful feasibility of the redemptive scheme. He sends out His saved people to save others. The lost millions of earth have nothing to do but receive us, with our messages of truth and holiness, and in so doing they receive Christ; i.e., the loving, sympathizing Brother, Jesus. But He is not only man, but God. Therefore when the condescending, tender-hearted Nazarene takes you by the hand, behold! the hand of the Omnipotent grips you, lifting you from the lowest hell to the highest heaven. “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet’s reward; he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” O what a thrilling incentive to wide-open door and generous hospitality, ever ready, with joyful enthusiasm, to receive the saints and prophets, whom Jesus sends forth into this dark world to rescue the perishing and save the lost! The reward of God’s prophets and righteous people — what is it? None other than a crown of life and a home in heaven. The departure of hospitality from the Church is the death-knell now ringing from ocean to ocean, pealing out the mournful funeral of the great Protestant denominations.

“Whosoever may only give one of these little ones a cup of cold water to drink in the name of the disciple, truly, I say unto you, Can not lose his reward.” We must remember that God sets great store on little things, appreciating the giver rather than the gift. How these promises should inspire us all to lend a helping hand in the expedition of every gospel pilgrim on his way, publishing salvation to the ends of the earth! “And it came to pass when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in all the cities.” The preceding discourse, delivered by our Savior to His twelve apostles, when He sent them out, two by two, to traverse all Israel with the uttermost expedition, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, should receive the especial and diligent study of all who read these pages. O that He may so pour on you the Holy Ghost, meanwhile, that you may hear His interior voice calling you into the evangelistic field! I assure you, this is the grand incentive inspiring the humble writer of the Commentaries, praying incessantly that all the readers may catch the heavenly flame, respond to the loving call, and enter the gospel-field unhesitatingly.

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament".

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

The Commissioning of the Twelve Apostles ( , Luke 9:1-6) - Matthew 10:5-15 gives us the story of Jesus commissioning His twelve apostles before sending them out. The Twelve are charged to preach the Gospel and heal the sick. They are to entrust the care of earthly provisions to divine providence and bless those who support their ministry.

Matthew 10:5 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:

Matthew 10:5Comments - Jesus would not have sent forth the Twelve apostles in Matthew 10:5 without first training and equipping them, an event that took place in the preceding narrative section of Matthew 8-9. Jesus trained them in the three aspects of ministering healing and deliverance while preaching the Gospel. First, Jesus taught the Twelve that it is God's will to heal every child of God ( Matthew 8:1-17). Second, Jesus demonstrated the authority of His name and He sent them forth in His name ( Matthew 8:23 to Matthew 9:8). Third, Jesus showed the Twelve the necessity of the aspect of faith in the heart of the believer to receive healing ( Matthew 9:18-34). Thus, Jesus equips His disciples for the work of the ministry by teaching them that healing is in the atonement, and that it is implemented through the authority of the name of Jesus Christ through faith in His name.

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

Matthew 10:6Comments - In Matthew 9:36 Jesus has just compared Israel to sheep having no shepherd, weak and scattered. In Matthew 10:6 He now calls them "lost sheep."

Matthew 9:36, "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."

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

Matthew 10:7Comments - In Matthew 10:5-42 Jesus instructs His disciples to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom "as they go." I can see them trying to come up with a sermon or the words to say before they went out into the villages and highways to preach to the people. They would have felt the need to prepare a message before leaving, but as God's servants must learn that the Holy Spirit will always be faithful to inspire God's servants and to anoint them in due season. This is why He had to tell them in this discourse not to worry about what to say, for God would give them the very words to say ( Matthew 10:19). Mark's Gospel, which places more emphasis upon the proclamation of the Gospel, says it better in its parallel passage, "But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." ( Mark 13:11) Mark had certainly seen Peter the apostle preaching under the anointing of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 10:19, "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."

When we compare the verse where Paul gives young Timothy a similar charge to preach the Gospel, we are able to better understand what Paul meant by "being instant in season, out of season."

2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."

Thus, Paul's phrase of "be instant in season, out of season" means to be always ready to speak under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit because He will be their every time to anoint him. Paul was simply telling this young preach from years of personal experience that God would be faithful to speak through him on all occasions and with all types of messages. Young Timothy must learn to let the Holy Spirit lead him on what needed to be said for each occasion, whether it was with reprove, rebuke, or exhortation with all longsuffering and doctrine. For we see Jesus Christ in the Gospel speaking different ways to different people. Some He instructed and encouraged because of their good hearts. Others He rebuked because of the hardness of their hearts. While others He corrected because of their simple ignorance.

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

Matthew 10:8Comments - Note that Jesus had been performing miracles of healing and casting out devils in chapters 8-9. Therefore, the disciples had been taught how to do it by this time in Jesus" ministry. Jesus did not tell His disciples to pray for the sick, but rather, to heal the sick. They were to take the name of Jesus and take authority over every sickness and disease they encountered, without doubting any situation was too hard for the authority of the name of Jesus ( Luke 10:17). Jesus Himself has been training the Twelve by demonstrating His authority over every realm of creation. He now expects these disciples to go do the same.

Comments - We are Called to Set the Captives Free- Jesus called His disciples to do more than preach. They were to set the captives free. It is the same for us today as God's servants. Note Jeremiah 23. Also:

Ezekiel 34:4, "The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them."

Matthew 10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

Matthew 10:9Comments - The currency of this time consisted of coins made of gold, silver and copper.

Matthew 10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

Matthew 10:13Comments - In a similar way that the early apostles were instructed by Jesus to let their peace come upon the home of their host ( Matthew 10:13), so did Paul the apostle opening every one of his thirteen New Testament epistles with a blessing of God's peace and grace upon his readers.

Matthew 10:14 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.

Matthew 10:14Comments - Jesus left Nazareth and moved to Capernaum because His home town rejected Him.

Matthew 10:15 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.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

15.] The first ἀμὴν λέγ. ὑμ.; with which expression our Lord closes each portion of this discourse.

ἡμέρα κρίσεως, the day of final judgment, = ἡμέρα ἐκείνη, Luke 10:12. The omission of the articles does not alter the definiteness of the meaning; as in the case also of υἱὸς θεοῦ. See note on ch. Matthew 4:3.

It must be noticed that this denunciatory part, as also the command to shake off the dust, applies only to the people of Israel, who had been long prepared for the message of the Gospel by the Law and the Prophets, and recently more particularly by John the Baptist; and in this sense it may still apply to the rejection of the Gospel by professing Christians: but as it was not then applicable to the Gentiles, so neither now can it be to the heathen who know not God.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 10:15. γῇ σοδ., κ. τ. λ.] the land (those who once inhabited the land) where Sodom and Gomorrah stood. The truth of this asseveration is founded on the principle in morals, that the more fully the will of God is proclaimed (Luke 12:47; Matthew 11:20 ff.), the greater the guilt of those who resist it. Notice how the resurrection of the wicked also is here assumed (John 5:29); observe likewise how Jesus’ words bespeak the highest Messianic self-consciousness.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

The Bible Study New Testament

15. Remember this! This phrase always introduces a strong statement. God will show more mercy. These cities were destroyed because of their sins (Genesis 19:1-28). These cities had no opportunity, therefore not the same responsibility, as those to whom Christ and his apostles preached.




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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

In order to understand rightly the calling and mission of the Twelve prior to our Lord’s crucifixion, we need to bear in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ was presenting Himself to Israel as their promised King. God was dealing with them as a nation, giving them full opportunity to acknowledge the claims of His Son. The Twelve were chosen as His messengers to the nation as such, and their ministry, like His own, was primarily to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (vv. 5-6).

The Twelve were disciples before they became apostles. That is, they were learners in the school of Christ before they were commissioned as apostles and sent forth as couriers of the King, to proclaim that the long-looked-for kingdom of the heavens had drawn nigh. Their commission is given in this tenth chapter. It differs considerably from that given at the close of this gospel, after the King had been rejected, and when He was about to return to the Father. This earlier commission had to do with their ministry to Israel only. The later one embraced all nations.

As the King’s messengers to the chosen nation, they were to go forth counting upon the loyal subjects of the King to provide entertainment for them and to further them on their way; hence, they were to go without purse or scrip or other provision, as though for a long journey. If received in peace, they were to preach the gospel of the kingdom and heal the sick, as empowered by the Lord. If rejected, they were to declare that judgment was about to fall and to proceed on their way to other towns and villages. The Lord Jesus forewarned them of the ill-treatment that awaited them in some places, but declared that the heavenly Father would watch over them. After the Cross all this was changed, and they were commissioned to go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations. This commission has never been revoked and is in force today, though it has never yet been fully carried out. If we do not see this distinction, we are likely to become confused, for very opposite instructions are found in the Gospels as to the responsibility of the messengers in each instance. It is true that the great majority in Israel had no heart to respond to the message, but the circumstances were quite different. God had foreseen the rejection of His Son, and His sacrificial death was the very foundation of the divine plan of blessing for the world. But that did not lessen Israel’s responsibility, as Peter declared later (Acts 2:23). It was meet that the offer of the kingdom should first be extended to Israel, for they were, by natural birth, the children of the kingdom. It was to them that the promises had been given, and they looked forward for centuries to the coming of the King and the manifestation of His dominion over all the earth, with Israel as the chosen nation, through whom blessing would come to all the rest of the world (Isaiah 60:1-16). When they refused to bow to the message as given by the Lord and His apostles, the kingdom was taken from them and given to another people (Matthew 21:43).

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. 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. 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. 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. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire 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 off the dust of your feet. 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. (vv. 1-15)

The calling of the twelve apostles was the initial act of a new and wider ministry Jesus had been training them for some time, and they were recognized as His disciples or pupils. Now He commissioned them to go forth two by two to announce throughout all Israel that the kingdom of heaven had drawn nigh.

“When he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power [authority].” These twelve had been with Him for some time. Now He separated them from others of His followers, setting them apart as His authoritative messengers. In verse 2 they are designated, for the first time, apostles-that is, “sent ones,” or missionaries. Their names are given in verses 2-4. Jesus had found them in various walks of life and had summoned them to be His companions in preparation for the great work with which He was to entrust them. All save Judas Iscariot, that is, the man of Kerioth, proved faithful to their trust.

“Go not into the way of the Gentiles.” The King must first be presented to Israel and the kingdom offered to them. It was not until Israel had rejected both that the gospel was sent out into all the world and to all nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8).

“Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” It was to seek these out that the Twelve were to go forth, giving to Israel an opportunity to repent of their sins and to receive their King, and so be prepared to enter into His kingdom.

“As ye go, preach.” Their message or proclamation was a brief one: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this kingdom the nation had been waiting long. Now it was presented for their acceptance or rejection.

“Freely ye have received, freely give.” Miraculous powers were granted to the King’s couriers in order to accredit their proclamation. But they were not to misuse these things for their own enrichment. They were to give of what had been given them, not seeking any return for themselves.

“Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass…nor scrip…neither two coats,… for the workman is worthy of his meat.” The Lord sent forth the Twelve without silver or gold for their expenses, or extra garments to wear. They were the King’s representatives, going to His own people, and so had a right to expect to be cared for by the faithful in Israel who were waiting for the King. As they went from city to city and village to village, they were to inquire in each place who in it was worthy, that is, who was esteemed as a man of piety and righteous life, waiting for Israel’s redemption. In his house they were to seek entertainment. If such was refused, they were to pass on and were to shake off the dust from their sandals as a testimony against that house. Those who received them would find blessing. Those who rejected them would be exposed to judgment-a judgment so severe that what fell on Sodom and Gomorrah of old would be light in comparison. This was because of the fact that light increases responsibility. They had privileges such as the people of the cities of the plain never knew, and their guilt was therefore far greater if they refused to receive the King and dishonored His apostles.

It seems clear that the Lord’s words concerning the afflictions with which these messengers were to be faced go far beyond what they experienced during the short time of their Galilean testimony and were intended to prepare them for what they would be called upon to face when, after the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection, they continued to witness first to Israel, then to the Gentiles. On the other hand, we need to remember that Scripture indicates a future witnessing to Israel by a faithful group of Jewish believers, the wise (or maskilim) of Daniel 12, in the tribulation period between the rapture of the church and the revelation of the Son of Man at His second advent. During that dark hour of Antichrist’s sway, these verses will be the guide and comfort of the witnesses who will then go forth to herald the return of the once-rejected King.

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 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. 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. (vv. 16-23)

“I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Jesus would not have His followers under any illusion as to what was involved in representing Him among a people who had in the past slain the prophets and spurned their entreaties to return unto the Lord. The disciples were going forth to face hostile foes where they might have expected to find cordial friends. Under such circumstances, how much they needed the wisdom that comes down from above.

When arrested and summoned before civil or ecclesiastical courts, they need not be anxious or perplexed as to how they should defend themselves, for “in that same hour” it should be given them what they should speak through the Spirit of the Father speaking in them. The expression “the Spirit of the Father” is an unusual one and does not necessarily imply the full truth of the indwelling Comforter, who was not to come until after Jesus was glorified. Therefore, the Lord uses this rather ambiguous term, but one which, when the new dispensation of the Spirit came, would still be applicable.

They were to be prepared for family misunderstandings and household feuds engendered by faithfulness to Christ. So bitterly is the world opposed to its rightful King that those who are loyal to Him will be hated of all men for His name’s sake, and so they could expect suffering and persecution such as would turn shallow and unreal souls aside; but to the one who endures to the end salvation is assured. This does not imply that we are saved by our own faithfulness or devotedness. All is of grace. But where there is a genuine work of God in the soul there will be final perseverance, whether in the days of the Great Tribulation yet to come or in this present evil age.

Nevertheless, the disciple of Christ is not to court persecution or needlessly expose himself in a foolhardy way to danger. If persecuted in one city, he is to flee to another, even as Paul did in after years when he left Thessalonica for Berea on account of persecution, and later fled from Berea to Corinth and Athens, when the Jews sought to stir up the people of Berea against him.

The last sentence of this part of the Lord’s charge is, as noticed already, difficult to apply unless we see that in the coming hour of tribulation there will be a noble band of witnesses acting upon this same commission. The calling of the church has come in parenthetically for the present. When this special work of God is completed, it will be translated to heaven, and the interrupted kingdom testimony will be continued.

In verses 24-39 the Lord tells of the Father’s care over all those who are content to be identified with Him in the day of His rejection.

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. 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. 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. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 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. 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. (vv. 24-39)

“The disciple is not above his master.” A disciple is a learner. Humility becomes one in that position. As Christ’s servants and disciples, they are responsible to obey His Word. Why should they expect better treatment than that accorded their Master?

“They have called the master of the house Beelzebub.” According to Jewish thought, Beelzebub (a Philistine word probably) was the chief of the demons. There were those who, blasphemously, applied this name to Jesus.

“Nothing covered, that shall not be revealed.” This is a solemn consideration. All hidden motives and actions will be brought into light in the day when God will judge the secrets of men (Romans 2:16).

“Preach ye upon the housetops.” That which they had learned of Jesus in secret, in hours of wonderful fellowship with the Prince of Teachers, they were to proclaim boldly in public places.

“Not able to kill the soul.” The death of the body does not result in the death of the soul. After the body dies, the soul lives on to be reunited to the body in the resurrection, and, in the case of the impenitent, cast into hell. In Scripture the terms mortal and immortal are connected with the body (Romans 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:63). But this does not deny the fact that the soul lives after the body dies, and this is what is commonly meant when men speak of the immortality of the soul. Our Lord’s words in verse 28 are clear and definite as to this. There is that in man which disease cannot affect, which the assassin’s weapon cannot destroy. Man cannot kill the soul. God will deal with the soul of man in His own infinite righteousness.

“Two sparrows sold for a farthing.” A farthing was an infinitesimal coin; yet two sparrows, dressed and spitted, were sold in the markets for this amount. They were used as food by the poorest of the people. Nevertheless, God took note of every sparrow’s fall.

“The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Nothing is too insignificant for God to note, and His care extends to the minutest detail of our lives.

“Of more value than many sparrows.” God cares for all His creatures, but man has a special place in His heart and is valued above all other animate beings.

“Confess me before men.” Christ claims absolute authority over our lives. We are to acknowledge Him openly before others, and He will confess our unworthy names in the day when we are to appear before God.

“Him will I also deny.” If we refuse to own Christ now as Savior and Lord, He will deny us in the day of judgment.

“Not to send peace, but a sword.” This seems like a strange statement in view of the angels’ message at His birth (Luke 2:14). But He foresaw His rejection and knew that the conflict between good and evil must go on until His return. His servants must be prepared to fight valiantly against iniquity.

“To set a man at variance against his father.” The claims of Christ are paramount to all others. His disciples must be prepared to encounter opposition even in their own homes and on the part of their nearest kindred.

“A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” This was true not only as a result of the mission of the Twelve in that day, but also it has been sadly fulfilled throughout all the centuries since.

“Not worthy of me.” If Jesus were less than God, how preposterous would be such claims as He makes here! He demands the supreme place in our hearts. We are to put love for Him before love to father or mother, or sister or brother.

“Followeth after me.” To take the cross is to acknowledge our identification with Him as the rejected One. A man carrying a cross was a man devoted to death. And we are called to die daily in order that He may be glorified in us (1 Corinthians 15:31).

“He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” To live for self is to fail to recognize the purpose of our creation. But if we give up all that men of the world value, for His name’s sake, we gain eternally. Elsewhere the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). These words form an admirable commentary on His teaching regarding saving and losing one’s life. The corn of wheat “saved” rather than planted is really lost. That which is lost by planting is saved in the coming harvest.

The assured reward in store for all who receive Christ’s messengers and aid them in their witness testimony is next set forth:

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, (vv. 40-42)

It is blessed to note how completely the Lord identifies His representatives with Himself; so that to receive one sent by Him is the same as to receive Him, and vice versa. To welcome a prophet as one speaking for God means to share in the prophet’s reward; and the same principle is true in connection with the reception of a righteous man. What is done for the servant is appreciated by the Master. Even a cup of cold water given to one of Christ’s little ones will not fail of reward. He esteems all that is done for them as done unto Him. Who that knows Him would not serve such a gracious Lord with gladness of heart?

Obedience is the test of devotion. If we truly love our Lord, we will be glad to yield all we are and have to Him for service. He has entrusted us who are saved with the message of His gospel. This does not mean that we are all called to be preachers or missionaries, but we are asked to confess Him before men that others may be drawn to Him as we have been. We shall find life at its richest and best if we yield to His call, no matter how great the cost may seem to be. A life laid down for His glory is a life saved. A life given to the service of sin or of self is a life wasted. No sacrifice should be too great for Him who gave Himself for us.

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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. 1914.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 10:15. ἀνεκτότερον, more tolerable) Therefore it is worse not to believe the Gospel, than to imitate the men of Sodom; see ch. Matthew 11:22; Matthew 11:24. There appears to be an hypallage, viz.: that city shall, on the day of judgment, undergo a heavier punishment than the land of Sodom and Gomorrha either endured of old, or shall receive at the judgment. If merely a brief(463) repulse shall be so heavily punished, what shall be their fate who resist more obstinately.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable — more bearable.

for Sodom and Gomorrah 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 those that bear it.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker



Almighty God, do thou now come to us, and, according to the necessity of our heart, grant thy blessing unto us—every one. We are often weary and often are we disquieted by reason of the length and hardness of the road of life; but thou hast provided for us all that we need as we pass from mile to mile of the dreary sand. We look up unto thee with a look that is meant to be a cry, a prayer, an expectation, and we wait upon thee with a patience that is as sacred and dear as a precious hope. Thou dost not disappoint the eyes that look towards the hills whence all true help cometh. Thou dost surprise those who wait upon thee, but never with the littleness of thy replies, always with the depth and breadth and graciousness of thine infinite answers. Thou dost ask us to open our mouths wide and thou wilt fill them: thou dost evermore encourage us to bring large petitions to thee, for they who cry unto the Omnipotent for help cannot ask too much from the arm that is almighty.

Thy grace is very sweet—sweet as honey: yea, sweeter than the honeycomb; and the more the bitterness of our life, the sweeter the solaces of thy love. Enable us to receive thy promises in all the fulness of their meaning, in all their ineffable graciousness, and may no spirit of hesitation or scepticism interpose to hinder our enjoyment of the infinite inheritance of grace which thou hast provided for thy children. We own that we often live in a cloud; many a time we are uncertain of our standing, our senses mislead the soul; we mistake things near for things great, and things in the hand we mistake as precious. Give us the seeing eye, the hearing ear, the true spirit of discernment, that we may look upon things not seen and eternal, and that by the power of an endless life we may triumph in conquest over all the temptations and besetments of time.

Every heart brings its own Song of Solomon, every life is as a censer swung around thine altar today, filled with the incense of a pure offering. The Lord hear every tribute of praise, the Lord himself receive our sacrifice as one that is well pleasing, and return upon us from his broad heavens all the light and grace we need.

If we speak of our sin our tongue shall cleave unto the roof of our mouth, and there shall be no more strength in our joints; we shall tremble and stagger and die before thee. Our sin is blacker than night, our iniquities are more in number than the sands upon the seashore, but we now listen to thy gospel, and it is adapted to all our iniquity. Thine is the gospel to the lost; thine is a cry to those who have gone astray; thy cross, O Man of Sorrows, the wounded of Gethsemane and the dying Man of Golgotha, is lifted up, not for error and infirmity and weakness but for the sin of the world. We are sinners; we say so with bowed heads; we mix no words of defence with our confession; we mourn and lament our iniquities; nor do we seek to mitigate in thy sight the aggravation of our offences. The blood of Jesus Christ thy Son cleanseth from all sin: this is our eternal hope, this is our perpetual joy.

We desire to be led into all truth; dispossess us of every evil spirit, slay utterly with thy sword of light every prejudice and everything in our nature that would hide from us the true shining of thy sun. Help us to love one another, to pity one another"s weaknesses, and to magnify one another"s virtues.

Where it is possible to clasp hands in the union of intelligent and sincere fellowship may every man eagerly embrace the opportunity of attesting the common brotherhood.

Help us in all the difficulties of life; we will not ourselves meddle with them; we wait the inspiring spirit; we abide the all-illuminating light; we will quiet ourselves in the peace of God. Visit our sick-chambers today, see the father or the mother languishing and dying, the little child bidding a premature farewell to the earth of which it knows nothing. Look upon the families in whose households there is a great shadow, a ghastly spectre, a noise without words to express its awful meaning.

The Lord save every man who is trying to be better and to do better; the Lord send sweet gospels like singing angels into his heart, to cheer him and inspire him with immortal hope.

Lord help us every one; our days are a handful, and they are counted for us by men who reckon numbers; may we remember how small is the span of our life, how little and frail our tenure upon our present earthly existence; and, remembering all these things, and remembering too our all but infinite capacity for doing wrong, may we hasten to the cross, may we all be found at the cross, may our home be at the cross, may the centre of our life be the cross, and God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Review of the Whole Charge

Matthew 10

A great missionary campaign was proposed: Jesus Christ himself proposed it. Now what was his idea of such a novel campaign? This is the largest thing he has yet attempted, we may therefore naturally expect to gather from it some hint of his intellectual quality. How does he address himself to great undertakings? What was his intellectual energy, what his moral tone, what his propagandist audacity? How will he grip a great occasion? In studying the Temptation we thought we could discover from his answers the quality of his character, as from the devil"s questions we formed a deduction as to the devil"s nature. Now from this great and luminous Charge, addressed to twelve men in view of a missionary campaign, it is possible we may be able to gather something further concerning the intellectual and moral purpose of the Son of God. To this study I now invite you.

First of all, Jesus Christ sent forth his disciples two and two. That was a shrewd and gracious arrangement. He might have covered double the ground if he had sent them out one by one. It was not his purpose in the outset to cover much ground; he was more careful at the beginning about the men and the strength and utility of their service than about the mere acreage of surface which he was to cover. In due time he will lay his hand upon the whole world; but it is early morning now, the dawn is just beginning to make the eastern sky a little grey, and at the outset he says, "You must go out two and two. The lonely heart is soon discouraged; two are better than one, for if they fall one will lift up his fellow, but woe to him who is alone when he falleth." That was an ancient proverb: it was within the pen of Solomon to write that wise word, and it comes within the range of Jesus Christ"s purpose to take up our little common proverbs and to give their religious applications and religious securities.

Not only did Jesus Christ send forth his disciples two and two, but each two made up something like one whole. It was as if he had put together hemispheres, and thus made a complete globe of character and service. Look at the names. Peter and Andrew. Peter, full of fire, daring, passion, enthusiasm, an impetuous man with a strange faculty of leaping and making beginnings of things without any certainty that he would ever continue them to their completion. Andrew—his very name is a character, his very name is a certificate. If he be other than a man he will be a living irony, for his name means— Prayer of Manasseh, and he was manly in all his conceptions and movements. He was as one who broke up the way with a strong hammer. They will do well together, these two—probably they will not fall out by the way.

The next couple—James and John. James is elsewhere called a son of thunder—a great rousing, violent voice that came in shocks and claps and bursts, and John was idealistic, contemplative; his eyes often settled into a calm, dreamy wonder, and his whole face looking as if his eyes were fastened on God"s great eternity. There will be no occasion of difference between two such men; they are well mated. This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.

The next couple—Simon Zelotes, Simon the zealot, Simon the hot coal, Simon the fervent Prayer of Manasseh, all fire, clothed with zeal as with a garment, and Judas Iscariot, cold, calculating, shrewd, representing the secularistic, administrative, executive side of things. If any man could go with Judas, Simon is the man to accompany him; if Judas can be trusted in any company, it was well to bind him to the fire. If there is purification and disinfection to be had anywhere it is in the red flame—so potent is fire.

What think ye of Christ? He did not allow the men to go out two and two just as they pleased, but two and two as he pleased. He setteth the stars in their places; he fixeth the bounds of our habitation; there is a balance in his hand, and he goes into the detail of every economy he administers. The very hairs of your head are all numbered, and he who watches the night lamps of the heavens watches the small birds that fall upon the earth. We may repeat, therefore, that in this arrangement there was at once great shrewdness and great grace. Is it not a fact well attested amongst ourselves that some men ought never to be thrown into association with one another? Each of the men is good, but they ought never to have come into nominal union. They do not understand one another, they are out of sympathy and rapport, they cannot comprehend one another"s purposes and impulses, they are, perhaps, too much alike to be agreeable the one to the other, or there may be something about their dissimilarity which does not admit of immediate reconciliation; there is a want of adaptation between the two, and yet the character of each may be excellent. Matches are made in heaven in the widest sense. God knows all about the law of harmonies and companionships, and he is the wise man who waits till the colleague is found in heaven. I ask you, therefore, in the beginning of this study, to estimate this arrangement as affording some illustration of the compass of mind which proposed this great missionary campaign.

The next point which is illustrative of the character of Christ is in the fact that he impoverished the disciples materially, and enriched them to infinitude of redundance spiritually. Never was master so severe with servant as to all material possessions and equipments. Christ"s charge was a process of stripping in the first instance. No man was to have two coats or two staves; he was to take neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in his purse; everything that could be taken from a man was stripped from him by the very hand that sent him forth. There was no encouragement on the material side; no bribe, allurement, inducement, or promise was given on the side that was purely secular and worldly. And yet, on the other hand, as to the enrichment of the men, why, all heaven was placed at their disposal spiritually. They were to have inspiration, speech, comfort, at every point; nothing was withheld from them that could give them solace and ennoblement and quietude and the positive triumph of security. He was a statesman, he took a view that was bounded only by horizons, his plan was a firmament. Our little plans are broken arcs of his great circle. We are indebted even for the little arcs we draw to the great circle which he described. Remember there was no missionary society when Jesus Christ uttered this charge; there was nothing to go by; there was no hint in any human mind of such a scheme as this. We must therefore divest ourselves of all the conceptions and prejudices which they have gathered throughout nineteen centuries, and set ourselves at the chronological point of Christ"s planning and thinking, if we would rightly estimate his method of spreading a Christian gospel.

In the case of Christ, poverty was to become a kind of holiness. To have two coats was to break a vow, to have two staves was to be suspected of disloyalty, to have a look of having anything of your own was to be brought under the suspicion of distrust in God. Outward grandeur would have clashed with spiritual nobleness and aspiration. To make the case clearer upon that side, Jesus Christ not only stripped the disciples of everything in the form of an encumbrance, but he further depressed the materialistic side by telling them that they would have blows, taunts, insults, scourgings, hatred of all men for his name"s sake. This was a tremendous depression of the material side, an infinite discouragement to Judas Iscariot. It is the same today.

What think ye of this Man? We move by making great promises, we inspire by bribing, we encourage by enriching, in a material and physical sense. But Jesus Christ stripped every man of the twelve of everything that looked like encumbrance, or ornament, or personal security, and sent him forth with nothing but—God. His kingdom was not of this world, his masonry was not a building up with stone, his purpose was a great spiritual one, and evidently, from this very inception of his plan, he means the spirituality of his kingdom to be distinctly revealed to every eye. The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, the kingdom of God is not a material success, the kingdom of heaven is within.

Then look, in the third place, at the kind of homage which he claimed. It was preposterous, if not divine. There was no other name for it than the name that describes its ridiculousness, if it was not a divine claim. Father and mother must go, sister and brother must be surrendered, houses and land must be abandoned, the world reduced to one pair of sandals and one stout staff. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. He that loveth sister or brother more than me is not worthy of me. Except a man hate his father and his mother in comparison with me, he is not worthy of me. He that taketh not up his cross daily is not worthy of me." He himself was the one inspiration of the disciples, his name the only name they knew or were called upon to breathe; this was the homage he demanded—no oath in mere words, no vow spoken into the vacant air, to be lost in its ample spaces, but direct, positive, complete surrender. I do not ask you to form any opinion of the homage itself at this moment, but to form your estimate of a man who, in ordering twelve men to do a work, says that if he is not supreme beyond father, mother, sister, brother, houses, land, any man who professes to do his work does it with hireling fingers, with a mercenary and dishonourable soul.

It was a bold claim, and it was most graphically expressed. This was not the way in which an impostor would have moved; he would have sought by guile, and promise, and. bribe, by all the tricks known to imposture, to have endeared these men to the cause he wished to propagate. But the impostor has no cause which he wishes to propagate except the cause of himself. Jesus Christ had this great cause to propagate—the kingdom of heaven, as first seen in the cleansing of the lepers, the healing of the sick, the blessing of the unblest, and the sending of a plentiful rain upon lives that were perishing with thirst.

There was another point in his charge that must reckon in the great argument, and that was the command to avoid all religious mystery, and monasticism, and jugglery, in founding the new kingdom. "What I tell you in darkness or in secrecy, face to face, in this private interview, that speak ye in light, and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops." There are no little corners and monastic enclosures and priestly confessional boxes in this great kingdom of Christ. This is no branch of the black art, this is not a question of attainment in priestly mummery and symbolic representation, and things that can be only penetrated and expounded by the initiated and the learned. This is our conception of the kingdom of heaven, and we believe it to be Christ"s own, that the Book revealing it is open to everybody, that the Book can now be read in our mother tongue, and that every man is responsible to God directly for the use which he makes of that Book. Herein I rejoice to believe that we have the truth of God. You may know about it as much as I do, if you will attend to it with your whole soul, and study it with your whole affection. I do not believe in any ministerial class; there is no minister that knows more or needs know more than the plainest man in society, except it be by some specialty of intellectual gift, or by some opportunity of closer literal study; but as to all that is essential, substantial, vital, in the gospel, I would as lief you consulted the man who sweeps the floor of the church as consult me in my purely Song of Solomon -called "professional" capacity. I have no profession; if I have not a vocation then I am nothing in life. We are all ministers; some are speaking ministers, some giving ministers, some sick-visiting ministers, some quiet sympathetic ministers, but all the Lord"s people are prophets, and we are only in the apostolic succession so long as we succeed to the apostolic spirit and to the apostolic doctrine.

The ministerial class must be put down and discouraged by the true spirit of Christian Protestantism. The ministerial class spirit may become the curse of Christendom. I would have everything done in the light; I would have what is called a "layman" preside at the Lord"s Supper as certainly as I would have any minister that ever was garbed in the official clothing of the Church. Go directly to your Bible and to every honest man you can meet, and get light from all quarters, and know ye that the Church does not represent some little secret trick, some art of spiritual conjuring, but is an infinite gospel of love, welcome, hospitality, lo those that are lost.

He was no mean man who delivered this great Charge which we have thus from time to time read and studied. He was a grand man. There is no paltry idea within the whole compass of his Charge. There is no heel that can be wounded in this Achillean address; every word is sublime, and the whole purpose is beneficent. I ask you to call this Man Saviour, Lord, King, Priest, and from this day to say you fall within the inspiration of his charge, and will be the soldiers of his cross. The Church is nothing today if she be not inspired. I will not listen to any toothless old Church that does but mumble a literal creed. The Church must lay her claim upon my attent on by her inspiration, by her power to touch my heart"s disease, my life"s sharpest pain, my soul"s bitterest accusation. Do not let us go forth with symbols and signs and fine traditions, and grandly outlined and highly elaborated faiths and creeds and professions; but let the world feel that we have an answer to all its charges, a reply to all its inquiries—

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. 1885-95.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker



Almighty God, our life is a continual cry unto thee; thine ear is besieged with the prayers of men. We are for ever in want, our experience is a cry to be somewhat more than we already are. This is not discontent, this is the joy of being yet unsatisfied. Thou hast more grace to give, more light to shed, broader and grander revelations thou hast yet to disclose, and we feel the joyous pain of a hunger that is about to eat, and the welcome grateful fire of a thirst that may quench itself in the river of God. May we never be satisfied, may we never be dissatisfied, may we forever be unsatisfied, yearning for more, longing to be more, and to do more, and to see more. Thus may our soul"s life be a continual growth, an eternal expansion, a yearning after the infinite, receiving continual answers according to each day"s necessity.

We bless thee for a book that is like a store of living seed: let it be planted deeply in the heart"s ground, honest and well-prepared, and behold it will rise up in due time a golden harvest, too large for any storage room we have. May the word of Christ thus dwell in us richly, not in the seed only, not in the letter alone, but as a seed that is sown, as a letter that is understood and has grown in all its spiritual blossoming and fruitfulness, and may we thus, in a high and ever widening consciousness of thy presence, grow in grace. Leaving all narrowness and selfishness, all bigotry and exclusiveness, may we know that the end of the commandment is charity, and that we have nothing if we have not love—that whatsoever we may have in our head if our hearts be not large enough to encompass the world, we are trees twice dead and plucked up by the roots. Teach us this great lesson; thy Church cannot learn it, thy Church is dead, thy Church has gone astray, we have lost our love, our charity is dead.

We pray thee to receive what we can give of humble praise for all thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses. Thou art always before us and right above us, far beyond our song as the light is far beyond the birds which sing in its lustre. Still we would be praising thee; feeble and halting as our song is we cannot keep it back; when we see thy mercy we must respond to it, when we feel the glow of thy love there must be an answer in our heart, and when speech fails us to set forth infinite fire in cold words, then do we take to singing and making melody in our hearts, the higher speech, the speech which thou dost understand.

We come before thee with every power bruised, with every promise neglected, with every commandment broken, feeble in our knees, and our hands hanging down in impotence, our heads bewildered, and our hearts divided. Behold us in this hospital—sick, wounded, diseased, blind, crippled, with nothing to show but our poverty, with nothing to declare but our sin and our penitence; and whilst we mourn our sin, come to us and show us that thy grace has more than provided for us, that the almightiness of God is in excess of the feebleness of man; that where sin abounds grace doth much more abound; that the blackness of our life shall be utterly taken away by the blood which cleanseth from all sin.

Thou knowest what we need. We are getting older—we would become better; the days are flying—we would write some deeper thing upon them than we have yet inscribed; our opportunities of usefulness are dwindling, and we would arise and work like men who see the sun is going down. The Lord help us in all high purpose, in all noble resolution. The Lord purify us with flames of fire from heaven, and baptise us every day with the Holy Ghost.

Enlarge us, for we are small; kindle a great light in our intelligence, for we trim our lamp with our own fingers, and feed it with our own oil. O, that we might live in the sun, and stand in the very glory of God! Amen.


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 (the Gentile inhabitants of the country between Judea and Galilee. The prohibition is taken off Acts 13:46) enter ye not:

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. And when ye come into an house, salute it.

13. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

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.

15. 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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

The Uses of Inspired Power

We are now studying the charge which Jesus Christ gave to his twelve apostles or disciples, when he sent them upon their first missionary tour. In the charge we found three things—Power, Service, and Consolation. "Jesus Christ called unto him his twelve disciples and gave them—power." To-day we have to look at the uses to which that power was to be put. Power is another name for duty; the measure of power is the measure of obligation. It was never God"s intention that you should take the power which he gave you and enfold it and lay it aside, to be merely kept in its first state—which indeed is impossible, for power that is not used declines and dies. This we know in our intellectual education, in all the exercises of life—the power which falls into desuetude soon becomes impotence. Whatever power we have, therefore, is meant to be used for the good of others. If we cannot work miracles, we have the power of eloquence, the power of money, the power of sympathy—we are clothed not with less power than that with which the early disciples were invested—it has another aspect, and in some sense it may be turned to other methods and uses, but essentially it is divine power, and it is meant to be expended for the good of the race. It is not a personal possession or a personal luxury only, it is meant for expenditure, for spreading over the largest possible surface, and for accomplishing the largest usefulness.

What is your power? You can speak a kind word, you can illuminate a dark mystery, you can soothingly touch some bitter distress of the heart, you can utter a hopeful word to the man who is in despair, you can sit down and listen sympathetically to the heart that has a long tale of wonder or of woe or of bitterness to tell. Find out what your particular personal power Isaiah, and understand that wherever power is given, duty is implied.

Jesus Christ always used his power beneficially. When all power was given to him in heaven and on earth, how did he employ it? I know of no words more sublime in their moral pathos than the words which he used when he declared that all power was given unto him. He mentioned nothing about destruction. He made no reference to retaliation, he did not say, "All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth, therefore gather mine enemies together that I may consume them with sudden fire." Pause and hear what he has to say, and tell me if ever logic was surprised into such sequences as in the case of his great speech. "All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth—go ye therefore." You call the word therefore a logical word, you say it indicates a sequence, and unites what is coming with what is gone. Observe into what wondrous breadths this therefore expands itself. "Go ye therefore and teach." That is the true use of power—to educate, to teach, to communicate ideas, to build up a spiritual kingdom, to deliver men from darkness and error and narrowness, and to lift them up into a larger self-hood. Such is the purpose of Christianity, and whilst the Church holds her faith to that intent, whoever speaks against it but wastes his own breath.

Let us now hear what Jesus Christ says to his twelve disciples when he sends them forth. He says in verses nine and ten—"Provide neither gold nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves." That is the way to go missioning. That is the way to evangelize the world. He never amended that method, he never said a single word about outfits and guarantees and supports and home refuges in the case of foreign disappointments. It is the method that must be adopted today if Christian men are in earnest. Go to foreign lands with nothing—nothing but yourself and God. Do you want to be a missionary to barbarous lands—to savage people? Then go at once and tell no one about it "But I cannot pay my passage." Then work it. Pull ropes, carry chains, keep fires—work it, or you do not mean to go. "But I must have time to buy an outfit." On what compulsion must you? You are not a missionary. If you had the fire of God burning in you and wanted to go to reclaim the moral wastes of the world, you would be off! You would not need to go and converse with your minister about it, and consult a number of elderly persons concerning it, and to go around certain circumlocutionary paths to come to it—we would ask "Where is he?" And by-and-by the answer would come, that Christ had sent you forth, without scrip or purse, or shoes, or coats, or staves. The Church now goes respectably, well equipped—the Church now goes to taste the ill-smelling dish of heathenism, and if its nostril be offended by the flavour, it comes home.

That kind of energy, if energy it may be termed, will never conquer the world. If Christ has called you very closely to himself, and has told you to go and be a missionary, then go. The Norwegians are following in this matter the counsel and will of Christ. They went into India and said to the people with whom they came in contact: "We have come to teach you Christianity." "Who sent you?" "Nobody." "What have you to live upon?" "Nothing." "How do you mean to live?" "We mean to do you all the good we can, and we are sure you will not let us starve." "But if we have nothing?" "Then we will have nothing along with you." There was no answer to that argument. The Norwegians meant it, sat down and did it. Now, my young friend, you who are talking about going to be a missionary, why do you not start off on your beneficent journey at once? You may be killed if you touch mechanism; the machinery of the Church is now so complicated that if you do not take care some crank or wheel will catch you, and in you will go, and you will never come out again.

This is exactly how Christ himself came. "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant." Just what I told you now to do—take upon you the form of a sailor, work your passage out to the land you want to go to, and Christ will go along with you, and you shall not have gone much over the land till the Son of man be come. He comes in strange ways, in great broad lines, in swiftly expanding consciousness of his presence, by filling the mind with new brightness and the soul with new emotion, and lifting up the life to higher and diviner energies. It is not the case of sending men into Christian cities to speak to the Christian intelligence and the Christian luxury of the age. We are talking to the intelligence, and culture, and wealth, and social influence of the metropolis. That is not the case described in the text. We are men who profess to know the truth and to love it, and we have established amongst ourselves constituted and permanent ministries of the truth. We must, therefore, not apply to ourselves passages, directions, methods, and schemes which were suggested in reference to nations that knew not that Jesus Christ had come.

Jesus Christ, therefore, appears before us as a man who undertakes a great work, upon conditions which cannot be disappointed. He wants only meat, and there is something in human nature that will not let the earnest man starve. The workman is worthy of his meat. Go where you will, earnest Prayer of Manasseh, you shall have bread enough and to spare. Not, perhaps, to day, but to-morrow you will have more than sufficient, and that you can keep for the day that is to follow, or give it away as you please. But you cannot show disinterestedness, the passion of enthusiasm, the divinity of absolute consecration, and be left to starve. There are always kind hearts, open houses, thoughtful minds, liberal hands; God has his elect everywhere—out of hell. Our care must be about the truth; God will take care about the bread. If Jesus Christ had set up a missionary scheme with most intricate, and complex, and expensive mechanism it would have come to nothing, but its conditions are so simple, so heroic, so grand and so perfectly exemplified in his own person, that they apply to all times, lands, climes, and social conditions, and national and world-wide necessities.

In sending men forth to their duty, Jesus Christ shows them clearly what they will certainly have to bear. He does not promise them a downy pillow, he does not promise them genteel society, he does not offer to them any social bribe; he says, "You will be like sheep in the midst of wolves, they will fall upon you, break your bones, suck your blood; ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake. The brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child, and 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." There is no mistaking the lot of the true Christian evangelist. He has a hard time of it. Goodness is always hateful to evil; the beasts that gather together in the nighttime hate the light—you torment them if you turn a sudden blaze upon them, for they hasten and fly, and gnash their teeth, and display animosity and resentment. Goodness can never establish itself anywhere without a battle. Do not suppose that you can lull the enemy to sleep and put up your house, and when you have roofed it, and completed it, and furnished it, can then tell him that it is beyond his strength. The establishment of goodness is a daily battle. You cannot take upon you a new habit without having to fight for every inch of ground you make; you cannot exert yourself to throw off slothfulness or any self-indulgence without having to fight for the end.

What is true in discipline is true in the educational and moral conquest of the world. In proportion as you are free and easy in your methods of going into any company, and taking its similitude and speaking its language, will you have an easy time of it, but if you have a grand programme, a rousing and elevating purpose, you will go as sheep among wolves. Do not imagine that goodness is peaceful. Goodness is controversial. They who "make a desert and call it peace" may never intermeddle with anything that affects the integrity and nobleness of society, and then say that they are living quiet and peaceable lives. Quiet lives they may be, but not peaceful. Peaceful—that is a resultant word, it combines many elements and many considerations, and reconciles into one sweet harmony forces which, taken separately, are among the most combatant energies of the universe. Goodness always sends a sword upon the earth, and kindles a fire, and divides families; sets the father against the child and the child against the father, and the brother against the brother, and kindles a great fire upon the earth. We have succeeded now in putting the fire out, and have come to the age of courteous civilities and tender regard for one another"s evil habits. The old goodness, heaven"s own angel, the Christ-goodness, fought every day, not with a blade of steel but with that keener blade of conviction, enthusiasm, sacrifice, that counted not its life dear unto itself that it might win the battle against evil, and darkness, and corruption.

One would have thought that in sending forth Goodness the angel would have been recognised at once and welcomed with broad and generous hospitality. This historical reception of goodness enables us to answer and destroy a fallacy which is common in modern reasoning. People say, "Show a beautiful example, a beautiful God, a beautiful gospel, and there will be an answer of devotion and homage in every human heart." That has been proved to be false. The example is not enough; men are not saved by spectacles: we need something higher than a spectacular gospel. Men get used to beauty, and theirs is a familiarity which is followed by contempt. There are men amongst us who care nothing for the sunrise; there are men who could gabble in a sunset; there are persons who could chaffer and joke upon the great sea. Understand that surprising miracles of beauty are like surprising miracles of truth—men may become so accustomed to them as to let them pass by without recognition or homage.

Goodness has always had a hard time of it. In proportion as the Church becomes luxurious will the Church become feeble. In proportion as the Church says to the world, "Let us compromise this business and say nothing unpleasant to one another, but sit down and enjoy ourselves as far as we can," the Church has disestablished itself in the confidence and esteem of men, and has broken the trust and vow paid before God"s heaven. A little persecution and difficulty would do the Church good. We have heard of some preachers who would be mighty speakers if they could only be contradicted in the middle of their discourse, but left to themselves they are inclined to maunder, and halt, and become feeble, and monotonous, and pointless. If an antagonist could arise in the congregation and say. "That is not true," such preachers would become different men, every energy a flame, and the whole voice a thunder sent down from heaven.

It is even so with the Church: we have it so much our own way now, the lines of demarcation are broken up, and the old points indicated by Christ of antagonism, and assault, and aggression are, if not utterly obliterated, so treated as to have lost their accent and their force. Only this morning I was reading the old story of Hannibal—one winter in Capua brought about a ruin which the snows of the Alps, the suns of Italy, the treachery of the Gauls, and the prowess of the Romans failed to accomplish. So long as he was a soldier only, stern in discipline, rigorous in his habits, devoted with indivisible strength to his duty, he feared nothing—the setting down of his foot was as a battle half won; but the blandishments and enfeeblements of luxurious Capua sucked the strength out of the giant and left him a common man. The Church has gone to Capua, the Church is wintering in luxurious places—the grand old Church that wrote human names high up above all other human scrolls, martyrs, heroes, leaders—she can now hardly write her name in common ink.

Jesus Christ told his disciples how to treat the cities and towns that rejected the message which they had to convey to them. "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." They mistake Christ who suppose that he is soft, indifferent, easily imposed upon, and who can be treated contemptuously without feeling it. We read of the wrath of the Lamb, the fire of love, the indignation of grace—God"s heart burning like an oven. Jesus Christ here founds his directions upon the grand and indestructible principle which lies at the very base, and forms the very strength, of all high educational purposes. What is that principle? It is that no man has the right to reject truth. He has the power to do it, but not the right. We have liberty to go to perdition, but not the right. You have no right to refuse a just idea, you have no right to shut yourself up in solitude and say, "I will not listen to the ministries of civilization that are going on around me." It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in any day of judgment than for you if you adopt so unrighteous and ignoble a policy. No man has any right to refuse to read a book that will open his eyes and give him wider light than he has yet enjoyed. He may decline a privilege, he cannot thrust from him a right without incurring loss in himself and divine punishment from without. This is not arbitrary doctrine, this is no conception of any individual thinker; all the history of our education and civil progress testifies to the same thing.

What new responsibility this throws upon us! We have not the right to reject truth; we have the right to examine our ministers; we have the right to examine every spirit that comes to us and challenges our attention, we have a right to examine personal credentials and personal authorities, but where any truth is established no man has a right to reject it, and if any man reject a truth, even unwittingly or unintentionally, he shall suffer loss; he himself shall be saved, but very narrowly. If I keep out any part of the sun that can really do my life good, I suffer loss in proportion to the sunlight which I exclude.

Jesus Christ, then, defined the service which his disciples are to perform. In our last address he clothed them with power; today he indicates the field of service, he will next come to us with his sweet consolations and encouragements; he will lower his voice into another key, and speak sweetly to the heart. We saw that it is not enough for a man to have power to do his duty; sheer, dry, hard strength is not enough. The man will come home disappointed; he will not see the result of his labours, and he may cry bitterly for his failure, and it is in that hour of darkness that Jesus Christ will draw him nearer than ever to his hospitable heart, and speak to him in tones of ineffable sweetness the infinite consolations which sustained his own strength when he trod the winepress alone. One remark occurs to me which might have been made under our last discourse, but which might be made appropriately in any connection when speaking of Jesus Christ. In the last verse of the ninth chapter Jesus said, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." In the first verse of the tenth chapter we read that Jesus Christ gave his disciples power, and that he sent them forth with his gracious commands. The Lord of the harvest is to be prayed to that he would send forth labourers; Jesus Christ himself sends forth labourers—was he Lord of the harvest?

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Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. 1885-95.

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Matthew 10:1. He called to him his twelve disciples. Jesus chose twelve that they might sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22:30. And that they might be the twelve foundations and gates of his church. Revelation 21:12-14. But this preference to the twelve did not hinder the extraordinary powers of the Spirit from being conferred on other apostolic men. And who would have thought, when they left their nets, that they should fill eternal thrones? Believer, take courage; thy small beginning will come to a throne and a crown in the issue. God never yet deceived a soul that simply trusted in his word. — Our Lord had now been through a great part of the country, and had called whom he would for the work. They had no concern in their call and elevation: it was the Lord who drew them from the treasures of his providence, and gave them talents and powers to do the work required of them.

Matthew 10:2-4. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. In Hebrew, shallokim, messengers. Our Gothic and Saxon ancestors, having no names of office which answer to those in the gospel, called the apostles “knights,” and afterwards “thanes.” But thane implied dignity, added to knighthood, being often connected with lieutenancy over a county, or a district, for the king. The Romans sometimes called them “legates.”

The first, SIMON, surnamed Peter, after his glorious confession of faith. Matthew 16:18. See the Introduction to his first epistle.

The second, ANDREW, Peter’s brother. The name is Greek, and designates a man by way of eminence, distinguished for wisdom and virtue.

The third, JAMES, son of Zebedee, to distinguish him from James the son of Alpheus. He was the first of the twelve that received the crown of martyrdom, being beheaded with the sword by the command of Herod Antipas, the third of that name. Acts 12:2.

The fourth, JOHN, the beloved disciple.

The fifth, PHILIP, or Philippus, as in Latin; another gentile name, denoting a lover of horses. The jews we find had adopted many heathen names.

The sixth, BARTHOLOMEW, that is, Bar Talmai, the son of Talmai, or the son of him who suspended the waters. Bartholomew carried the gospel to the Indians, where report says he suffered martyrdom. Bartholomew, in this list, falls in exactly as Nathaniel does in the first of John; hence the two names are thought by many to belong to the same person.

The seventh, THOMAS, surnamed Didymus. Baronius says that he travelled to India, where he suffered martyrdom.

The eighth, MATTHEW, whom Mark puts the seventh, but through modesty he puts Thomas as his senior.

The ninth, JAMES, son of Alpheus, often called James the less. He was thrown from a battlement of the temple, and his brains beaten out with a club, by the command of Ananias the highpriest. Joseph. Antiq. book 20. chap. 8. See the Introduction to his epistle.

The tenth, LEBBEUS, surnamed Thaddeus in the Syriac, the better to distinguish him from Judas the traitor, Jude being his first name.

The eleventh, SIMON the Canaanite, or Cananæus, because some say he was a native of Cana in Galilee. But Grotius derives it from the Hebrew surname, קנא, which Luke properly renders ζελωτης, Zelotes, because of his zeal and piety.

The twelfth, JUDAS, surnamed Iscariot, that is, traitor, after he had betrayed the Lord. We find the like surnames among heathen writers.

Matthew 10:5. Go not into the way of the gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; for that would have obstructed their admission into the synagogues. The jews would regard them as unclean. Besides, the jews having the promises, had the first claims. For the present, the lost sheep of the house of Israel afforded them an ample sphere; he who attempts too much does nothing well. To this caution St. Paul agrees, it being meet that the jews should first hear the word of life. Acts 13:46.

Matthew 10:8. Heal the sick. Confirm your mission and doctrine by those divine and gracious works which shall command assent, till men can more leisurely search the scriptures, and examine the superior grace and glory of the new covenant.

Matthew 10:9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass, in your purses. The ancients wore belts or girdles round their flowing robes; and in those ζωνας, zones or belts, they carried their money. Nearly all the critics pause at this restriction, the former times being dissimilar to the modern. There were then synagogues and devout persons like Gaius and Lydia, who received the servants of the Lord. But who now can trust the Lord for bread? We are now forced to send out missionaries at great expense, there being no synagogues to take them in. We pray for native preachers to be raised up in India, and in Africa, who shall go out on the primitive plan, in the spirit of Elijah, and of the holy apostles, and illuminate the dark recesses of the earth with the light of the knowledge of the Lord.

Matthew 10:10. Neither two coats. Two tunics, or upper-coats, as they would encumber the messengers on their journies; for the king’s business requires haste. Ministers of the heavenly world should not be encumbered with earth.

Matthew 10:11. Enquire who in it is worthy. Who is of good report, and whose door sometimes opens to religious men. The rulers of the synagogues generally received public charities. To go to a bad man’s house would give an ill savour to the cause. The blessings of peace resting on that house, and comprising all covenant mercies, will be a full reward for the favours of hospitality. God still blesses the house of Obed-Edom because of the ark, and the descendants of that family shall also be blessed. See Isaiah 44:3. The workman in the harvest day is worthy of his meat.

Matthew 10:12-13. When ye come into a house, salute it. Erasmus says that some old copies of the Greek had the adjection, “peace be to this house;” and that other copies had the words in the margin. The next words, And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it, indicate that the sense is incomplete without it. This, Erasmus adds, is the old Hebrew salutation, shalom lecho, peace be to thee. If this salutation were received with an open countenance, the disciple would know that the Son, the prince of peace, was there.

Matthew 10:14-15. And whosoever shall not receive you, coming with peace, coming with an extra mission, to announce the approach of the Messiah’s kingdom, shake off the dust of your feet against that house, or that city; for if they shall renounce that hope, there is no other hope. It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, the souls that once inhabited the plain, than for that city in the day of judgment, or the day of retribution, when the Roman armies shall come and burn the city and temple of the Lord.

Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be aware that the whole world lieth in the wicked one. Notwithstanding the power of conscience, notwithstanding all their engaging airs of politeness, and all the restraints of covenant grace, when the spirit of persecution is once roused, they will be to you what the wolves are to the sheep. Therefore being weak and defenceless as sheep, be harmless as doves, of which no birds are afraid. Join also to innocence of manners, the wisdom and prudence of the serpents, which in times of danger cover their heads, or retreat and hide themselves in rocks and thickets. Let prudence keep you from parties, let your tongue be unpolluted with slander, and be the fathers and the friends of all committed to your care. The eagle and the serpent are famed for acuteness of sight.

tam cernis acutum Quàm aut aquila aut serpens. EPIDAURIUS.

We must also be as bold as lions, which in ranging the forests and plantations fear no danger, and never turn away in battle. Thus ministers must carry the gospel, and boldly testify the truth, so as to commend themselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. They must neither rashly expose themselves to danger, nor decline the testimony of Jesus when brought before magistrates. See Psalms 58:4.

Matthew 10:17. Beware of men. Beware of the scribes and jewish teachers, who will bring upon you every evil in their power, through enmity of heart, and through the eclipse of their honour. You have therefore the more need of prudence. The same spirit induced the papist bishops to burn the protestant martyrs.

Matthew 10:21. The brother shall deliver up the brother to death. Such shall be the bigotry and enmity against the christian religion, as was exemplified in the treatment of the early christians, Acts 8:4; and more widely so in all the papal persecutions of the reformed churches. Our books of martyrs should still be studied, and often read. But the words that follow are the consolation of the church. The hairs of your head are all numbered: Matthew 10:30. See more on Mark 8:34.

Matthew 10:25. Beelzebub. See on Numbers 32:38. The Greek is, Beelzeboul. The Greeks altered foreign names to agree with their own language.

Matthew 10:26. Fear them not. In this most instructive charge, after preparing the minds of the disciples for the work, our Lord next prepares them to meet danger. This is by faith in God, to whom futurity is without a veil, and who will suffer nothing to happen to his prudent servants but for good. He will develope the plots of their enemies, and number the hairs of their head. How calm is that mind at the worst of times, which can trust and not be afraid. Let ministers often read this admirable code of divine instructions; let them weigh and amplify all the expressions, that fully entering into the Saviour’s views, they may be prepared to do the whole of his blessed will. The reward is temporal and eternal life, both to the preacher and to the good man who receives him. Thus our Lord preserved the lives of his disciples by flight when Jerusalem was taken; while the wary jews who believed on Jesus, but did not confess him openly for fear of the synagogue, were enclosed and perished in the siege. So it shall be with all those ministers and hypocrites who assume and retain a profession of religion for secular interest.

Matthew 10:27. What ye hear in the ear, as a whisper, preach ye on the house- tops. The roofs in the east being generally flat, they often addressed people in the street from the roof or balcony of their houses. By this we learn, that ministers must not shrink from the arduous duties of declaring the whole counsel of God.

Matthew 10:29. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing, a vile price paid by the poor for sin-offerings. Yet not one of them is taken in the snare without your heavenly Father. He will then take more care of you than of sparrows.


Are you aware, oh sanhedrim, forming a semicircle in the temple, discussing traditions, and the accession of proselytes, that your time is short? Are you aware, oh Romans, seated as gods in the senate, and grasping at universal empire, that the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, has begun to break in pieces all the iron power of Rome. “He has chosen the things that are not, to bring to nought things that are.”

He has commissioned twelve young men, without asking your counsel and approbation; holy men, without money, without staff or scrip, to “turn the world upside down.” These men shall travel through the world, and preach without deceit. They openly call the nations to faith and repentance, to embrace the truth, and believe with the heart unto righteousness. They shall form a new empire to fill the earth. They declare that their Master’s coming and kingdom are at hand. Oh rulers, you have but a moment, a short space for repentance. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry with you, and ye perish quickly from the way. Go and greet the ambassadors of peace on the tops of the mountains. Make haste, fall down and worship before the Lord your maker.

If otherwise, prepare war against them; pursue them with fire and sword, and throw them in all places to the lions. He that sits in the heavens shall laugh you to scorn: the Lord shall have you in derision. You will enlarge his kingdom by the dispersion of his flock, and hasten the recoil of war on your own heads. Shortly he will open the sixth seal, Revelation 6:12, and all the bloody fury of civil wars shall drive you to hide in dens and caves of the earth, and call for rocks and mountains to cover you.

Go on, then, oh blessed heralds of Immanuel. Be discouraged at no opposition, neither be afraid of those who kill the body: the martyr’s crown is before you. Your commission is from the throne of the Highest; your endowments are divine; your Master’s presence is with you. Other warriors engage in the uncertainty of battle; yours is the assurance of victory, an assurance confirmed by the conflicts of past ages, which are the pledges of future success. Go on; labour and faint not. The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. Lift up your heads with joy, for after all your tears, and toils, and fights, you shall yet sing with St. Paul, “Thanks be to God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ Jesus, and hath made manifest by us, the savour of his knowledge in every place.” To whom be glory and dominion for ever.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 15. It shall be more tolerable] God can better bear anything than the abuse of his free grace in the offers of mercy. Profligate professors and profane gospellers shall one day wish, "Oh that I had been a Sodomite, that I had never heard a sermon!" or, "Oh that I might hear but one sermon more!" &c. Should Solomon forsake that God that had appeared unto him twice? Good turns aggravate unkindness, and nothing more torments those in hell than to think that they might have been happy had they been worthy their years, as they say.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

The Field of Work

When the disciples go somewhere, they have to inquire if anyone is worth their entering in. Their inquiry must show that they want to enter in with people with whom they find the characteristics of the real disciple. Whoever is worth it is he who fears God, and shows it by taking up His servants in his house.

The house they come to should be approached positively with a greeting of blessing. Any contact with someone starts with a benevolent attitude towards that other person. If that attitude means acceptance of the disciple, then the disciple wishes that house the peace that is his own possession. If, however, the host subsequently reveals himself as an adversary, for example, under pressure from his family, he makes himself unworthy of the presence of a disciple of the Lord.

They don't have to beg if people want to accept them and their words. If there is no opening for the word announced so benevolently at first, it will testify against them. The nature of the message is, that whoever rejects it, will not get a share in it and must be marked as an enemy.

The Lord concludes this section with the serious words "truly, I say to you" to underline the seriousness of the rejection of His servants. He who rejects his servants shall suffer a heavier judgment than Sodom and Gomorrah. These cities have sinned heavily against God and have brought God's judgment upon them. God turned these cities upside down (Gen 19:24-25). Yet their sins are not as bad as rejecting the messengers and the message that come to His people on behalf of the Lord Jesus. His people have a much greater responsibility because God has made His thoughts known to them.

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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Matthew 10:15". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Reception and rejection;

v. 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.

v. 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.

v. 15. 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.

If, after your salutation, the house be worthy of the honor that a servant of the Lord remain there, then your peace, which implies the blessing of the Lord, shall come and rest upon that house. But after all the pains you have taken, your judgment and the information of others may still be at fault; yet your greeting of peace will not have been spoken in vain, rather it shall be returned to you, to bless the speaker coming with the Lord's good will. The unkind treatment, however, shall in no case provoke you. Nevertheless, the mode of action in such a case, when both the house selected for a center of work and the entire community concur in rejecting the Lord's apostles is prescribed. He speaks with great emotion, as the form of the sentence shows. There is an absolute cutting-off reserved for people guilty of such rejection. The symbolical act of shaking off the dust from the feet or shoes to signify utter rejection of the unclean, to be done, not in the spirit of irritation nor of vindictiveness, but in the sorrow which undoubtedly filled the Lord's heart at the thought of such blindness. The vengeance upon such a city will be taken over by the Lord Himself. Even Sodom and Gomorrah, types and examples of the punitive justice of God, would not be so utterly rejected at the final judgment as will be the inhabitants of a city or village that refuse admittance to the servants of Christ and deliberately cast away the offered grace of the Redeemer. So highly Christ values the good tidings, the Gospel-message He commissioned the twelve to preach. Unbelief is the sin of sins.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". 1921-23.

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

             3. Special Direction of the Apostles to pious households. Reception and Rejection.   Matthew 10:11-15

11And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence 12 And when ye come into a [the, τήν] house, salute it 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you 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 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.


Matthew 10:11. Inquire who in it is worthy.—A still further limitation. They were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and to inquire who among them were worthy, i. e., susceptible, or pious Israelites. This question could only be answered according to objective marks, as the Searcher of hearts alone knew their state and disposition.

And there abide.—Continuance in a place, the formation of a centre, so to speak, in opposition to transient and broken activity.

Matthew 10:12. And when ye come into the housei. e., the house of him who is worthy (Meyer)—salute it.—The common Eastern salutation had in this instance a twofold meaning;—1. being an offer of spiritual fellowship in the peace which they bring to the worthy; 2. being addressed to the whole household, for the sake of the worthy person who was at the head of it.

And if the house be worthy.—Not of your salutation (Fritzsche), but of your abiding (Meyer).—Let your peace come upon it.—The Lord Himself ratifies by His peace, their salutation of peace.—Let your peace return to you;—i. e., it shall be taken from that household, and returned to you. That household itself shall become poorer, but the disciples shall be all the richer and more joyous. But the expression also indicates that no further fellowship should be held with such households, Isaiah 55:11.

Matthew 10:14. And whosoever.—The word, whosoever, refers to persons who were worthy, as being the representatives of worthy households and towns. The meaning, however, is not, that on the first failure they were to avoid a house or a town, but, that if they were personally not received, they should leave first the household, and then the town. Of course, even the first failure would appear ominous, as the disciples had previously made the necessary inquiries. “To shake off the dust of the feet,—a sign of contempt, as in the case of the heathen. The Jews taught, pulverem terrœ ethnicœ ex contactu inquinare. Lightfoot, Horœ, 331. Mishna, Surenhusius vi. Wetstein, comp. Acts 13:21.” Meyer. But the action must be regarded rather as symbolical of complete cessation of all fellowship, of renunciation of all influence, and hence as an announcement of impending judgment, but not as a mark of contempt. The explanations of de Wette—“have nothing to do with them,” and of Ewald—“calmly, as if nothing had happened,” fall far short of the import of the passage.

Matthew 10:15. The land of Sodom;—i. e., the inhabitants of those doomed cities. The higher the spiritual offer rejected, the greater their sin. In Sodom, only the weak testimony of Lot had been heard; but to reject the Evangelists, marked the climax of guilt ( Matthew 11:20; Luke 12:47).—Unbelief is a second fall ( John 3:36).


1. These directions of the Lord imply a telling argument against extreme individualism, and for the extension of the gospel blessings over whole households. The Lord sends His disciples to worthy heads of families, and, through them, to their whole households. On account of the worthiness of the head of the family, the whole household is generally received into spiritual fellowship. And although there may be divisions in the house with reference to Christ  Matthew 10:35, even these prove that, in itself and in its nature, the family must be regarded as a spiritual unit. Nowhere do we meet in such cases with a distinction of believing and indifferent persons, but only with that of believing and unbelieving; it is not majors or minors, but friends or foes of Jesus. The latter break up the natural unity and fellowship of the family. Thus the proto-evangel was destined for the house of Adam; the ark contained the household of Noah (although Ham formed one of them); the promise was to Abraham and his household; and circumcision was the bond of unity for the house of Israel. Similarly, the Apostles planted the Church in believing families ( Acts 10; Acts 16; 1 Corinthians 1:16). The question, whether in every case children were baptized or not, is comparatively of little importance. The Anabaptist principle overlooks the Divine institution of the family, and its import in the Church, the interchange between spiritual and natural communion, and the idea of extended personality, the germ of the Church, which every apostolic household formed ( 1 Corinthians 7:14).

2. First rule: To inquire for those who are worthy (not to go by haphazard). Second rule: To salute a worthy household—to receive them into the fellowship of evangelical peace. Promise; comfort. Third rule: To break off fellowship, and to announce judgment, in case they were not received. Yet not rashly. It is said, “Whosoever shall not receive you” (i. e., decided rejection), “nor hear your words” (where this also is decided), then only, etc.—Hence, either the baptism of the Spirit or that of fire [of judgment]. One of the two must come.


First object of interest to the messengers of Christ when entering a city or town.—Apostolical inquiry for the best lodgings.—We may learn even from unbelievers who are the pious.—Who is worthy of Christ’s message of peace?—How Christ has converted the common salutation into an evangelical message of peace.—“There abide till ye go thence.”—The disciples sent to the family.—To salute the house, means to receive it into fellowship.—The salutation of the disciples is the blessing of the Master.—The gracious house.—Your peace shall return to you: 1. Unbelievers will not keep it; 2. it will be added to the believing messengers: they shall not be cast down, but encouraged.—To shake off the dust of the feet, as the expression of solemn separation: 1. An expression of calmness, of freedom, and of purity; 2. of being innocent of the judgment which shall befall the unbelievers; 3. of the cessation of fellowship; 4. the last sermon, a threatening of judgment.—The rejection of the gospel: the judgment.—Solemn import of hours and days of grace.—Different degrees of guilt and of judgment.

Starke:—Quesnel: Ministers should love to take up their abode with pious people.—Majus: The treasures of the gospel must not be forced upon people.—Osiander: Contempt of the gospel destroys realms and countries, and plunges them into everlasting misery.

Lisco:—They were to remain satisfied with the house in which they were, and not to leave it merely for the sake of more ease and comfort in another.—They were not to intrude themselves.

Gerlach:—Your peace will return to you: a comfort for the laborers in the vineyard.—Dust off the feet. Luther: Ye shall take nothing at all from them, that they may know that you had sought not your own advantage, but their salvation.

Heubner:—God has His children in every place.—We must seek them out.—Pious people soon find out each other.—Ministers must appeal to the sympathies of those who are susceptible.—Christ regards the rejection of His disciples as that of His own word and person.

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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

When He instructs us to pray, He fully intends to answer such prayer, as we see now in His sending forth His twelve disciples. It is precious to see Him exercising authority to communicate authority to them over evil spirits, sickness and disease; for He is far more than God's servant: He is Lord. In fact, He sends forth the very servants whom He had instructed to pray that He would send labourers into His harvest. The names are given here in groups of two. Simon Peter is called "the first"' being particularly gifted as a public evangelist and a leader. Andrew follows, though it was he who brought Peter to the Lord (John 1:41-42). James and John were brothers. Bartholomew is evidently Nathanael, who was brought by Philip to the Lord (John 1:46-47). Thomas is linked with Matthew, who writes this Gospel. Lebbaeus (surnamed Thaddeus) is evidently Jude the brother of James (Luke 6:16; Judges 1:1). Of most of these we have very little history, in contrast to the sombre history of Judas Iscariot. But they are chosen from the lowly classes of men, to emphasize the power and grace of the King Himself in empowering them. (Paul, introduced later as apostle to the Gentiles, and to reveal the truth of the assembly, was in contrast a man of outstanding intellect and learning.)

These are commissioned to go neither to Gentiles nor to any city of the Samaritans, but only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Such a commission is plainly not applicable today. The Lord specifically changed this in Luke 22:35-37, in speaking to the same disciples; and in Matthew 28:19-20 the change is emphasized, for all nations are now to hear. The cross has made this great change, for there Israel is seen as rejecting the mercy offered to her, and Samaritans and Gentiles have the door of mercy opened to them, as is so beautifully seen historically in Philip's evangelisation of Samaria (Acts 8:1-40) and in Peter's being sent to the Gentile, Cornelius (Acts 10:1-48).

The twelve were sent to preach the kingdom of heaven as being at hand. This is not the kingdom as come in manifest power, as Israel expected, yet it is a kingdom in which the authority of the King is paramount even in a day that He is rejected by His Own nation Israel. Israel's rejection of Him, which shows itself defiantly by the end of Ch.12, will not deprive Him of this present kingdom. But first, Israel is to be given fullest opportunity to have part In this, though its headquarters are not in Jerusalem: rather it is the kingdom of heaven, its centre outside of the world entirely.

The truth of what they proclaim as to the kingdom is confirmed by the power given them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and to cast out demons. This power came from the King Himself: they had received it freely, and they were to freely give, not to use it as de present-day self-styled healers, for their own gain.

More then this, they were to carry no money with them, not a scrip for holding food, and no extra coat, shoes, or staff. This is because the Israelites to whom they went were responsible to care for the needs of the servants of their own Messiah. This would be totally changed when they were sent to Gentiles (Luke 22:36). In whatever city or town they entered they were to inquire for any whose character was of moral worth, and were to partake of their hospitality until they left. Any household that responded favourably to them would be blessed: otherwise be left without blessing. In fact, the disciples were to shake off the dust of their feet, In disclaiming all Identification with such a house or such a city. If it were a city thus opposed, its judgment would be more severe then that of Sodom and Gomorra, for as Israelites they were more responsible.

However, verses 16 to 23 involve, far more than the commission in effect while the Lord was on earth; for this goes on to the testimony seen in Acts, then further still, to that which will be revived in the tribulation period, as verse 23 clearly shows. They were sent as sheep in the midst of wolves, therefore to be always on guard, wise as serpents, yet in contrast to serpents, guileless as doves; for wisdom and transparent honesty are a true protection for the servant of the Lord.

While the Lord was on earth, there is no record of His disciples enduring the opposition of verses 17 and 18 (though John the Baptist suffered imprisonment and death); but in the book of Acts they were delivered up to the Jews' councils and scourged for their testimony to Christ, some of them also brought before governors and kings for His sake. This is first for a testimony against the Jews, but also the Gentiles are added, showing that these words go beyond the commission of verses 5 and 6.

When these things occurred they would need no speech-writer, nor even to study first what would be most wise or appropriate to answer when accused. Rather, they were to depend entirely on God to give them the words to speak at the time they were needed. In this they would allow the Spirit of their Father the freedom to speak without hindrance. We see this beautifully carried out in the cases of Peter and John in Acts 4:8-12; Acts 5:27-32; Stephen in Acts 7:1-60; and Paul in Acts 24:10-21; Acts 26:1-29.

The same will no doubt be true in the tribulation period, and verse 21 will have special application to that time, when even close natural relationships will be ignored because of the intensity of hatred toward the name of Christ, the true Messiah; brothers betraying brothers, fathers their children, children their parents, to be put to death. How dreadfully abnormal! Yet this Will be the exposure of what is the real character of the unbelieving heart of men.

At the time of the tribulation only a small remnant of Israel will bear Witness to Israel's Messiah, and they may expect the hatred of virtually all men. The period of tribulation will not be long, but intense: he that endures to the end of it will be saved for blessing in the millennial earth. Their being persecuted will have the effect of spreading the witness from city to city, for they are instructed, if persecuted In one city, to flee to another. The shortness of the time is then indicated in the fact that, in spite of this rapid dissemination of the testimony, they will not have covered all the cities of Israel before the coming of the Son of Man. Of course, the coming of the Lord to take His saints to glory will take place seven years before this, but the Christian dispensation is passed over here because it is from the viewpoint of a Jewish remnant that the Lord speaks. Such a remnant suffered when the Lord was on earth, then also in Acts (though there they formed the nucleus of the church), and the remnant will suffer in the tribulation too.

They may expect this because the disciple is not above his master nor the servant above his Lord. As their Lord was treated by men, so they could expect to be. The disciple should be content then to be called by hateful names, as his Lord was: indeed, even in this it is an honour to be identified with Him (See Ch.12:24). In suffering such reproach, Peter says "happy are ye" (1 Peter 4:14).

They may well trust the strength of His own word, "fear them not therefore." Though their falsehood may seem to triumph for the time being, it will get be fully exposed to their own shame. Truth will eventually gain its complete victory. What the Lord spoke to them in darkness (that is, privately) they were to speak in the light, for it was the truth that men needed. Just so, what we today learn in the quietness of communion with the Lord we are to declare In the boldness of honest faith. These things Must not be merely our opinions, but what the Lord speaks.

Fear of man is to have no place where the word of God is faithfully proclaimed. If, as in the case Of Stephen (Acts 7:1-60), men kill the body out of antagonism against the word of God, they cannot kill the soul, as Stephen's triumphant faith bore witness at the very time of his martyrdom. God is able to destroy both soul and body in hell: He then is the One whom men should fear. To destroy however does not mean to annihilate, but to render unfit for any intended use.

The Lord uses the sparrow as the picture of virtual worthlessness, yet it is the social bird, always found in inhabited places, desiring fellowship. How apt an illustration of believers, who are more valuable then many sparrows! (Compare Psalms 102:7) Not one of them falls to the ground without the Father's concern; and that concern is such toward Us as to number the very hairs of our head. If this is true of the smallest details physically, what of all the other details of our needs, whether of spirit or soul?

To be valued so greatly by the Father surely calls for a fitting response on our part, that response of fearlessly Confessing Christ before men. He is far more then worthy of this. But this too will elicit a response on the part of the Lord Jesus in confessing before His Father the one who confessed Him before men. Wonderful honour indeed given to the wholehearted believer!

But the reverse is true for one who dares to deny Him before men. To be denied by the Son of God will involve for him the greatest dishonour and humiliation. Men do not stop to consider the solemn horror and dishonesty denying the Son of God those rights that are His alone. This is not only an insult to Him, but also to His Father, to whom the name of His beloved Son is precious beyond all we can imagine.

Christ Himself is the test of men's condition. He did not come to send peace on earth, that is, to make men comfortable with one another while still In a state of quilt. Rather His presence is as a sharp, dividing sword, bringing into focus the reality of some and the rebellion of others. By this touchstone the variance between father and son is manifested, and between mother and daughter, etc. So it has proven in history: many households have been divided because Christ is received by some and refused by other members of a family.

There must be a decision as regards Christ. If one loves father or mother, son or daughter more than Him, he is not worthy of Him. He cannot take a secondary place to any natural relationship. For any mere man to require this would be wickedness; but this Man is the eternal God, worthy of unconditional worship, and entitled to the absolute obedience of every creature. It is added also that if one does not take his cross and follow Christ, he is not worthy of Him. For Christ has willingly accepted the cross of the rejection of mankind for our sake. Every disciple of His therefore is to take his own cross, that is, to voluntarily identify himself with the rejected Christ of God, and to follow Him in this path of rejection, not expecting any recognition by the world, but rather reproach. This is of course inseparably connected with a confession of Christ, as in verse 32.

One who found his life, that is, chose a life of ease and comfort on earth, would only lose it, for man cannot retain what be seeks so ardently to hold, a fact that Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 so graphically portrays. But if one would lose his life for Christ's sake, that is, make Christ his object, though this might mean sacrificing life's natural pleasures and objects, he would actually find his life in its satisfying character of lasting value and blessing, a life with eternal good In view.

Verse 40 is a wonderful assurance for the sake of one who receives the Lord's servant. Since Christ has sent him, then receiving him is receiving Christ Himself, and this involves receiving the Father also, a steadying, precious reminder for us, for there are many indeed who do not stop to consider the seriousness of this principle. We know it is true among unbelievers, who think nothing of treating the Lord's servant with contempt. On the other hand, even believers are sometimes most unwise in the way in which they criticize the message or the person of one whom the Lord Himself has sent to bring the truth of His word to bear upon consciences and hearts. While it is unbecoming to flatter one because he is the Lord's servant, get it is also most unbecoming to treat him with disrespect, for in this we express our disrespect for the Lord.

Also, if one receives a prophet in the name of a prophet, that is, as a prophet, he will receive a prophet's reward. Since he takes to heart God's Message sent by a prophet, then he will receive a similar reward to that of the prophet who faithfully speaks for God. If he receives a righteous man as a righteous man, this puts him in the class of righteous man, and as such he will receive a reward. If he receives him with ulterior motives, this would be totally different, of course. Simon the Pharisee received the Lord into his house (Luke 7:36), but not as a prophet (v3,34), though he admitted He was a teacher (v.40).

Finally, even the smallest recognition of Christ would not be unrewarded. One who gave a cup of cold water to a little child, only in the name of a disciple, that is, as identified with a disciple of the Lord, would certainly be rewarded. For, in doing this one is evidencing the fact that he doe at least have some respect for Christ.

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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. 1897-1910.

Wells of Living Water Commentary

Sending out the Twelve

Matthew 10:1-24


The Scripture for this study opens with the statement, "And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples." We want to speak of the facts that lie hidden away in these words.

1. The Lord needs special men for special tasks. Somehow or other we believe just what is written: "And to every man his work." God does not say, Anybody and everybody rush out and get busy: He says, to this one, Do this; and that one, Do that.

Everybody's task may prove to be no one's task.

2. This leads us to say the Lord still calls men to their work. Paul delighted to sign himself, "Called to be an Apostle." Certainly Paul was called. The truth is, he himself spoke of having been separated by God from his mother's womb; and then, later on, called by His grace.

In the Old Testament the Prophets had special calls. Here are some statements:

Of Isaiah it is written: "I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."

Of Jeremiah it is written "The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, * * I knew thee; * * I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a Prophet unto the nations."

Of Ezekiel it is written: "The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel."

Of Hosea it is written, "The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea," saying "Go."

Of Jonah the Word writes, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city."

And so we could go on. Yes, there is a definite call from God, to definite men. Nothing vital could ever be done by any hit-and-miss method. God has system, and necessarily so, because a definite purpose and plan, such as God has ordained, must include definite men and women to operate that plan.

Thus the Twelve were called. Thus, of John the Baptist it is written, "There was a man sent from God."

3. This leads to a further statement: Men called of God are separated both from other men, and unto God. Matthew 10:2 and Matthew 10:3 of our study give the names of the Twelve. When Christ called these Twelve, He separated them out as personalities, bearing distinctive names, to do His work.

Were there any of the many about Him who might have said, "Why did not the Lord choose me?" Perhaps so. However, the Lord has a right to exercise authority and exert autocratic powers. He is not like we are, given to mistakes. He knew whom He wanted, and why He wanted them. He knew what was in each of them, and the nook each one could fill.

We who are not chosen, however, to be one of the Twelve, are chosen to service; and we may do well to obey in our sphere, and to serve well, for we too may thus obtain a goodly "Well done."

4. This leads us to say that Christ in choosing the Twelve knew all about Judas. Matthew 10:4 names Judas Iscariot as the twelfth disciple, and adds, "who also betrayed Him." We do not need to discuss the why of this choice; it was the Lord's choice, and not ours.

5. This leads us to say that being called to special service brings us special nearness to Christ. Matthew 10:1 says He "called unto Him." They were not only separated from other men by the Lord, but they were called into a comradeship with Him, that grew the sweeter as the years went by. "What a privilege is ours when we are sent forth in His service; for He has said, "I am with you."

6. This leads to our final word: When there is a special call, there is always a special promise of power. Matthew 10:1 says, "He gave them power." He also gives us power. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me." "All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth. Go * *, and, lo, I am with you."

If we are sent forth in so great a task as representatives of God, we must be empowered as His ambassadors, or else we will utterly fail in our ministry.

I. A SPECIAL COMMISSION (Matthew 10:1 ; Matthew 10:5-6 )

1. A particular service. Here is the way it is stated: "He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." There was a threefold reason for this:

(1) The Lord had a compassionate heart toward the sick and sought to convey blessings upon their bodies. We think of Jehovah's word to the Prophet Jonah, "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" Such was, and such is, the heart of God toward little children, and toward the cattle of the fields.

(2) The people had a need along physical lines. Certainly the word, "My God shall supply all your need" includes the needs of our physical man, for both food and raiment, and for healing and health. This much of it certainly comes down to us.

(3) There were the special signs of that hour. The Lord sent them forth with signs following. This same thing was done for the Church in its beginnings. There is a definite promise to this effect in Mark 16:1-20 .

We do not insist that the signs given to the Twelve, and afterward to the Church in its beginnings, are still God's purpose through the age now about ready to close. We do emphatically teach that the same signs, perhaps with augmented power, will be regnant during the Tribulation period, under the two witnesses, and also at the Coming of Christ, and the beginning of the Kingdom age.

Now, for this age, we are safe to say that there is no written statement in the Bible that they are withdrawn. We grant that they did not hold the prominence in the latter part of the Book of Acts that they did in the earlier days of the Church. However, God is sovereign, and will give miracles as signs, when and where He deems necessary. A lack of these "signs" following, in the ministry of any of God's servants does not, by any means, suggest that such an one is not Spirit-filled, as some would insist. Not at all. In many cases it shows only that God wills differently.

However, let one thing never be forgotten: that God still cares for us and desires to give us healing and health, as well as to supply all our needs; just as He has always done in every age, to those who trust Him.

In this age, when we are sick, we should obey to the letter James 5:1-20 and trust God for healing.

2. A particular field and people. Christ had a perfect right to say to the Twelve, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not," and also to say, "But go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel."

Remember, however, His "go not" did by no means suggest that He did not want both Gentiles and Samaritans to be saved. It did mean that he had a preparatory ministry, "to the Jew first," and then to the Gentiles.

The Lord, as Head of the Church, still has the right to dictate the movements of His disciples. He does this very thing. "Go thou here," is His command to one, and "Go thou there," is His command to another.

II. RECEIVING AND GIVING (Matthew 10:8 , l.c.)

Our part of the verse reads: "Freely ye have received, freely give." There is a wealth of truth in this expression.

1. Freely ye have received.

(1) What have we that we have not received? God has crammed the earth with everything necessary to meet our physical need for food and raiment. If there are some of the people who have nothing to eat and nothing to wear, it is not because of a lack of the Divine supply; it is because certain men have put a monopoly on what God has given.

There is a verse in Matthew 6:1-34 which says, "Your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." He clothes the lilies and feeds the sparrow: how much more will He care for us.

God has also supplied things for the mental and spiritual man. We emphasize the latter. The Word of God has given the full revelation of all that we need in the spiritual realm.

(2) Not only has God provided but He has provided freely, abundantly. There is a superabundance in every realm, of every good thing. God did not give to us stintingly. He has given good measure, pressed down, and running over.

2. Freely give. If we follow the example of our Master we will give. Our mother used to sing a little song to us which we well remember.

"Give," said the little stream, "Give, oh, give; give, oh, give;

"Give," said the little stream, as it trickled down the hill.

God has taught everything around us to give, and taught it to give freely. Does He not also teach us to freely give?

He who would give his tithe alone, is a legalist. He who gives his tithes and offerings, and gives them freely, is under grace.

III. THE LAW OF SUPPLY (Matthew 10:9-10 )

1. A positive command to the Twelve. God said: "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."

(1) God is teaching trust. If we go out with everything that we need, not only for the first mile, but for the whole of our journey; we will find no place to depend on God. We will be drawing on the supplies laid up.

(2) God did not want His disciples overburdened with things unnecessary for travel. This would be a hindrance. Of course, they were not going very far, and they would strike no changes of climate during their itinerary.

(3) God wanted to teach them that the workman is worthy of his meat, and He wanted to throw the supply of their needs upon the people to whom they preached. If the preacher or the missionary goes out with an abundance of everything needed for food, raiment, etc., then the people who are ministered unto will have no opportunity to minister in return. God has written that He who soweth spiritual things should reap in carnal things (1 Corinthians 9:11 ).

2. Lessons for us. We who live in the twentieth century are used to saying that the words written in the 1st century, and given to the Twelve and to the seventy, do not at all meet the needs of the twentieth century, and of us, the disciples who were sent far away into the uttermost parts of the earth, and unto a people living in heathen darkness.

There may be some truth in all of this, but we hold that what is good for one age, is good for another; and that what Christ told the Twelve, and the seventy, must beyond doubt contain a deep message of truth to those of us who labor today. The great underlying truth is as follows:

First, We must go in absolute dependence upon God.

Secondly, We must expect the natives, wherever we labor, as soon as they are saved, to undertake the responsibility of Christian munificence and liberality.

Thirdly, We must not live in such gorgeous display and luxury, so far above the people with whom we labor.

These three suggestions may not please well many of our missionaries. We have found in India that some missionaries could, we believe, obtain far more support from the native Christians if they would throw themselves more fully upon them. This may be, perhaps, more true of the native preachers. If the native preachers did not have a steady income from abroad, they would learn to trust God for their income from their own people, while their own people, on the other hand, would be taught the joy of giving.

IV. THE LAW OF HOSPITALITY (Matthew 10:11-13 )

1. Inquiring who is worthy. When the Twelve went into a certain city or town, they were told by the Lord, "Enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence." The Lord expected the people who were able so to do, and were spiritually worthy, to entertain His messengers. This is still true.

Mrs. Neighbour and I, in our missionary tour, have asked for no funds at any time. In writing of our coming to this or that city, we have felt free to say that entertainment would be acceptable. We have felt free to do this, because this is God's command. Be "given to hospitality," is the Word of God.

In the days of our youth, when a minister went to a city as visiting evangelist or preacher, he was entertained in the homes of the people. Today he is sent to the hotel, and usually he demands the very best.

We think that the failure of the homes to entertain is due, in most part, to the unwillingness of visiting preachers to be entertained.

We grant that things are different, and that in a hotel the minister is not compelled to spend his whole time entertaining, or being entertained; beside he can better do his writing and work in a hotel than in a private home.

Homes also, today, are built in apartments where but little room is left for the prophet's chamber. We know all of this, and yet, somehow, we wish we were back in the days of former simplicity and restfulness.

2. Letting your peace come upon the home that is worthy. So it was in that day, and so it should be in this day. Any home entertaining the prophet of God should find a special blessing thereby. When the Ark abode in the house of Obed-edom, the house of Obed-edom was blessed. When any home receives a God-sent and Spirit-filled minister, that home, both through his prayers and through his presence, should be blessed.


1. Homes and cities may not realize their responsibility toward one who has been sent from God. The fact of the business is, as we see it, few homes, few cities, and few villages, realize that they have any responsibility whatsoever toward the man who is sent of God to minister in their midst. They are utterly oblivious to the fact that God has any claim upon them whatsoever, or that a minister has any right to expect anything of any house or community.

Listen to the words of God: "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."

If a man sent by the government, and sent under great authority, goes into a city, the city will arise to give him welcome. The keys of the city will be turned over into his hand. The servant of God, however, may go to a city and depart therefrom, and there isn't a leaf that stirs, nor any commotion of any kind to suggest his presence.

We do remember how we went to Kansas City, Kansas, to conduct an evangelistic campaign in the English Evangelical Lutheran Church. We were carried to the hotel, and at about ten o'clock Sunday morning, the pastor accompanied by the mayor of the city, and with about 24 trumpeters dressed in white, escorted us through the streets of the city and to the Lutheran Church with the band playing the hymns of Zion. Of course, we had a good meeting.

Something like this should be the attitude of every city where a special ambassador from Heaven is sent on a special mission.

2. The seriousness of rejecting one sent from God. Not only were the disciples to shake off the dust of their feet, but the Lord added these words: "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." We need not marvel at the hard times, the drought, the devastating storms, and many other things that are befalling various towns and cities when we think of the little attention that they are giving to God and to His ambassadors.

VI. A SOLEMN WARNING (Matthew 10:16-18 )

The minister and the missionary should not expect that every home and every city will receive him.

1. Christ warned, "I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves." There was to be an expected antagonism and resistance to the gospel message. Wolves are not given to welcoming sheep, except they welcome them in their claws, to rend them and destroy them.

Sheep, therefore, in entering into the midst of wolves should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We must not go into a city armor-clad with the weapons of warfare used by the world. We must go in with the wisdom of God, and with the spirit of meekness.

2. Christ warned: "Beware of men." He knew what was in men. He said: "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."

Our mind naturally goes to the Apostle Paul. We think of what he endured for Christ's sake. We think of how he was delivered up and scourged, and brought before governors and kings.

Shall we of the twentieth century expect to undergo nothing for Christ such as was undergone by the Twelve; by Paul and Barnabas; by Silas, and by Timotheus and the rest? Nay, we too must suffer for Christ's sake; and, as the age draws nearer and nearer to its close, we may expect to suffer more and more.


It has been necessary to group the final Scriptures in our study.

1.Matthew 10:19Matthew 10:19 and Matthew 10:20 tell us that we shall have no thought as to how or what we shall speak in the days of our persecution. They tell us that a special unction from Heaven will be given us on that day, and that the Spirit of our Father will speak in us.

2.Matthew 10:21Matthew 10:21 and Matthew 10:22 tell us that we shall be delivered up to death. Not that alone, but that the brother will deliver up his brother, and the father will deliver up his child, and the children will rise up against their parents. All of this is being literally fulfilled in Russia at this very moment. We have read how little children are commanded by the government to spy against their fathers and mothers and to report if they go to church, etc.

3.Matthew 10:22Matthew 10:22 tells us that we shall be hated of all men for His name's sake. These words reach far beyond the days of the Twelve, and look into the very days of the Great Tribulation, because the verse concludes with the statement, "But he that endureth to the end shall be saved." Matthew 10:23 also speaks of the Coming of Jesus Christ, linking the commands of all that we have studied, down to the very end of this present age.

4.Matthew 10:23Matthew 10:23 tells the saints that if they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another. If one city is closed, another may open the doors.

Following this command, Christ said: "For verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come." We can almost feel ourselves in the last days. The Church is raptured now, and the sealed among the Children of Israel are once more preaching the Word. Persecution is riot. The antichrist and the false prophet are in power, and Israel is suffering, particularly those who dare to name His Name.

5.Matthew 10:24Matthew 10:24 says: "The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord." Whatever our Lord suffered in His day, we should be willing to suffer in ours. If He was called Beelzebub, how much more should we expect to be so called.

Let us fear not, therefore. Though they kill our body, they cannot kill our soul.


No man is sent to the warfare on his own charges; and yet many Christians argue as if that were one of Heaven's standing orders. None, however, is ever called to a work which God does not know is within the limits of his strength which He has given, or which He is ready to give, to the opened, upturned heart. He does not want our strength; it is often a hindrance to Hun, because we are so apt to rely on it, to the exclusion of Himself. He wants our weakness, our infirmities, our nothingness, "that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." So far from your consciousness of powerlessness being a barrier to your efficient work, it will be one of the strongest elements in your success, if only you are driven to lay hold on His strength, and be at peace. * * When asking Christians to undertake certain branches of Christian work, one is so often met with the excuse, "I cannot do it; I am not fitted for it. I have no power to speak." Such have much need to get back to the desert, and learn the significant lesson of the rod which Moses held in his hand. * * Why should we not be as that rod in the hands of Christ?

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Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Living Water".

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Instructions to the Apostles.

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: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into a house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 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. 15 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.

We have here the instructions that Christ gave to his disciples, when he gave them their commission. Whether this charge was given them in a continued discourse, or the several articles of it hinted to them at several times, is not material in this he commanded them. Jacob's blessing his sons, is called his commanding them, and with these commands Christ commanded a blessing. Observe,

I. The people to whom he sent them. These ambassadors are directed what places to go to.

1. Not to the Gentiles nor the Samaritans. They must not go into the way of the Gentiles, nor into any road out of the land of Israel, whatever temptations they might have. The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, till the Jews have first refused it. As to the Samaritans, who were the posterity of the mongrel people that the king of Assyria planted about Samaria, their country lay between Judea and Galilee, so that they could not avoid going into the way of the Samaritans, but they must not enter into any of their cities. Christ had declined manifesting himself to the Gentiles or Samaritans, and therefore the apostles must not preach to them. If the gospel be hid from any place, Christ thereby hides himself from that place. This restraint was upon them only in their first mission, afterwards they were appointed to go into all the world, and teach all nations.

2. But to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. To them Christ appropriated his own ministry (Matthew 15:24), for he was a minister of the circumcision (Romans 15:8): and, therefore, to them the apostles, who were but his attendants and agents, must be confined. The first offer of salvation must be made to the Jews, Acts 3:26. Note, Christ had a particular and very tender concern for the house of Israel they were beloved for the fathers' sakes, Romans 11:28. He looked with compassion upon them as lost sheep, whom he, as a shepherd, was to gather out of the by-paths of sin and error, into which they were gone astray, and in which, if not brought back, they would wander endlessly see Jeremiah 2:6. The Gentiles also had been as lost sheep, 1 Peter 2:25. Christ gives this description of those to whom they were sent, to quicken them to diligence in their work, they were sent to the house of Israel (of which number they themselves lately were), whom they could not but pity, and be desirous to help.

II. The preaching work which he appointed them. He did not send them forth without an errand no, As ye go, preach, Matthew 10:7. They were to be itinerant preachers: wherever they come they must proclaim the beginning of the gospel, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Not that they must say nothing else, but this must be their text on this subject they must enlarge: let people know, that the kingdom of the Messiah, who is the Lord from heaven, is now to be set up according to the scriptures from whence it follows, that men must repent of their sins and forsake them, that they might be admitted to the privileges of that kingdom. It is said (Mark 6:12), they went out, and preached that men should repent which was the proper use and application of this doctrine, concerning the approach of the kingdom of heaven. They must, therefore, expect to hear more of this long-looked-for Messiah shortly, and must be ready to receive his doctrine, to believe in him, and to submit to his yoke. The preaching of this was like the morning light, to give notice of the approach of the rising sun. How unlike was this to the preaching of Jonah, which proclaimed ruin at hand! Jonah 3:4. This proclaims salvation at hand, nigh them that fear God mercy and truth meet together (Psalm 85:9,10), that is, the kingdom of heaven at hand: not so much the personal presence of the king that must not be doated upon but a spiritual kingdom which is to be set up, when his bodily presence is removed, in the hearts of men.

Now this was the same that John the Baptist and Christ had preached before. Note, People need to have good truths pressed again and again upon them, and if they be preached and heard with new affections, they are as if they were fresh to us. Christ, in the gospel, is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, Hebrews 13:8. Afterwards, indeed, when the Spirit was poured out, and the Christian church was formed, this kingdom of heaven came, which was now spoken of as at hand but the kingdom of heaven must still be the subject of our preaching: now it is come, we must tell people it is come to them, and must lay before them the precepts and privileges of it and there is a kingdom of glory yet to come, which we must speak of as at hand, and quicken people to diligence from the consideration of that.

III. The power he gave them to work miracles for the confirmation of their doctrine, Matthew 10:8. When he sent them to preach the same doctrine that he had preached, he empowered them to confirm it, by the same divine seals, which could never be set to a lie. This is not necessary now the kingdom of God is come to call for miracles now is to lay again the foundation when the building is reared. The point being settled, and the doctrine of Christ sufficiently attested, by the miracles which Christ and his apostles wrought, it is tempting God to ask for more signs. They are directed here,

1. To use their power in doing good: not "Go and remove mountains," or "fetch fire from heaven," but, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers. They are sent abroad as public blessings, to intimate to the world, that love and goodness were the spirit and genius of that gospel which they came to preach, and of that kingdom which they were employed to set up. By this it would appear, that they were the servants of that God who is good and does good, and whose mercy is over all his works and that the intention of the doctrine they preached, was to heal sick souls, and to raise those that were dead in sin and therefore, perhaps, that of raising the dead is mentioned for though we read not of their raising any to life before the resurrection of Christ, yet they were instrumental to raise many to spiritual life.

2. In doing good freely Freely ye heave received, freely give. Those that had power to heal all diseases, had an opportunity to enrich themselves who would not purchase such easy certain cures at any rate? Therefore they are cautioned not to make a gain of the power they had to work miracles: they must cure gratis, further to exemplify the nature and complexion of the gospel kingdom, which is made up, not only of grace, but of free grace. Gratia gratis data (Romans 3:24), freely by his grace, Buy medicines without money, and without price, Isaiah 55:1. And the reason is, because freely you have received. Their power to heal the sick cost them nothing, and, therefore, they must not make any secular advantage to themselves of it. Simon Magus would not have offered money for the gifts of the Holy Ghost, if he had not hoped to get money by them Acts 8:18. Note, The consideration of Christ's freeness in doing good to us, should make us free in doing good to others.

IV. The provision that must be made for them in this expedition it is a thing to be considered in sending an ambassador, who must bear the charge of the embassy. As to that,

1. They must make no provision for it themselves, Matthew 10:9,10. Provide neither gold nor silver. As, on the one hand, they shall not raise estates by their work, so, on the other hand, they shall not spend what little they have of their own upon it. This was confined to the present mission, and Christ would teach them, (1.) To act under the conduct of human prudence. They were now to make but a short excursion, and were soon to return to their Master, and to their head-quarters again, and, therefore, why should they burthen themselves with that which they would have no occasion for? (2.) To act in dependence upon Divine Providence. They must be taught to live, without taking thought for life, Matthew 6:25, &c. Note, They who go upon Christ's errand, have, of all people, most reason to trust him for food convenient. Doubtless he will not be wanting to those that are working for him. Those whom he employs, as they are taken under special protection, so they are entitled to special provisions. Christ's hired servants shall have bread enough and to spare while we abide faithful to God and our duty, and are in care to do our work well, we may cast all our other care upon God Jehovah-jireh, let the Lord provide for us and ours as he thinks fit.

2. They might expect that those to whom they were sent would provide for them what was necessary, Matthew 10:10. The workman is worthy of his meat. They must not expect to be fed by miracles, as Elijah was: but they might depend upon God to incline the hearts of those they went among, to be kind to them, and provide for them. Though they who serve at the altar may not expect to grow rich by the altar, yet they may expect to live, and to live comfortably upon it, 1 Corinthians 9:13,14. It is fit they should have their maintenance from their work. Ministers are, and must be, workmen, labourers, and they that are so are worthy of their meat, so as not to be forced to any other labour for the earning of it. Christ would have his disciples, as not to distrust their God, so not to distrust their countrymen, so far as to doubt of a comfortable subsistence among them. If you preach to them, and endeavour to do good among them, surely they will give you meat and drink enough for your necessities: and if they do, never desire dainties God will pay you your wages hereafter, and it will be running on in the mean time.

V. The proceedings they were to observe in dealing with any place, Matthew 10:11-15. They went abroad they knew not whither, uninvited, unexpected, knowing none, and known of none the land of their nativity was to them a strange land what rule must they go by? what course must they take? Christ would not send them out without full instructions, and here they are.

1. They are here directed how to conduct themselves toward those that were strangers to them How to do,

(1.) In strange towns and cities: when you come to a town, enquire who in it is worthy. [1.] It is supposed that there were some such in every place, as were better disposed than others to receive the gospel, and the preachers of it though it was a time of general corruption and apostasy. Note, In the worst of times and places, we may charitably hope that there are some who distinguish themselves, and are better than their neighbours some who swim against the stream, and are as wheat among the chaff. There were saints in Nero's household. Enquire who is worthy, who there are that have some fear of God before their eyes, and have made a good improvement of the light and knowledge they have. The best are far from meriting the favour of a gospel offer but some would be more likely than others to give the apostles and their message a favourable entertainment, and would not trample these pearls under their feet. Note, Previous dispositions to that which is good, are both directions and encouragements to ministers, in dealing with people. There is most hope of the word being profitable to those who are already so well inclined, as that it is acceptable to them and there is here and there one such. [2.] They must enquire out such not enquire for the best inns public houses were no proper places for them that neither took money with them (Matthew 10:9), nor expected to receive any (Matthew 10:8) but they must look out for accommodations in private houses, with those that would entertain them well, and expect no other recompence for it but a prophet's reward, an apostle's reward, their praying and preaching. Note, They that entertain the gospel, must neither grudge the expense of it, nor promise themselves to get by it in this world. They must enquire, not who is rich, but who is worthy not who is the best gentleman, but who is the best man. Note, Christ's disciples, wherever they come, should ask for the good people of the place, and be acquainted with them when we took God for our God, we took his people for our people, and like will rejoice in its like. Paul in all his travels found out the brethren, if there were any, Acts 28:14. It is implied, that if they did enquire who was worthy, they might discover them. They that were better than their neighbours would be taken notice of, and any one could tell them, there lives an honest, sober, good man for this is a character which, like the ointment of the right hand, betrays itself and fills the house with its odours. Every body knew where the seer's house was, 1 Samuel 9:18. [3.] In the house of those they found worthy, they must continue which intimates that they were to make so short a stay at each town, that they needed not change their lodging, but whatever house providence brought them to at first, there they must continue till they left that town. They are justly suspected, as having no good design, that are often changing their quarters. Note, It becomes the disciples of Christ to make the best of that which is, to abide by it, and not be for shifting upon every dislike or inconvenience.

(2.) In strange houses. When they had found the house of one they thought worthy, they must at their entrance salute it. "In those common civilities, be beforehand with people, in token of your humility. Think it not a disparagement, to invite yourselves into a house, nor stand upon the punctilio of being invited. Salute the family, [1.] To draw on further discourse, and so to introduce your message." (From matters of common conversation, we may insensibly pass into that communication which is good to the use of edifying.) [2.] "To try whether you are welcome or not you will take notice whether the salutation be received with shyness and coldness, or with a ready return. He that will not receive your salutation kindly, will not receive your message kindly for he that is unskilful and unfaithful in a little, will also be in much, Luke 16:10. [3.] To insinuate yourselves into their good opinion. Salute the family, that they may see that though you are serious, you are not morose." Note, Religion teaches us to be courteous and civil, and obliging to all with whom we have to do. Though the apostles went out backed with the authority of the Son of God himself, yet their instructions were, when they came into a house, not to command it, but to salute it for love's sake rather to beseech, is the evangelical way, Philemon 1:8,9. Souls are first drawn to Christ with the cords of a man, and kept to him by the bands of love, Hosea 11:4. When Peter made the first offer of the gospel to Cornelius, a Gentile, Peter was first saluted see Acts 10:25, for the Gentiles courted that which the Jews were courted to.

When they had saluted the family after a godly sort, they must by the return, judge concerning the family, and proceed accordingly. Note, The eye of God is upon us, to observe what entertainment we give to good people and good ministers if the house be worthy, let your peace come and rest upon it if not, let it return to you, Matthew 10:13. It seems then, that after they had enquired for the most worthy (Matthew 10:11), it was possible they might light upon those that were unworthy. Note, Though it is wisdom to hearken to, yet it is folly to rely upon, common report and opinion we ought to use a judgment of discretion, and to see with our own eyes. The wisdom of the prudent is himself to understand his own way. Now this rule is intended,

First, For satisfaction to the apostles. The common salutation was, Peace be unto you this, as they used it, was turned into gospel it was the peace of God, the peace of the kingdom of heaven, that they wished. Now lest they should make a scruple of pronouncing this blessing upon all promiscuously, because many were utterly unworthy of it, this is to clear them of that scruple Christ tells them that this gospel prayer (for so it was now become) should be put up for all, as the gospel proffer was made to all indefinitely, and that they should leave it to God who knows the heart, and every man's true character, to determine the issue of it. If the house be worthy, it will reap the benefit of your blessing if now, there is no harm done, you will not lose the benefit of it it shall return to you, as David's prayers for his ungrateful enemies did, Psalm 35:13. Note, It becomes us to judge charitably of all, to pray heartily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to all, for that is our part, and then to leave it with God to determine what effect it shall have upon them, for that is his part.

Secondly, For direction to them. "If, upon your salutation, it appear that they are indeed worthy, let them have more of your company, and so let your peace come upon them preach the gospel to them, peace by Jesus Christ but if otherwise, if they carry it rudely to you, and shut their doors against you, let your peace, as much as in you lies, return to you. Retract what you have said, and turn your backs upon them by slighting this, they have made themselves unworthy of the rest of your favours, and cut themselves short of them." Note, Great blessings are often lost by a neglect seemingly small and inconsiderable, when men are in their probation and upon their behaviour. Thus Esau lost his birthright (Genesis 25:34), and Saul his kingdom, 1 Samuel 13:13,14.

2. They are here directed how to carry it towards those that were refusers of them. The case is put (Matthew 10:14) of those that would not receive them, nor hear their words. The apostles might think, that now they had such a doctrine to preach, and such a power to work miracles for the confirmation of it, no doubt but they should be universally entertained and made welcome: they are, therefore, told before, that there would be those that would slight them, and put contempt on them and their message. Note, The best and most powerful preachers of the gospel must expect to meet with some, that will not so much as give them the hearing, nor show them any token of respect. Many turn a deaf ear, even to the joyful sound, and will not hearken to the voice of the charmers, charm they never so wisely. Observe, "They will not receive you, and they will not hear your words." Note, Contempt of the gospel, and contempt of gospel ministers, commonly go together, and they will either of them be construed into a contempt of Christ, and will be reckoned for accordingly.

Now in this case we have here,

(1.) The directions given to the apostles what to do. They must depart out of that house or city. Note, The gospel will not tarry long with those that put it away from them. At their departure they must shake off the dust of their feet, [1.] In detestation of their wickedness it was so abominable, that it did even pollute the ground they went upon, which must therefore be shaken off as a filthy thing. The apostles must have no fellowship nor communion with them must not so much as carry away the dust of their city with them. The work of them that turn aside shall not cleave to me, Psalm 101:3. The prophet was not to eat or drink in Bethel, 1 Kings 13:9. [2.] As a denunciation of wrath against them. It was to signify, that they were base and vile as dust, and that God would shake them off. The dust of the apostles' feet, which they left behind them, would witness against them, and be brought in as evidence, that the gospel had been preached to them, Compare Jam. v. 3. See this practised, Acts 13:51,18:6. Note, They who despise God and his gospel shall be lightly esteemed.

(2.) The doom passed upon such wilful recusants, Matthew 10:15. It shall be more tolerable, in the day of judgment, for the land of Sodom, as wicked a place as it was. Note, [1.] There is a day of judgment coming, when all those that refused the gospel will certainly be called to account for it however they now make a jest of it. They that would not hear the doctrine that would save them, shall be made to hear the sentence that will ruin them. Their judgment is respited till that day. [2.] There are different degrees of punishment in that day. All the pains of hell will be intolerable but some will be more so than others. Some sinners sink deeper into hell than others, and are beaten with more stripes. [3.] The condemnation of those that reject the gospel, will in that day be severer and heavier than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom is said to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, Jude 1:7. But that vengeance will come with an aggravation upon those that despise the great salvation. Sodom and Gomorrah were exceedingly wicked (Genesis 13:13), and that which filled up the measure of their iniquity was, that they received not the angels that were sent to them, but abused them (Genesis 19:4,5), and hearkened not to their words, Matthew 10:14. And yet it will be more tolerable for them than for those who receive not Christ's ministers and hearken not to their words. God's wrath against them will be more flaming, and their own reflections upon themselves more cutting. Son, remember I will sound most dreadfully in the ears of such as had a fair offer made them of eternal life, and chose death rather. The iniquity of Israel, when God sent them his servants the prophets, is represented as, upon that account, more heinous than the iniquity of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:48,49), much more now he sent them his Son, the great Prophet.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, till the Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles was only in their first mission. Wherever they went they must proclaim, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. They preached, to establish the faith; the kingdom, to animate the hope; of heaven, to inspire the love of heavenly things, and the contempt of earthly; which is at hand, that men may prepare for it without delay. Christ gave power to work miracles for the confirming of their doctrine. This is not necessary now that the kingdom of God is come. It showed that the intent of the doctrine they preached, was to heal sick souls, and to raise those that were dead in sin. In proclaiming the gospel of free grace for the healing and saving of men's souls, we must above all avoid the appearance of the spirit of an hireling. They are directed what to do in strange towns and cities. The servant of Christ is the ambassador of peace to whatever place he is sent. His message is even to the vilest sinners, yet it behoves him to find out the best persons in every place. It becomes us to pray heartily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to all. They are directed how to act as to those that refused them. The whole counsel of God must be declared, and those who will not attend to the gracious message, must be shown that their state is dangerous. This should be seriously laid to heart by all that hear the gospel, lest their privileges only serve to increase their condemnation.

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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 11-15. Our Lord had before set them their limits, and appointed them their work, and directed them as to their accoutrements for their journey; here he directeth them their methods. Luke hath much of the same instructions, Luke 10:4-6, but applied to the seventy, not to the twelve. Mark hath something of them applied to the twelve, Mark 6:10,11.

And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. The method Christ set them was, when they came into any of the cities of Israel, to inquire if there were any worthy persons in it, and thither to go, and there to abide (if they did not find they were mistaken) until they left that place; and when they came into a house to salute it, wishing all peace and happiness to it; if they found themselves welcome, to preach to it the gospel of peace. But if they found themselves unwelcome, and discerned that the people of the city, or of that house, did not care for their company, and refused to hear them, they should not make themselves or the gospel a burden to them, but show their contempt of those who contemned the gospel, and the ministry of it, by shaking the dust off their feet as a testimony against them. Then he concludes, telling them, that the Lord would so grievously at last revenge such contempt, that the condition of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were destroyed by fire and brimstone, Genesis 19:24, would at the last day be more tolerable than theirs. This is the sum, by which our Saviour doth obviate the solicitous thoughts which might from his former words arise in their minds. How shall we live, going amongst strangers, if we carry nothing with us? Saith our Saviour, When you first come into a town or city, do not inquire for the inns that entertain strangers, but who is worthy, worthy of such guests; so Hebrews 11:38; a son of peace, Luke 10:6; who are accounted the most pious and religious persons in that town or city, or best affected to the gospel. (He hereby hints, that John the Baptist and his ministry had had such success, that in most places there were some such persons.)

Worthy doth not in our ordinary discourse signify always a meritorious person, but a person excelling, either in religion or knowledge, or moral virtue. Such persons our Lord presumes would entertain those who came upon so kind an errand to their houses. He commands them to go, and when they came to a house to salute it, to say, Peace be to this house; which was the Jews’ ordinary salutation; under the notion of peace they comprehended all good. But,

let your peace come upon it (I conceive) comprehends more, viz. preach the gospel of peace unto it; or, my peace shall be upon it, I will bless that house. But if you find you are misinformed, or mistaken, your peace shall return unto you; you have done your work, and you shall have your reward. If they will

not receive you, nor hear your words; if they declare any contempt of you, and will not hear the glad tidings of the gospel;

when ye depart out of that house or city,

shake off the dust of your feet. This was more than a sign of contempt of them; we read of Nehemiah 5:13, that he shook his lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise. We have but one instance of this practice of the apostles, Acts 13:51. Mark adds, for a testimony against them: a testimony of God’s despising them who despised his grace, and of the vengeance of God that should come upon them for that contempt. For he adds,

it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, the last judgment, than for that city: their condemnation will be more dreadful, as having sinned against greater light, and fairer offers of greater grace, than ever they had.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Instructions Concerning Their Going Out (10:9-15).

Having declared to them their main responsibilities and objectives Jesus now instructs them about the way in which they are to go about their ministry. and it is immediately apparent that while the principles behind these instructions are permanent, the details are particular to their situation. For they have in mind the society in which they lived.

The principle of hospitality, that is the sense of responsibility to provide hospitality to travellers and strangers, was strongly held throughout the ancient world. Inns were few, and often not very reputable, and such hospitality was therefore very necessary for respectable people. And once that hospitality was offered it was seen as providing a bond between the giver and the recipient. Good men would do anything rather than betray someone to whom they had offered hospitality (compare Genesis 19:7-8; Judges 19:23-24). To give hospitality to someone and then to betray them was considered totally disreputable. The contrary position was that to be refused hospitality was a bad sign. It was a sign of enmity. It was a sign that no favour was being offered. It was a refusal of friendship.

It was also recognised within Judaism that a Teacher should especially be given hospitality, for he was not allowed to charge for the teaching that he provided. Many teachers did got around the ancient world charging for their services, but among the Jews to charge for teaching the Law of God was not approved of, although how far the latter applied in Gentile-affected Galilee we do not know.

There were some Teachers who went around taking advantage of and sponging on the people whom they went to, especially when the new churches were formed, and that was why Paul always sought to be independent and cater for himself, contrary to what Jesus was saying here, while acknowledging the right of others to do differently . But that was in a sophisticated city environment where people saw things from a different angle. Jesus in fact provides against the dangers that Paul foresaw by His further instructions against accumulating ‘wealth’ as they went around. So Jesus’ instructions must be seen against this background.

Jesus’ instructions therefore cater for such situations:

He first wants it to be seen that His disciples are neither benefiting financially by their ministry, nor are living in luxury at the cost of others, a lesson many servants of God could do to learn today in the wealthier parts of the world.

He wants their welcome or otherwise by the people, which will be revealed by whether they provide for them or not, to demonstrate the kind of reception that they are receiving. It will immediately bring out who are receiving the Good News rightly, and who are not. It will be a test of the genuineness of their hearers (Matthew 25:35-40).

He wants to ensure that His disciples do not themselves get caught up with the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things, thus choking their ministry (compare Mark 4:19).

Above all He wants them to be continually trusting in their heavenly Father’s provision (Matthew 6:19-34).

In Mark 6:7-13 there are similar instructions, although they may have been in respect of a further mission. But note their abbreviated form. However the principles are on the whole the same. On the other hand the instructions in Luke 10:3-12 were given to the seventy. So while we would expect them to be similar, we would not necessarily expect them to be the same in every detail, as turns out to be the case.

It should be noted that in the Rabbinical writings it was stated that a man ‘may not enter the Temple Mount with his staff or his sandal or his wallet, or with the dust on his feet’. The idea there would seem to be that he must thrust all worldly thoughts and sense of independence aside. He has come to meet with God, and must be prepared in heart an mind, and unencumbered. He must leave worldly activity outside. Something of this may well be in Jesus’ mind. All the attention of His disciples must be on God as they go in His Name.

Analysis of Matthew 10:9-15.

a “Do not procure for yourselves gold, or silver, or copper in your money belts; no food wallet for your journey; neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff. For the labourer is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:9).

b “And into whatever city or village you enter, search out who in it is worthy, and there stay until you go forth.” (Matthew 10:11).

c “And as you enter into the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you” (Matthew 10:12-13).

b “And whoever will not receive you, nor hear your words, as you go forth out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet” (Matthew 10:14).

a “Truly 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 10:15).

Note that in ‘a’ their worthiness to receive a response is stressed, ‘the labourer is worthy of his provision’, and in the parallel the punishment for failing to give that response to the true labourer is emphasised. In ‘b’ they are to seek out those who are worthy and in the parallel they are to shake from their feet the dust of the unworthy. Centrally in ‘c’ they are to bring blessing on the house that welcomes them.

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Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“Truly 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.”

And so serious would be their crime that in the Day of Judgment the infamous Sodom and Gomorrah, who had shown scant hospitality to Lot (Genesis 19), and had become proverbial for sinfulness (Isaiah 1:9-10), would come off better than that city. For they had only rejected Lot, the nephew of Abraham, but this city would have rejected the representatives of the Coming One. There could be no more specific indication of Jesus’ unique claims for Himself. And it will be noted that they were just assumed as evident. It was all matter of fact. There was no arrogance or boastfulness about them.

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Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

. The Charge to the Twelve.—The section forms the second of five passages into which Mt. col lected the sayings of Jesus. The Markan account (Matthew 6:7-11) is followed by Luke 9:1-5, but Luke 10:2-6 (the Seventy) is from Q Matthew 10:5-16 combines the two sources. The mission is limited to Jews, hardly, in view of Matthew 10:6, Matthew 10:23, to the Jews of Galilee. Luke 10 omits the limitation; he wrote mainly for Gentiles. Indeed, when Mt. wrote, the limitation was obsolete. Yet it shows that Jesus came to realise the Jewish hope, and though Gentiles are not wholly barred from the Kingdom (Matthew 8:11 f.), they enter only as an appendage. Not yet is humanity welcomed without distinction. The Apostles preach the imminence of the Kingdom rather than repentance (Mark 6:12, but cf. Mark 1:15); Mt. (Matthew 10:8) expands the phrase "heal the sick," and en joins gratuitous service. "Get you no gold," etc. (Matthew 10:9), means either "Do not acquire" (a repetition of the sense of Matthew 10:8) or, better, "Do not procure" as provision before starting, though Jesus would not expect them to make money by announcing the Kingdom. The staff and sandals permitted in Mk. are forbidden here. The Fathers got over the contradiction by making the forbidden stick an ordinary one, the permitted one an apostolic wand of office. All these injunctions, encouraging the trust enjoined in Matthew 6:25-33, powerfully influenced the first mediaeval friars, especially Francis of Assisi.

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Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

. The apostles are to put up at the houses of the "worthy," i.e. such as are ready to welcome them and their message. The house in Matthew 10:13 is perhaps best understood of that at which they make the inquiry; the "peace" or salutation is thought of as an objective blessing settling upon the worthy household, but otherwise returning to the speakers in full measure for future use. Or that city (Matthew 10:14) is the confusing addition of some copyist. So is Matthew 10:15, a doublet of Matthew 11:24 added here to harmonise with Luke 10:12. It is probable that Mt. orginally mentioned simply the house (JThS 11558). Matthew 10:16 is preliminary to Matthew 10:17-22, verses which belong properly to the late apocalyptic discourse (ch. 24), where Mt. summarises them. They reflect a much later Christian experience than the charge to the apostles, and there is nothing in the message and work of Matthew 10:7 f. to evoke persecution.

Matthew 10:16 b. Mt. only. The comparison with the serpent is limited to prudence; Jesus illustrated His injunction by His adroit replies to tricky and entrapping questions.

Matthew 10:18 anticipates mission work no longer restricted to Israel.

Matthew 10:19 b, by the way, is not addressed to clergy and ministers who regularly address Christian congregations.

Matthew 10:20. the Spirit of your Father is a unique expression; Jesus may have in mind Joel 2:28 f.

Matthew 10:22. The name stood for the person (cf. Acts 5:41; Acts 9:16; Acts 15:26, 3 John 1:7, and frequently in OT).

Matthew 10:22 b. to the end is sometimes taken with "shall be saved" (i.e. "shall have deliverance and victory"), in the sense of "finally," but is better as it stands with "endureth," meaning "continually," or "to the utmost extent of the persecution" (cf. Revelation 2:10).

Matthew 10:23. This much-discussed verse is clearly no part of the charge to the Twelve, and no indication that Jesus expected the Parousia before the completion of their tour. It goes with the anachronistic Matthew 10:17-22, and Schweitzer (Messianitts-und Leidensgeheimnis, pp. 102ff., cf. pp. 15f.: Quest, p. 357) is off the mark. It is the community of Christians that is to flee during the portents that precede the end, and it is they who will not need to go beyond Palestine for refuge, because the Son of Man is at hand.

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Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary


Mat . Called.—We must distinguish three calls, the first to be disciples; the second to serve as Evangelists; and now the third to the Apostolic office. This call to the Apostolate, however, was only preliminary, and limited by the present circumstances and position of the church. The Apostolic office obtained its full proportions after the ascension of our Lord, when the knowledge of the disciples and their testimony was completed, and the Holy Spirit poured out on the day of Pentecost (Lange). Gave them power.—Authority (R.V.). By this time they had been so far instructed and trained by their companionship with Christ that they could be safely intrusted with a mission by themselves; accordingly He, for the first time, gives them power to do deeds of mercy of the same sort as those which He Himself had been doing, as signs of the kingdom of heaven (Gibson). The word ( ἐξουσίαν) signifies both "power" and "authority" or "right." See Luk 9:1. He both qualified and authorised them (Brown). Great is the authority of conferring authority (Bengel). Unclean spirits.—Demons. They were characteristically unclean or impure, revelling in moral impurity (Morison).

Mat . Apostles.—The only passage in this Gospel where the word occurs. Means, "sent forth," "envoys." The first.—He was first among the Apostles, not placed over the Apostles; in the Apostolate, not above it (Bengel).

Mat . Bartholomew.—A family surname—son of Tholomew, Tholmai or Talmai. Probably to be identified with Nathanael. The reasons for this view are given by Rev. A. Carr as follows:

1. St. John, who twice mentions the name of Nathanael never mentions that of Bartholomew.

2. The three Synoptists mention Bartholomew but not Nathanael.

3. Philip is closely connected with Nathanael and also with Bartholomew.

4. Nathanael is mentioned with six other disciples (Joh ), as if, like them, he belonged to the Twelve. Matthew … James … Lebbæus.—Lebbæus, Thaddæus, Jude the [son] of James, are all names of one and the same person. He was the son in all probability of a James or Jacob, not, as usually translated, brother of James. The name "Lebbæus" = "courageous" from a Hebrew word signifying "heart." This Jude or Judas must not be confused with Jude or Judas the "brother" of our Lord; nor must James the son of Alphæus be confused with James the brother of our Lord. The "brethren of the Lord" believed not on Him, and could not have been among His Apostles. James and Judas were both common names, and the variety of names seems to have been small at this epoch. According to this theory there are four persons named James:

1. The son of Zebedee.

2. The son of Alphus.

3. The father of Jude . "Theless" or rather "the little," the brother of the Lord; and three named Judas:

1. The brother of the Lord.

2. The Apostle, son of James

3. Iscariot. Matthew or Levi also was son of an Alphus, but there is no evidence or hint that he was connected with James son of Alphus (Carr).

Mat . Simon the Canaanite.—The Cananæan (R.V.). Luther supposed that the reference of the word is to Cana of Galilee, and hence he renders the expression, Simon of Cana. But if that had been the meaning of the word, it would have been Canaite, not Canaanite. It is, in truth, a Hebrew or Aramaic word, meaning "Zealot," and hence in Luk 6:15, it is translated into Greek, "Simon called Zelotes." In Act 1:13 the expression is simply Simon Zelotes, i.e. Simon the Zealot. The Zealots were a political party among the Jews, who were animated with peculiar zeal for the recovery of Jewish freedom and the maintenance of all the distinctive Jewish institutions. Phinehas was the model after which they sought to mould their character (Num 25:6-8). They scrupled not to take, as they had opportunity, the punishment of law-breakers into their own hands; and amid the subsequent wars that are narrated by Josephus, they played a fiery and somewhat conspicuous part (Morison).

Mat . Go not, etc.—The emphatic limitation seems, at first sight, at variance with Mat 8:11 and Joh 4:35. We must remember, however:

1. That the limitation was confined to the mission on which they were now sent.

2. That it did but recognise a Divine order (Rom ).

3. That the disciples themselves were as yet unfitted to enter on a work which required wider thoughts and hopes than they had yet attained to (Plumptre).

Mat . Lost sheep.—They were lying "panting for life" (Trapp).

Mat . Raise the dead.—This clause is wanting in so many MSS. and ancient versions that Tischendorf and others omit it altogether, as having found its way into this verse from Mat 11:5. Retained in R.V. Dr. D. Brown says, "It seems very improbable that our Lord imparted at so early a period this highest of all forms of supernatural power." The first instance in which the dead were raised by Apostolic agency occurs in the Book of Acts (Mat 9:36, etc.); but the Seventy reported, on their return, that the evil spirits were subject to them (Luk 10:17) (Gerlach).

Mat . Brass = copper. The Hebrews were not acquainted with that comparatively modern alloy of copper and zinc which we call brass (Morison). Purses = girdles, the twisted folds of which were, and are, habitually used in the East instead of the "purse" of the West (Plumptre).

Mat . Scrip = wallet. A small basket carried on the back, or by a strap hanging from one shoulder, containing the food of the traveller (ibid.). Neither shoes—I.e. nor a change of shoes or sandals. Lightfoot and Macknight, not perceiving that an extra set of these conveniences is referred to, have supposed that plain sandals were allowed, but not the more comfortable and luxurious shoes (see Mar 6:9) (Morison).

Mat . Inquire.—I.e. carefully; search out (R.V.). Worthy.—Or "meet" to entertain such messengers; not in point of rank, of course, but of congenial disposition (Brown). Abide.—A change of houses might have the appearance of fastidiousness (Bengel).

Mat . Salute it.—Saying "Peace be unto you," the usual salutation at this day (Carr).

Mat . Shake off the dust.—Probably as implying that the city was to be treated as a heathen place, the dust of which was regarded by the Jews as defiling. See Lightfoot (Mansel).


A new departure.—The end of the last chapter was a kind of preamble to this. It taught us that action should be preceded by prayer. The beginning of this chapter teaches us the converse truth, viz. that prayer should be followed by action. Does the action described tally with the prayer? We believe that it does; and that in this primary mission of the Apostles (for we seem to read at least of one other afterwards, distinguished from this, Luk, etc.) the "action" taken will be found to correspond throughout to the "prayer" previously recommended; and, further, that this may be seen especially by comparing:

1. The kind of work to which they were called.

2. The kind of hire on which they were enjoined to depend.

I. The special character of their work.—In a broad way this was the work of being fellow-workers with Christ (contrast afterwards 2Co ). Virtually it was for such workers He had taught His disciples to ask (Mat 9:36-38); for those who should help Him in tending the many untended "sheep" He beheld; those who should aid Him in reaping and securing the vast "harvest" fields within sight. Pray for more labourers—more harvest labourers—additional "hands" in a word—that was the thing to be asked. That, accordingly, is what the Saviour's action now aims to provide. Choosing a number of men from amongst those who were already His disciples (Luk 6:13), and who appear to have been of much the same kind of station (Mat 4:18-22; Mar 6:3), and from much the same part of the country (Act 2:7; Luk 23:6) with Himself, He "sends" them "forth" (Mat 10:5) to be helps to Himself. In other words, and more particularly, He sends them forth, first, to do the same kind of work as Himself; to teach, e.g. the same truths as had been taught by Himself from the first (cf. Mat 10:7; Mat 4:17); and to do this also, through His blessing upon them, in the same spirit of power (Mat 10:8; Mat 9:35). Also, remarkably enough, to do it in this "primary" mission in the same limited sphere as Himself (cf. Mat 10:5-6; Mat 15:24). Note how seldom, if ever, the Saviour in His ministry went beyond the borders of Israel (see ibid. and Mat 16:13); even His going "through Samaria" being apparently a thing to be noted (Joh 4:4). Also, once more, to do this same work in the same unlimited spirit of beneficence with which it was done by Himself (Mat 10:8 compared with Mat 9:35; Mat 4:23-24). In all these particulars we find these "Apostles" to be yet companions now of the Saviour; men "sent forth," yet "with Him" also (Luk 8:1; Mar 3:14); and just such helpers, therefore, as the juncture required, and as He had taught His disciples to pray for.

II. The special character of their hire.—How were these labourers to be supported? This is taught them in two ways. Negatively, on the one hand. They were not to depend at this time on their own efforts, or exertions, or forethought; not to "provide gold or silver," or so on; not even to go so far as to have a second "coat" or "staff" in reserve (Mat ). In this, of course, they were very different from what was afterwards true of their body; as when St. Paul, e.g. though having a full right to look for the ministration of others, preferred to supply his necessities by his own exertions and care (2Th 3:9; 2Co 11:9, etc.). In this, therefore, they were the more strikingly like the Saviour Himself at this time, who would not make use of His own power to supply His own needs in the wilderness (Mat 4:3-4). Positively, on the other hand. What they were to depend upon was, under one aspect, what would come to them from below; from the purely voluntary assistance of those amongst whom they should be called upon to labour (Mat 10:11). What they were to depend on was, under another aspect, what would be ordered about them above; ordered about them by Him, in fact, whose "workmen" they were (Mat 10:10), and who fully recognised their claim, as such, for such help; and was exceedingly jealous, also, as to whether they received it or not; and would even notice in His jealousy what was testified on that subject by the very dust of their feet (Mat 10:12-15). And in this again, therefore, they were to be, as before, like their own Master and Lord; who was supported only, so far as we know, by the voluntary ministrations of others (Luk 8:3); and who applied specially to Himself those words to be found in Mat 4:4. So it was, as a matter of fact, that Christ was living then in the world. So He appointed, therefore, that there, also, His "fellow-workers" should live.

One sees, in this passage, amongst other things:—

1. The consistency of the Saviour.—The prayers He enjoins, the provisions He makes, the instructions He gives, are all of a piece.

2. The consideration of the Saviour.—He does not set His workmen to begin at the top of the ladder. He does not ask from them at first what, to many among them, will not be too easy at last. Not first apart from Him, but first by His side.

3. The forethought of the Saviour.—He sets them at first to that which will help to qualify them for what has to be done at the last.

4. The authority of the Saviour.—It is partly as a Master, partly as a Prophet, and partly as the Ruler of time that He speaks. Do you, my fellow-workmen, do as I bid you, and you will find God's providence on your side! So here in prospect. So afterwards in retrospect also. See again Luk .


Mat . The seed of the church.—

I. Christ selected men for a specific work.—Not all who followed Him were required to become preachers of the gospel; not all who accepted Him were even required to follow Him personally. On the contrary, he forbade some to do so; some He bade go back to their homes; some He forbade to talk about Him. Twelve men He selected for the special work of preaching His gospel. There is a ground and authority in Christ's own example for a professionally appointed, life-consecrated, life-devoted ministry.

II. But while He established such an order, organised it, if you will, He organised it as a prophetic, not a priestly order.

III. This order was wholly dependent upon the voluntary subscription of the people for its support.

IV. It was an itinerant ministry.

V. It was to be a philanthropic ministry.—L. Abbott, D.D.

Mat . The King's ambassadors.—

I. Note the broad fact that there is an order in the enumeration of the twelve.—The number, of course, has reference to the twelve tribes, and proclaims that the kingdom, of which they were the ministers, is the true Israel. In each group the same Apostle is at the head in all the lists. Clearly the most important come first, and probably the most important in each group heads it. They were brethren, and, in some sense, a pure specimen of a Christian democracy; and yet the men of weight came to the front, and there are degrees among them dependent on their force of goodness and consecration, as well as on natural endowment.

II. Note, too, the smaller groups within the circle.—There were, at all events, two pairs of brothers, who constituted the four chief Apostles. One theory makes a third pair in the persons of James and Judas, or Thaddæus as Matthew calls him. Philip and Bartholomew (i.e. Nathanael) were friends. All the first six were closely connected before their discipleship. Further, Matthew and Luke—in both his lists—give the names in pairs; and Mark, who does not do so, mentions what was, no doubt, the reason for the pairs, that they were originally sent out by twos.

1. Learn the good of companionship in Christian service, which solaces and checks excessive individuality and makes men brave. One and one is more than two, for each man is more than himself by the companionship.

2. Note the allowableness of special friendships among Christian workers, the consecration of friendship, and the beauty of the bonds of kindred and amity when they are heightened and sanctified by yoking us to Christ's plough.

3. These lists also teach us that Christ's service separates and dissolves natural ties. One of the twelve was Thomas Didymus, and his name in both languages means "a twin." Where was his twin brother?

III. Note, again, the variations in the order.—Matthew belongs to the second group, and in his own Gospel stands last in it. The lowest place which he could take he modestly takes. Another little touch of lowliness lies in the fact that he, and he only, calls himself "the publican," and that in no other instance is the occupation of any of them mentioned. The list in Acts may be taken as giving the final positions of the Apostles; and in it the pairs of brothers in the first group are parted, Peter and James being united, as probably the more active, while John, whose work was "to tarry," and Andrew, are placed together—the latter being last, as certainly the least important of the four. Then, in the second division, Thomas comes up from the last place, which he occupies in Mark and Luke, and probably would have occupied in Matthew, but for that Apostle's modesty, and is coupled with Philip, whose companion Nathanael, whom he brought to Jesus, is now put third. So we may learn that our place in Christ's army is altered by our diligence and faithful use of opportunities. It used to be said that in Napoleon's time every French soldier carried a field-marshal's baton in his knapsack. Every Christian soldier has the possibility of high rank, and his advance will injure or hinder none of his fellows.

IV. We may note, too, the lessons of the last pair of names.—Simon, the Zealot, had been a member of that fierce party who were ready to draw the sword against Rome, and in whom hot passion masqueraded as holy zeal. The impure fire had been clarified, and turned into holy enthusiasm, by union with Christ, who alone has power to correct and elevate earthly passion into calm and permanent consecration and ardour. What a contrast he presents to the last name! A strangely assorted couple, these two; the zealot, and the cold-blooded, selfish betrayer, whose stagnant soul has never been moved by any breath of zeal for anything! Contact with Christ hurts where it does not help, and maddens to malignant hatred if it does not soften to adoring love.

V. But perhaps, not the least important lesson to be learned from these names, is that contained in the plain fact that of half of them we never hear again.—None of them, except the three "who seemed to be pillars," appear to have been of much importance in the work of the church.—A. Maclaren, D.D.

Our Lord's Apostles.—

1. Laymen, unconnected with the priesthood.

2. Unlearned men, unconnected with traditional philosophy.

3. Plain men, unconnected with the false culture and the pomp of the world.

4. Pious Israelites.

5. Believers in the Messiah.

6. Disciples.

7. Men of gifts, and that of so diverse a character as to form a kind of contrast, and yet to display their higher unity in Christ.—J. P. Lange, D.D.

Wisdom in the Lord's choice of Apostles.—In this, as in all other matters, our Lord's selection was guided by a wisdom above that of the world, and justified by the attainment of the ends in view. There were two reasons why this principle of careful adaptation of means to ends should not have been neglected by our Lord. He bore our nature in all but its sins, and therefore must have followed the general lines of human foresight; and as He lived for our example it is incredible that He should have shown a disregard of natural fitness in the means employed, which it is admitted no living man would be profited or even justified in displaying. If we examine His choice of Apostles from the human point of view, we are disposed to reckon amongst His motives:—

I. His desire for sympathy.—His nature was genial. But were the Twelve whom He actually selected qualified to give Him the required support? When He chose them their faith was of the feeblest; they appeared unable to enter into His plans or understand His lofty motives, and often when He came to them after the fatigue and disappointments of public teaching they would harass His spirit with some trifling contention. What joy could He find in the society of minds so coarsely strung and so little in harmony with His own pure and sensitive heart? At times, indeed, He seems to have felt the jar unbearable, and gladly to have escaped at evening from the jangling voices of the house to find the solace of the Father's presence amid the hush of the listening stars. Yet, in spite of this incongruity of temper, He could and did find true help in their attendance. He ordained them that they should "be with Him"; He called them not servants but friends; His appreciation of their friendship discovered itself in the pathetic appeal, "Will ye also go away?" and at the end He expressed even gratitude for their sympathy, saying, "Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations." Encouragement ought to flow forth to us from this fact, that common people, poor artisans, rustics of unpolished manners, were not too vulgar company for Him, and that their stumbling faith, their brooding doubts, and grievous sins did not hinder Him from taking them as His daily associates.

II. As a second motive prompting His choice, may be named His design that the Apostles should bear public witness of all they saw and heard whilst remaining with Him.—But, granted the need for witnesses, were the men upon whom the solemn choice fell competent for the discharge of so grave a function? The miracles of Jesus were of a kind which the humblest observer could judge, and perhaps judge even better than his superiors in rank. It becomes us, moreover, to remember that, even if the Twelve were in any measure disqualified by inferior station from bearing trustworthy evidence, they were thereby just as much incapacitated for the concoction of a clever forgery.

III. He called them also to aid Him in His life-work and prosecute it for Him after His departure from the earth.—So brief was His public ministry that, but for their co-operation, He could not have done all the acts of mercy, nor said all the words of wisdom, which were crowded into that eventful time. And if during His sojourn here He needed their services in spreading His doctrine and healing the sick, much more would those services be required when His day of earthly work was ended. In His choice of such men for sympathy, witness, and active work, we cannot fail to see that He calls no man common or unclean, but that, as the sun can turn a chip of glass into a flashing gem, or transfigure the dullest bank of cloud into a Himalaya range, so the least promising materials can in His hands be manipulated to grandest ends.—C. E. B. Reed, M.A.

Mat . Christ's choice of Apostles.—As there is no comparison for effectiveness between the single machine which prints so many sheets of paper, or winds so many reels of silk in the hour, and the steam engine which sets and keeps in motion a whole room full of such machines, so the man who seeks to do the largest amount of good will recognise that far higher results may be attained by instructing a few persons of influence who "shall be able to teach others also," than by working always upon an inert mass, destitute of life and reproductive energy. Hence we find that all the world's greatest teachers have gathered around them disciples. Socrates frequented the market-place and gymnasia of Athens at their busiest hours, and was ready to talk with anybody and everybody; but there clustered about him a group of pupils and companions, whom he took pains to instruct in the esoteric parts of his system, because to them he looked for its preservation and propagation. Nor was his hope misplaced; for the thoughts of mankind were moulded and stamped in succeeding ages by the rough old Greek, who, through Plato and Aristotle, his intellectual heirs, exercised a widening power through many generations. Peter the Hermit inflaming Europe to the Crusades, Luther waving on the world against priestly craft and tyranny, Loyola the founder of the Society of Jesus, Savonarola at Florence with his penitents, and in England the twin leaders of Methodism—these are examples of religious teachers, not in every case formally organising disciples, but ever setting their followers to work, and through their labours reaching men of all lands and in days long after the watch-fires of their own lives had died down. This same principle was acknowledged by our Saviour to a remarkable degree.—C. E. B. Reed, M.A.

Mat . Christ and Judas.—Jesus Himself knew Judas from the beginning, and yet selected him. The choice was in mercy. There was yet time to check the disciple's evil tendencies, and his character might have developed into strength and nobleness. Never was there such an opportunity as was now given to him! Not only was he placed beneath the influence of Christ's own character and teaching, but there were, all through that Divine ministry, special appeals, directed against his besetting sin, which might well have sunk into his heart. "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." "Take heed and beware of covetousness." "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye." Such words as these become most significant and solemn when we think of Judas as listening to them. Jesus uttered them, knowing what was in the heart of His disciple. They were the last appeals of love to a heart where the world and self were becoming supreme.—S. G. Green, D.D.

Mat . Home first!—

I. Home first is the dictate of a true philanthropy.

II. The law is the dictate of wisdom as well as love.—

1. We have greater facilities for giving the gospel to our neighbours than to foreigners.

2. Our neighbours, when evangelised, would become more effective allies than foreigners. The stronger the forces in the centre, the more powerfully the influence will be felt at the extremities.—D. Thomas, D.D.

Mat . The work of Christ's Missionaries.—I. Preaching.—Heralding. A message to deliver.

II. Working.—To disciples miraculous powers were entrusted, only to forcibly illustrate what, with God's help, our ordinary powers can do. See our work for:

1. Those in suffering; "heal the sick."

2. In disability; "cleanse the lepers."

3. In wickedness; "cast out devils." Learn the value of auxiliaries to missionary labours; medicine and charity open hearts to receive.

III. Giving.—"Freely ye have received, freely give." Nothing that we have is for keeping.

IV. Trusting.—Let your care be entirely about your work, and not about yourselves. The greatest of all curiosities would be the man who was in want because he gave so much to Christ, and to His cause.—Weekly Pulpit.

Christ's itinerant preachers.—The pilgrims, lightly attired, carrying in their hearts the treasures of heaven.

I. Outwardly unburdened.

II. Inwardly laden with the greatest riches.—J. P. Lange, D.D.

Mat . The kingdom of God with men.—We learn from this passage how needful it is for us all to remember that the kingdom of God exists now in the world. Consider:—

I. What this remembrance means.—God has come forth from His hiding place that we may know Him as a people knows its king, may have communion with Him, and may love Him, as a subject loves his sovereign. Our labour is from henceforth no longer earthly and perishable, it reaches on to heaven.

II. Who are those that most need this reminder?

1. Those who are well satisfied with earth.—Who blindly live by the day, apparently oblivious even to the idea of a kingdom of God.

2. Those who by a spiritualising of earthly things seek to transform the earth itself into the kingdom of heaven.—To them I would say, the kingdom that you strive to raise is here already—no realm of dreams, but a kingdom of glorious reality; break loose from your enchanted world, and believe in the truth which has appeared among us!

3. Those who think their own power sufficient to establish the kingdom of heaven.—R. Rothe.

Mat . Receiving to give.—

I. Man, a needy dependent creature.—Never self-sufficient. Looks up to God by a law of his nature.

II. Man receives freely.—Without money and without price, not stintedly. "God upbraids not" for ingratitude, unworthiness, and abuse. A Christian is abundantly blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ.

III. Man receives freely to give freely.—Nature gives freely; the sun and the moon, the sea and soil, flowers and trees give in fulfilling the end of their creation. Man gives voluntarily or involuntarily. Giving is a command of Scripture, and the duty of Christians especially. Give money, time, influence, life, all for Christ. Give freely, you have received freely. "God loves a cheerful giver." If you would receive, give; if you would live, give (Luk ).—The Study.

Mat . "Abide."—The reason is very obvious to one acquainted with Oriental questions. When a stranger arrives in a village or an encampment, the neighbours, one after another, must invite him to eat with them. There is a strict etiquette about it, involving much ostentation and hypocrisy; and a failure in the due observance of this system of hospitality is violently resented, and often leads to alienation and feuds among neighbours. It also consumes much time, causes unusual distraction of mind, leads to levity, and every way counteracts the success of a spiritual mission. On these accounts the Evangelists were to avoid these feasts; they were sent, not to be honoured and feasted, but to call men to repentance, prepare the way of the Lord, and proclaim that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. They were, therefore, first to seek a becoming habitation to lodge in, and there abide until their work in that city was accomplished.—Thomson's "Land and Book."

Fireside preaching.—They went from town to town, receiving hospitality, or rather taking it for themselves, according to custom. The guest in the East has many privileges; he is superior to the master of the house, who has the greatest confidence in him. This fireside preaching is admirably adapted to the propagation of new doctrines. The hidden treasure is communicated, and payment is thus made for what is received; politeness and good feeling lend their aid; the household is touched and converted. Remove Oriental hospitality, and it would be impossible to explain the propagation of Christianity. Jesus, who adhered strongly to good old customs, encouraged His disciples to make no scruple of profiting by this ancient public right, probably already abolished in the great towns where there were hostelries. Once installed in any house, they were to remain there, eating and drinking what was offered them, as long as their mission lasted.—Renan.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

"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: (6) But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (7) And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (9) Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, (10) Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. (11) And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. (12) And when ye come into an house, salute it. (13) And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. (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. (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."

We have in these verses, the Apostles' commission, where they were to preach, and what their preaching was to consist of; namely, of the near approach of Christ's kingdom; that is, Christ's Person and Christ's Salvation. The kingdom of grace distinguished from the law, and the kingdom of glory to which that grace led. John 1:17. And what a beautiful view is here afforded of those holy men going forth with their lives in their hands to preach Jesus. No gold, no silver, no money in their purse And the awful consequence to those who rejected their preaching is read to us most solemnly, in that, Sodom and Gomorrah will find more favor at the last day!

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

People's New Testament

Verily I say unto you. This formula always introduces a very emphatic saying.

More tolerable for the land of Sodom, etc. The cities of the Jordan valley destroyed for their sins in the time of Abraham (Genesis 19:1-28). These cities did not have the opportunity, and hence, not the responsibility, of those to which Christ or his apostles preached.

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Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "People's New Testament". 1891.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Matthew 10:14-15. Whosoever shall not receive you — That is, entertain you kindly; nor, in an obedient manner, hearken to your words, when you depart, &c., shake off the dust of your feet — The Jews thought the land of Israel so peculiarly holy, that when they came home from any heathen country they stopped at the borders, and shook or wiped off the dust of it from their feet, that the holy land might not be polluted with it. Therefore the action here enjoined was a lively intimation, that those Jews who had rejected the gospel were holy no longer, but were on a level with heathen and idolaters. Verily, It shall be more tolerable, &c. — As if he had said, And indeed you have reason to shake off the dust of your feet in such a case, for whatever profession such Jews may make of their regard to the true God, and however they may continue to boast of their national privileges, their punishment at the day of final judgment shall not only be greater than that of the generality of Gentile sinners, but even than that of those monsters of unnatural wickedness who formerly inhabited Sodom and Gomorrah, and were consumed with fire and brimstone from heaven. For the people of those cities never sinned against such extraordinary light and such singular favours as they will do who reject the gospel now to be preached to them, with great plainness and power, by you, and attested by such miracles as I shall enable you to perform.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

More tolerable (ανεκτοτερονanektoteron). The papyri use this adjective of a convalescent. People in their vernacular today speak of feeling “tolerable.” The Galileans were having more privileges than Sodom and Gomorrah had.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

J. C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John, his brother; Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Jesus sent these twelve out, and charged them, saying, "Don't go among the Gentiles, and don't enter into any city of the Samaritans. Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, preach, saying, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. Don't take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts. Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food. Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on. As you enter into the household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn't worthy, let your peace return to you. Whoever doesn't receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet. Most certainly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

This chapter is one of peculiar solemnity. Here is the record of the first ordination which ever took place in the church of Christ. The Lord Jesus chooses and sends forth the twelve apostles. Here is an account of the first charge ever delivered to newly ordained Christian ministers. The Lord Jesus Himself delivers it. Never was there so important an ordination. Never was there so solemn a charge!

There are three lessons which stand out prominently on the face of the first fifteen verses of this chapter. Let us take them in order.

We are taught, in the first place, that all ministers are not necessarily saved men. We see our Lord choosing a Judas Iscariot to be one of His apostles. We cannot doubt that He who knew all hearts, knew well the characters of the men whom He chose. And He includes in the list of apostles one who was a traitor!

We shall do well to bear in mind this fact. Ordination does not confer the saving grace of the Holy Spirit. Ordained men are not necessarily converted. We are not to regard them as infallible, either in doctrine or in practice. We are not to make popes or idols of them, and insensibly put them in Christ's place. We are to regard them as "men of like passions" with ourselves, liable to the same infirmities, and daily requiring the same grace. We are not to think it impossible for them to do very bad things, or to expect them to be above the reach of harm from flattery, covetousness, and the world. We are to prove their teaching by the word of God, and follow them so far as they follow Christ, but no further. Above all, we ought to pray for them, that they may be successors not of Judas Iscariot, but of James and John. It is an dreadful thing to be a minister of the Gospel! Ministers need many prayers.

We are taught, in the next place, that the great work of a minister of Christ is to do good. He is sent to seek "lost sheep,"--to proclaim glad tidings--to relieve those who are suffering--to diminish sorrow--and to increase joy. His life is meant to be one of "giving," rather than receiving.

This is a high standard, and a very peculiar one. Let it be well weighed, and carefully examined. It is plain, for one thing, that the life of a faithful minister of Christ cannot be one of ease. He must be ready to spend body and mind, time and strength, in the work of His calling. Laziness and frivolity are bad enough in any profession, but worst of all in that of a watchman for souls. It is plain, for another thing, that the position of the ministers of Christ is not that which ignorant people sometimes ascribe to them, and which they unhappily sometimes claim for themselves. They are not so much ordained to rule as to serve. They are not intended so much to have dominion over the Church, as to supply its needs, and serve its members. (2 Corinthians 1:24.) Happy would it be for the cause of true religion, if these things were better understood! Half the diseases of Christianity have arisen from mistaken notions about the pastor's office!

We are taught, in the last place, that it is a most dangerous thing to neglect the offers of the Gospel. It shall prove "more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah" in the judgment day, than for those who have heard Christ's truth, and not received it.

This is a doctrine fearfully overlooked, and one that deserves serious consideration. Men are sadly apt to forget, that it does not require great open sins to be sinned, in order to ruin a soul forever. They have only to go on hearing without believing, listening without repenting, going to Church without going to Christ, and by and bye they will find themselves in hell! We shall all be judged according to our light. We shall have to give account of our use of religious privileges. To hear of the "great salvation," and yet neglect it, is one of the worst sins man can commit. (John 16:9.)

What are we doing ourselves with the Gospel? This is the question which every one who reads this passage should put to his conscience. Let us assume that we are decent and respectable in our lives, correct and moral in all the relations of life, regular in our formal attendance on the means of grace. It is all well, so far as it goes. But is this all that can be said of us? Are we really receiving the love of the truth? Is Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith? If not, we are in fearful danger. We are far more guilty than the men of Sodom, who never heard the Gospel at all. We may awake to find, that in spite of our regularity, and morality, and correctness, we have lost our souls for all eternity. It will not save us to have lived in the full sunshine of Christian privileges, and to have heard the Gospel faithfully preached every week. There must be experimental acquaintance with Christ. There must be personal reception of His truth. There must be vital union with Him. We must become his servants and disciples. Without this, the preaching of the Gospel only adds to our responsibility, increases our guilt, and will at length sink us more deeply into hell. These are hard sayings. But the words of Scripture, which we have read, are plain and unmistakable. They are all true.

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Ryle, J. C. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "J. C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels".

Sermon Bible Commentary

Matthew 10:1-20

Jesus giving His Power to His Followers.


I. The work Christ's followers were to do. They were to do the mysterious work which the Master had done, and to preach as both He and John had preached. They were sent forth to do and to serve, but were done by and served as they went. Having been entrusted with the responsibility of a great message, and furnished with a power which was the envy and amazement of all, there ought to be an elevation of their consciousness into some correspondence with the dignity of their theme and the mystery of their power. They were called as servants, but were sent forth as friends in the communion of the mystery of the Master's power. He ought to have been more to them for ever after that.

II. The trials they were to endure. The brute forces of the world would be aroused against them as they preached the kingdom that cometh not by observation, and the savage in the man would be awakened by their cry for repentance. Law, as expounded by the scribe, and administered by the magistrate, would be made to appear against them. The force of religious prejudice and conviction was to be directed against them, and zeal for God to be turned to the detriment of God's servants. What were they against the mighty host coming up against them? Nothing, indeed, unless the eye rested on God.

III. The conduct they were to pursue. (1) Whatever should betide them, they were to remember Him by whom they had been sent. (2) They were to be wise as serpents. The apostle of any movement needs the by no means ordinary combination of zeal and wisdom. (3) They were to be harmless as doves; their wisdom was to be used neither to hurt nor to unnecessarily annoy. Their only concern was to be both harmless and wise, beyond that they had nothing and they had all, for they had God.

J. O. Davies, Sunrise on the Soul, p. 137.

References: Matthew 10:1—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xix., No. 1127. Matthew 10:1, Matthew 10:2.—Ibid., vol. xii., No. 702. Matthew 10:1-4.—A. B. Bruce, The Training of the Twelve, p. 30; Parker, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xviii., p. 177; Ibid., Inner Life of Christ, vol. ii., p. 125.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

THE FIRST PREACHING OF THE TWELVE. The locality from which the Twelve were sent out, and the length of their tour are unknown. But Galilee, where our Lord had Himself labored so long, was doubtless the scene of this first mission, which probably covered some time. The instruction given, though directly applicable to the Twelve on that occasion, ‘may be taken as the type of all the commissions given by Christ to His servants.’ (Lange.) We divide the discourse into two sections. The second one is peculiar to Matthew, and more general in its character. The present one was more immediately applicable to the first preaching tour.

Both Mark (Mark 6:7-11) and Luke (Luke 9:2-5; comp. Matthew 5:3-16) record the substance of this section, but Matthew, himself an Apostle, gives a fuller statement, appending much that is not found in the other Evangelists. Matthew 10:5-6 tell where they were to go; Matthew 10:7-8 what they were to do (preach and heal); Matthew 10:9-10 describe their outfit or want of outfit; Matthew 10:11-14 their conduct in cases of reception and rejection, while Matthew 10:15 adds a solemn warning in reference to the latter case. ‘In these first verses (5, 6) we have the location; in Matthew 10:7-8 the purpose; in Matthew 10:9-10 the fitting out; and in Matthew 10:11-14 the manner of proceedings of their mission; Matthew 10:15 concluding with a prophetic denouncement, tending to impress them with a deep sense of the importance of the office entrusted to them’ (Alford).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 10:15. The solemn formula, Verily I say unto you, introduces a prophetic denunciation of those who rejected them.

The land of Sodom, etc., the inhabitants of those guilty and doomed cities. The higher the spiritual offer rejected, the greater the sin. Applicable then only to the Jews with their light, now only to professing Christians, not to the heathen. As the rejection would be general, instructions follow which apply to the ministry of the Apostles during persecutions, introducing suitable warnings and comforts.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

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.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

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.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

The Biblical Illustrator

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 10:15". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

Chapter 9

The King's Ambassadors - Matthew 9:36-38; Matthew 10:1-42

I - THE MISSION. [Matthew 9:36-38 - Matthew 10:1-5]

So far the King Himself has done all the work of the kingdom. But it has grown upon Him, so that He can no longer do it without assistance; He must therefore provide Himself with deputies. His doing so will be the first step in the organisation of His world-wide kingdom. He reveals, however, no plan laid down to meet all possible emergencies. It is enough to provide for necessities as they develop themselves. He constructs no mechanism beforehand into the different parts of which life may be afterwards guided or forced; His only care is about the life, knowing well that if only this be full and strong, the appropriate organization will be ready when it is needed.

In conformity with this principle He does not make His arrangements, necessary as they manifestly are, without first providing that they shall not be mechanical, but vital, that they shall originate, not as a contrivance of mind, but as an outflow of soul. First, we are informed by the Evangelist that the soul of the Master Himself was stirred with compassion as He looked upon the multitude, and thought how much they needed in the way of shepherding, and how little it was possible for them to have. It was no matter of planning for the extension of His kingdom; it was a great yearning over the sheep that were scattered, and torn, [Matthew 9:36, Gk. of oldest MSS.} and lost. {Matthew 10:6] But it is not enough that the Master’s heart should be touched: the disciples also must be moved. So He turns their thoughts in the same direction, urging them to observe how plenteous the harvest, how few the labourers; and therefore to pray that the lack may be speedily supplied. He sets them thinking and praying about it-the only way to lay foundations for that which shall be true and lasting. Let it be observed further, that the two emblems He uses present most strikingly the great motives to missionary work: compassion for the lost, and zeal for the Divine glory. "Sheep having no shepherd,"-this appeals to our human sympathies; the Lord of the harvest deprived of His harvest for want of labourers to gather it in, -this appeals to our love and loyalty to God.

The result of their thought and prayer presently appears; for we read in the next sentence of the setting apart of the twelve disciples to the work. It does not follow, because the narrative is continuous, that the events recorded were; it is probable that an interval elapsed which would be largely spent in prayer, according to the word of the Master.

This is the first mention of the Twelve in this Gospel; but it is evident that the number had been already made up, for they are spoken of as "His twelve disciples." It would appear from the second and third gospels that, immediately before the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount, the Twelve were chosen from the whole number of disciples to be constantly with Him, as witnesses of His works and learners of His doctrine. By this time they had been so far instructed and trained by their companionship with Christ, that they could be safely intrusted with a mission by themselves; accordingly, He for the first time gives them power to do deeds of mercy of the same sort as those which He Himself had been doing, as signs of the kingdom of heaven.

As the apostles have not been mentioned before, their names are appropriately given here. The number "twelve" was no doubt significant, as suggestive of the twelve tribes of Israel; but there was plainly no attempt to have the tribes represented separately. It would seem as if all were Galileans, except one, and that one was Judas Iscariot (i.e., the man of Kerioth, supposed to be a town in Judea). The reason of this almost exclusive choice of Galileans is in all probability to be found in the simple fact that there were none other available. There had been those, in the course of His Judean ministry, who had after a certain fashion believed on Him; but there was not one of them whom He could trust with such work as this. [John 2:23-25] It may be thought, indeed, that surely there might have been some better representative-at least, than Judas proved himself to be-of the southern tribes; but why should we think so? We have no reason to suppose that Judas was a traitor at heart when he was chosen. Perhaps there was in him at that time the making of as grand an apostle as the best of them. It was not long, indeed, before the demon in him began to betray itself to the searching glance of the Master [John 6:70] but had he only in the power of the Master he followed, cast that demon out of his own heart, as possibly enough he may have helped in this very mission to cast demons out of others, all would have been well. The subsequent fall of the traitor does not by any means show that Christ now made a mistaken choice; it only shows that the highest privileges and opportunities may, by the tolerance of sin in the heart, be not only all in vain, but may lead to a condemnation and ruin more terrible by far than would have been possible without them.

Not only was the apostolate Galilean, - it was plebeian, and that without a solitary exception. It seems to include not a single person of recognised rank or position. Again, we believe that this is to be accounted for by the simple fact that there were none of these available. We cannot suppose that if there had been a disciple like Paul in the ranks, the Master would have hesitated to give him a place in the sacred college; but, seeing there was none, He would not go out of His way to secure a representative of the learned or the great. Had Nicodemus been bold enough to come out decidedly on the Lord’s side, or had Joseph of Arimathea developed earlier that splendid courage which he showed when the Master’s work on earth was done, we can scarcely doubt that their names might have been included in the roll. But there is no such name; and now, as we look back, was it not better so? Otherwise there could not have been such a wonderful illustration of the great fact that "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty"; there could not otherwise have been the same invincible evidence that the work these men did was not the work of men, but was indeed and in truth the doing of God.

Though they were all from the lower ranks of life, they were characterised by great varieties of gifts and dispositions. Some of them, indeed, are scarcely known to us at all. It may be that they were more or less ordinary men, who made no special mark; but it would be rash to set this down as certain, or even as probable, seeing that our records of the time are so scanty, and are manifestly constructed with the idea, not of giving to every man his due-as would be the poor ideal of a mere writer of history-but of making nothing of the men, and everything of the cause and of the Master in Whose great Personality theirs was merged. But those of them who do appear in the records are men of such varied dispositions and powers that the Twelve might after all have been a fair miniature of the Church at large. Some of the selections seem very strange. We have already referred to Judas the traitor. But there were those among them who must have been far less likely men than he. There were two in particular, the choice of whom seemed to violate all dictates of wisdom and prudence. These were Matthew the publican and Simon the Cananean or Zealot. To have a publican, hated as the whole class was, among the apostles, was apparently to invite the hostility and contempt of the great majority of the nation, and especially of those who were strongly national in feeling. On the other hand, to invite one who was known as a Zealot a radical and revolutionist in politics, a man who had identified himself with the wildest schemes for the overthrow of the Government, was to provoke the opposition of all the law-abiding and peace-loving people of the time. Yet how could the heavenly King have more effectually shown that His kingdom was not of this world, that the petty party spirit of the day had no place in it whatever, that it mattered not what a man had been, if now he was renewed in the spirit of his mind, and consecrated in heart and soul and life to do the will of God and serve his Master Christ?

So it has come to pass that, though these twelve men had nothing at all to recommend them to the favour of the world, and though there was very much from every worldly point of view to create the strongest prejudices against them and to militate against their influence, yet they have, by the grace of their Divine Master, so triumphed over all, that when we think of them now, it is not as fishermen, nor as publican or Zealot-even the traitor has simply dropped out of sight-we see before us only "the glorious company of the apostles"!

II-THE COMMISSION. [Matthew 10:5-42]

"These twelve Jesus sent forth" (in pairs, as we learn elsewhere, and as is indicated here, perhaps, by the grouping in the list), "and charged them." This leads us to look at their commission. It begins with a limitation, which, however, was only to be temporary. The time had not yet come for the opening of the door to the Gentiles. Besides this, we must remember that the Saviour’s heart was yearning over His own people. This appears in the tender way He speaks of them as "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Moreover, the apostles were by no means ready, with all their national prejudices still rank in them, to be intrusted with so delicate and difficult a duty as getting into communication with an alien race. Accordingly their field is strictly limited to their own countrymen.

There seems to have been a limitation also in their message. They had themselves been to some extent instructed in regard to the nature of the kingdom, its blessedness, its righteousness, its leading principles and features; but, though they may have begun to get some glimpse of the truth in regard to these great matters, they certainly had not yet made it their own; accordingly they are given, as the substance of their preaching, only the simple announcement, with which the Baptist had also begun his ministry, and with which Christ commenced His: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Though there seems to have been a limitation on the teaching side, there was none on the side of healing, for their Lord empowers them to do the very same things for the relief of their suffering fellow-countrymen as they had seen Himself doing. We have already seen how much teaching there was in these signs of the kingdom; and we can well believe that it was far better, considering the stage of advancement the apostles had reached, that reliance should be placed on the light such deeds of mercy would necessarily throw on the nature of the kingdom, than on any exposition which, apart from their Master, they could at that time have been able to give. Above all it is to be clear that the privileges of the kingdom are free to all; its blessings are to be dispensed without money and without price: "Freely ye have received, freely give."

How, then, were they to be supported? About this they were to give themselves no concern. They were now to put in practice the great command, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness," relying on the promise, "all these things shall be added unto you." But in no miraculous way are they to look for the provision of their wants. They are to be maintained by those among whom and for whom they labour. This was to be no burden, but a privilege, reserved for those who were found "worthy." [Matthew 10:11] Nor was it to be divided among as many as possible. They were to stay on with the same person who first received them, as the one whom the Master had chosen for the honour; while, if any refused to recognise it as a privilege, there was to be no weak solicitation, but a dignified withdrawal. The regulations throughout are manifestly intended to keep most vividly before their minds that they went not in their own names, nor in their own strength, nor at their own charges, -that they were ambassadors of a King, clothed with His authority, armed with His power, vested with His rights; so that there is a manifest appropriateness in the solemn words with which this part of the commission closes: "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" which rejects you. [Matthew 10:15]

The part of the charge which follows, and which the limitation of our plan will not allow us to illustrate point by point, bears not so much on the work more immediately before them as on the whole work of their apostolate. It may have been spoken, as some suppose, later on, and only put here as germane to the occasion; for, as we have seen, the arrangement of this gospel is not chronological, but is largely topical. Still there seems no very strong reason for supposing that the entire discourse was not spoken at this very time; for why should not the apostles in the very beginning of their way have some idea of what it would cost them to accept the work to which they were now called?

The leading thoughts are these: They must expect to be exposed to trial and suffering in the prosecution of their mission. The Master Himself was sorely tried, and the servant must not expect exemption. He is not indeed to court trials, or to submit to persecutions which are not inevitable: "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another." On the other hand, when the path of duty lies evidently through trial or danger, he must not shirk it, but face it boldly; and in all emergencies he is to place implicit confidence in Him Whose servant he is: "When they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak" (R.V.). "The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore." There is no way of avoiding the cross; and they would be quite unworthy of their Master should they seek to avoid it. Yet there is a great reward for those who bravely take it up and patiently bear it to the end. It is the way to higher honour, [Matthew 10:32] and to the only life that is worthy of the name; [Matthew 10:39] while to turn away from it is to choose a path which leads to shame [Matthew 10:33] and death. [Matthew 10:39]

The passage, taken up, as so much of it has been, with the anticipations of ill-treatment which the apostles will receive in setting out as sheep in the midst of wolves, closes most appropriately and beautifully with a series of blessings on those who will treat them well, ending with the encouraging assurance that even a cup of cold water given to a thirsty disciple will not be forgotten of God.

The lessons on Christian work with which this passage abounds are so numerous that it would be vain to attempt to unfold them. It is not merely a record of facts; it is an embodiment of great principles which are to govern the disciples of Christ in their service to the end of the world. If only the Church as a whole were to think and pray as Christ taught His disciples to think and pray before this great event; and then if the labourers whom God has sent, or would, in answer to the prayers of the Church, immediately send, into His harvest were to act-not necessarily according to the letter, but in every part according to the spirit of these instructions, - using their own faculties with all the wisdom of the serpent, and trusting to Divine grace and power with all the simplicity of the dove-it would not be long before all the scattered sheep were gathered into the fold, all the ripe sheaves garnered for the Lord of the harvest!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "Expositor's Bible Commentary".

The Fourfold Gospel

Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment1, than for that city.

  1. It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment. See for a comment on similar remarks. God judges all men with reference to their opportunities.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "The Fourfold Gospel". Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

The Gospels Compared

1God creates heaven and earth;
3the light;
6the firmament;
9separates the dry land;
14forms the sun, moon, and stars;
20fishes and fowls;
24cattle, wild beasts, and creeping things;
26creates man in his own image, blesses him;
29grants the fruits of the earth for food.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 10:15". "The Gospels Compared". 2014.

The Pulpit Commentaries


For introductory notes to this chapter, see Matthew 9:35.

Matthew 10:1

Parallel passages: Mark 6:7; Luke 9:1. The prayer (Matthew 9:38) is answered in the persons of those who were taught to pray. Christ establishes his new agency. And when he had called unto him. From the circle of the bystanders. His twelve disciples. Who had already been chosen to be specially with him (cf. Matthew 9:35, note; and Matthew 5:1). Twelve. To be heads of the tribes of the new Israel (Revelation 21:14; cf. James 1:1; Matthew 19:28). Observe that the office of the tribes of the covenant nation corresponded to the symbolism of the number 12 (3, Deity, x 4, world = Church). He gave them power; authority (Revised Version); ἐξουσίαν: the greater including the less. So Mark, but Luke expands to δύναμιν καὶ ἐξουσίαν. Against; over (Revised Version); simple genitive. Unclean spirits (Matthew 4:24. note). Unclean. As belonging to the unholy, non-theocratic kingdom, the realm of darkness. "Hence also unclean animals (Matthew 8:31, sqq.; Revelation 18:2) and places (Matthew 12:43, sqq.) have a kind of natural relationship with such spirits" (Kubel). To cast them out. Their authority was to ex-send to this. And to heal. Probably connected, not with ὥστε, but with ἐξουσίαν (cf. Luke). Observe that nothing is said of their receiving authority to convert. This God himself keeps. But they can remove all hindrances other than those purely subjective and spiritual, whether the objective hindrances be intruding evil spirits affecting body and mind or only bodily diseases. All manner, etc. (Matthew 9:35, note).

Matthew 10:2-4

THE NAMES OF THE AGENTS. Parallel passages: Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16 (cf. Acts 1:13). This Commentary upon St. Luke deals so fully both with the list as a whole and with the separate names that it will not be necessary to say much here. Observe that the general agreement in arrangement points to some common basis underlying all four accounts; also that of these the one found in the Acts is the briefest, giving little more than the bare names; and that that found in our Gospel, on the contrary, is the fullest, containing, with two exceptions (vide infra), the details mentioned in one or other of the parallels, and adding two of its own. It mentions, in one instance or more, the parentage (Zebedee, Alphaeus), the relationship ("his brother … his brother"), the birthplace (Kerioth), the earlier occupation and religious standpoint ("publican … Zealot"), and, with a bare hint at the beginning (vide infra), but a clear statement at the end, the after-history ("first... who also betrayed him") of the apostles. The two omissions are the fact that our Lord added the names of Peter (parallels, but really given earlier, John 1:42) and Boanerges (Mark).

Matthew 10:2

Now the names, In the parallels part of the word "names" is found as a verb, "whom also he named apostles;" i.e. the naming there refers, not to the individuals, but to their office. Is the form found in our Gospel an "accidental" rearrangement due to a reminiscence that the word "name" occurred in the earliest source, or is it possible that the two facts are connected, and that the individuals received a new name when they definitely entered on a new office? That they should have received a new name seems a priori not improbable, but the evidence is very slight. "Peter" is a clear case, for though the name was given earlier, it would receive a new application now, and perhaps was now again expressly given (cf. parallel passages); and other cases may be St. Matthew and possibly St. Bartholomew and St. Thaddaeus. Mark expressly says that the term "Boanerges" was given to the sons of Zebedee; but as there is no evidence that either St. James or St. John was afterwards known by this name, it need not have been a name in the same sense in which the others were. Observe the formal order of the first words of this verse ( τῶν δὲ δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τὰ ὀνόματα ἐστιν ταῦτα). Did the author of the Gospel take them from the heading of a section that already contained the names in order? If so the δέ would probably not have existed there, and it is worth noting that the original hand of D, the manuscript that is of special value for Palestinian tradition, omits it. Of the twelve (verse 1, note) apostles (verse 5, note) are these: The first. This, perhaps, refers to the order of call, Luke 5:1 (Nosgen), but more probably to the leading position that St. Peter held among the twelve. On this leadership, cf. the fragmentary excursus by Bishop Lightfoot, printed in 'Clement of Rome,' 2. 487. Simon. His Hebrew name was Simeon, but his Gentile name (Matthew 3:1, note) was Simon, this good Greek name being chosen as almost identical in sound. It occurs frequently in the Palestinian Talmud ( נומיס). Who is called Peter. In common Christian parlance (Matthew 4:18; cf. Matthew 16:18).

Matthew 10:3

Bartholomew. Nathanael (John 1:45, equivalent to Theodore) was so common a name (cf. Numbers 1:8; 1 Chronicles 2:14; 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 26:4; 2 Chronicles 17:7; 2 Chronicles 35:9; Ezra 10:22; Nehemiah 12:21, Nehemiah 12:36), that for further identification a patronymic ("son of Tolmai," Ptolemy) was used, which in this case, superseded the proper name. Thomas. "As Thomas ( δίδυμος), ' the Twin,' is properly a surname, and this apostle must have had some other name, there seems no reason for doubting this very early tradition [Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.,' Ecclesiastes 1:13, and probably the Old Syriac of John 14:22, et al.] that he also was a Jude". The ' Clem. Hem.,' 2.1, give Eliezer as the name of the other brother. Matthew the publican, James the son of Alphseus. And Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; and Thaddaeus (Revised Version); as also Mark, while Luke and Acts 1:13 read "Jude [the brother, Authorized Version, but better the son, Revised Version] of James," which was doubtless his proper name. If the word "Thaddaeus" ( יאדּתּ) was as seems likely (for Edersheim's connexion of it with todah, "praise," is based on what is apparently a mere play of words in Talm. Bob., 'Sanh.,' 43a), originally a pet-name (Sehosskind, "Bosom-child," Weiss, Nosgen) from ידֵּתַּ, "the female breasts," it is intelligible that he or others would prefer the somewhat synonymous "Lebbseus" ( בלֵ, "heart"), which might mean "child of one's heart," but more probably "courageous," found in the "Western" text. The similarity of sound would help towards this, even if another derivation that seems possible, "the Fiery" (from הבָּלִ, "kindle"), be the true one. In the latter case the appellation, "Jude the Zealot" (Old Latin), may rest on something more than a mistaken interpretation of the parallel passage in Luke. In Westcott and Herr, 'App.,' it is said that "this name [Lebbaeus] is apparently due to an early attempt to bring Levi ( δευείς) the publican (Luke 5:27) within the Twelve, it being assumed that his call was to apostleship just as in Mark 2:14 δευείς is changed in Western texts to ἰάκωβος, because τὸν τοῦ ἁλφαίου follows, and it was assumed that the son of Halphseus elsewhere named as one of the Twelve must be meant. The difference between the two forms of the name would be inconsiderable in Aramaic, Lewi and Levi or Lebi or Lebbi; and βεββαῖος might as easily represent Lebbi as θαδδαῖος Thaddi."

Matthew 10:4

Simon the Canaanite. Simon the Cananaean (Revised Version); ὁκαναναῖος representing Kann'an or Kan-'an ( נאנק), the Aramaic for "Zealot" (parallel passage in Luke; Acts 1:13), the name given to members of the extreme nationalist party founded about a.d. 7 by Judas of Gamala, a city that appears to have lain near the east coast of the sea of Galilee (vide Schurer, 1. 2.225). And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him; delivered him up, which seems more in accordance with παραδίδωμι, for, unlike "betray," and usually πμοδίδωμι, this does not in itself connote treachery.

Matthew 10:5

Parallel passages: Mark 6:7, Mark 6:8; Luke 9:2. These twelve Jesus sent forth; ἀπέστειλεν (cf. John 17:18). Till now they had formed an inner circle of μαθηταί (Matthew 9:35, note), but now they begin their work of carrying Christ's message to others. " ἀποστέλλω corresponds with the idea of our own words 'despatch' and ' envoy,' and conveys the accessory notions of a special commission, and so far of a delegated authority in the person sent" (Bishop Westcott, on John 20:21, Add. Note). Bengel suggests (on Luke 9:1) that the twelve were not all absent at once, but were sent out in relays; but Mark 6:30 is against this opinion (cf. also Luke 22:35). On the New Testament conception of the name and office of an apostle, cf. Bishop Lightfoot's classical note in 'Galatians'. And commanded them, saying; charged them (Revised Version). Important as the charge is, its necessary subordination to the fact that they were sent is expressed by the very form of the sentence ( ἀπέστειλεν … ( παραγγείλας).

Matthew 10:5 - 42

CHRIST'S COMMISSION TO HIS AGENTS. The connexion and development of thought in this important charge is exceedingly difficult to perceive, and has been understood in many ways. Perhaps that most generally accepted in this country is Alford's, according to which the charge is divided into three sections—the first (Matthew 10:5-15) referring to the mission to the cities of Israel; the second (Matthew 10:16-23) to the general mission of the apostles as developing itself, after the Lord should be taken from them, in preaching to Jews and Gentiles, ending with the close of the apostolic period in the narrower sense (Matthew 10:23 referring primarily to the destruction of Jerusalem); the third (Matthew 10:24-42) spoken directly of all the disciples of the Lord, concluding with the last great reward.

But this threefold historical arrangement seems to be little more than fanciful, the basis of truth Underlying it probably being that the charge in its present form is due to the writer of the Gospel (nor to our Lord directly), who desired not only to record what our Lord said at the time of this mission, but also to incorporate other sayings of his that bore upon similar work, and thus to give such a summary of our Lord's utterances as would be of special use to preachers of the gospel, irrespective of place or time.

Observe that ch. 5-7, referred to believers in their private capacity—laying stress on the relation that they were to hold to the religion of the day—while this chapter refers to them as representing Christ to the world. The original basis of the commission was addressed to men called to give their whole time to this work, but as the chapter stands it applies to all believers in their capacity of witnesses for Christ. The ministerial function of preaching committed to men selected for it is only an accentuation of one of the duties expected from all Christ's followers.

The development of thought in the chapter appears to be as follows:—

1. The external conditions of conveying Christ's message, with special reference to the immediate occasion (Matthew 7:5-15).

2. The internal conditions (Matthew 7:16 -39).

3. Final encouragement (verses 40-42).

Matthew 10:5-15

The external conditions of conveying Christ's message, with special reference to the immediate occasion. Our Lord points out

(a) the sphere of their work (Matthew 10:5, Matthew 10:6);

(b) the substance of their message (Matthew 10:7);

(c) its accompanying signs (Matthew 10:8);

(d) the external means and methods that they should employ (Matthew 10:9-15).

Matthew 10:5

Matthew only. The sphere of their work. The reasons for the limitation here expressly enforced are:

Matthew 10:6

But go. On your daily journeying ( πορέεσθε, present). Rather. With conscious preference. To the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Thus also he describes his own mission (Matthew 15:24). The words recall Jeremiah 50:6 (Jeremiah 27:6, LXX.), "My people hath been lost sheep." Observe that our Lord implies a special relation of Israel to God (for the house has its owner) which was lacking in the case of all other nations. Yet, their proper teachers having proved faithless, they were now as shepherdless as these (Matthew 9:36). Lost. Notice here the basis of the parable related in Luke 15:4-7; cf. Matthew 18:12, Matthew 18:13 (Matthew 18:11 of the Received Text is a gloss), where the term "wandering" is not so strong (Bengel).

Matthew 10:7

Parallel passages: Luke 9:2 (the twelve); Luke 10:9 (the seventy; observe that the substance of the proclamation was to be the same). And as ye go. For your journey is not to one place, but many. Preach. Aloud and publicly. Saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. That which men had so long been desiring (vide Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17) was now near. But had it not come (Matthew 12:28; Matthew 11:12)? Not in full realization. But its near realization was then a possibility, and was only not brought about because, as a nation, they rejected him who introduced it.

Matthew 10:8

We have here the details of the orders summarized in Matthew 10:1. The details are not given in Luke 9:1, Luke 9:2 or Luke 10:9. Heal the sick, etc. According to the true order of these commands, solely physical ills are mentioned first in their partial (sick) and in their final effect (dead); then physical and ceremonial pollution (lepers), which forms a transition to the mention of ills primarily spiritual, even though they ultimately affect the body (devils). On the good that might be expected from their performing these miracles, cf. Thomas Scott (in Ford), "Men will never believe that we really intend the good of their souls, if they do not find that we endeavour to do them good, disinterestedly, in temporal things (John 4:15)." Freely (vide infra) ye have (omit "have," with Revised Version) received. Blessings of the kingdom, but especially authority and power for this work (Luke 10:1). Freely give. All that is needed to carry that authority into effect—whatever toil and energy in soul and body the occasion may demand. The clause comes in Matthew only, but comp. Acts 20:35. Observe, Christ's recognition of the tendency of human nature to traffic in the holiest things. Did Judas take the warning at all to heart? (For the thought, cf. Wis. 7:13; Le 25:37, 38.) Freely. Gratuitously ( δωρεάν); comp. Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:17; Romans 3:24 (on God's side); 2 Corinthians 11:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:8 (on man's side).

Matthew 10:9, Matthew 10:10

Parallel passages: Mark 6:8; Luke 9:3 (the twelve); Luke 10:4 (the seventy); cf. also our Lord's reference in Luke 22:35 to the mission of the twelve. Provide; get you. There is no connotation of foresight in the word itself, but only of acquisition. Observe that the apostles are not forbidden to take what they already have. Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.,'shows that travellers ordinarily took with them a staff, a purse, shoes, a wallet, and sometimes a book of the Law. Neither gold, nor silver, nor brass. The brass would be the copper coinage of the Herods, which alone might be struck by them; or some of the Greek imperial coins, especially those struck at Antioch. The silver, either Greek imperial tetradrachms or Roman denarii of a quarter their weight, didrachms having fallen into disuse; only certain free cities were allowed to coin silver. The gold, as Palestine was a subject province, must have been coined at Rome, for she retained the coining of gold entirely in her own hands. In your purses; literally, girdles, which in the East often serve as purses. This prohibition may have been suggested by the last words of verse 8, but can hardly refer to them. It seems to regard the journey only (cf. parallel passages). Nor scrip; no wallet (Revised Version). At the present time, "all shepherds have them, and they are the farmer's universal vade-mecum. They are merely the skins of kids stripped off whole, and tanned by a very simple process". But they might be made even of fish-skin (Mishna, 'Kelim,' 24.11). Because of 1 Samuel 17:40, an haggada says that David's money was stamped with a staff and wallet on one side, and a tower on the other ('B'resh..R.,' § 39, in Levy, s.v. לימרת). For your journey. The clause is to be joined with "scrip" only. Neither two coats. A second for sabbaths and festivals. For the rabbinic rule insisted upon a different coat for these days from that ordinarily worn. To the objection of poor disciples, that they had but one garment for sabbath and week-day alike, R. Samlai said that they must at least change the way in which they wore it. Neither shoes. The parallel passage, Mark 6:9, has. "but to go shod with sandals" (Revised Version). This is, perhaps, a case of verbal inaccuracy, but as it is impossible to suppose that our Lord can have wished his disciples to go without the ordinary protection to the feet, or that the author of this Gospel, accustomed, on any theory, to Eastern modes of life, can have intended to credit him with such a wish, some other explanation of the verbal discrepancy must be looked for. The true explanation is probably this—The rabbis insisted so strongly on a man never appearing barefooted: "Let a man sell the beams of his house and buy shoes for his feet", that it is very possible that a second pair was often carried in ease of need. it is this that our Lord forbids. On the other hand, Jews did not carry one pair for sabbath and another for week-days (Talm. Jeremiah, 'Sabb.,' 6.2). Some commentators escape the difficulty by distinguishing between "shoes" and "sandals;" but it is very doubtful if the usage of the words is always so exact that one term excludes the other. Nor yet staves; nor staff (Revised Version). The plural, both here (Stephen) and in Luke 9:3 (Received Text), is a clumsy attempt to harmonize with Mark 6:1-56.8, where our Lord bids the twelve take nothing "save a staff only." The difference between the two reports of our Lord's words has been magnified by many commentators into a contradiction. But this is not the true state of the case. For it would be so extraordinary and apparently so useless an order to forbid their having a staff, that it is hard to suppose this to have been the meaning of his words as reported here. His thought in Mark 6:9, Mark 6:10 is rather that they were to make no preparation, for their wants should be supplied, and that even if they had not a staff they were not to take the trouble to procure one. St. Mark's account only so far differs that he assumes that they will st least have a staff already. Observe, however, that no stress can be placed on the difference of the verbs here and in Mark, for in this respect Mark and Luke agree.

Matthew 10:10

For the workman; labourer (Revised Version); thus connecting the utterance closely with Matthew 9:37, Matthew 9:38. Is worthy of his meat. The disciples may therefore expect that it will be provided for them by those to whom they minister (Luke 10:7, of the seventy), and indirectly by the Master whom they serve (Matthew 9:38). Meat; food (Revised Version). In all but most highly organized systems of society, this is an important (frequently the most important) part of the day labourer's wages. Hence not unnaturally "wages" is found in the form of the sayings given by St. Luke (Luke 10:7) and St. Paul (1 Timothy 5:18). Probably our Lord's words became a current proverb in Christian circles, the original word "food" being modified to suit the more general circumstances of life. Clem. Romans, § 31, recalls the Matthaean form, "The good workman receiveth the bread of his work with boldness.'' Epiphanius gives a kind of confla-tion, containing the further thought that if the workman receives his food he must be content: "The workman is worthy of his hire, and sufficient to him that works is his food." Resch connects this form of the saying with the practice of giving only food to the travelling "apostles" and prophets of the sub-apostolic age ('Did.,' § 11.). Professor Marshall (Expositor, IV. 2.76) suggests that if our Lord's original word was הדָיץֵ, it would explain the origin of both Matthew and Luke; but it seems very doubtful it' it really ever means "wages.'' Two patristic remarks are worth quoting: the first from Origen ('Cram. Cat.'), "In saying τροφήν, ('food') he forbade τρυφήν ('luxury');" the second from St. Gregory the Great (in Ford), "Priests ought to consider how criminal and punishable a thing it is to receive the fruit of labour, without labour."

Matthew 10:11

Parallel passages: Mark 6:10; Luke 9:4 (the twelve); Luke 10:5-8 (the seventy). Matthew alone mentions the command to inquire who is worthy. And into whatsoever city or town; village (Revised Version); cf. Matthew 9:35, note. Ye shall enter, inquire; search out (Revised Version). Much more is implied than merely asking some chance passer-by (cf. Matthew 2:8). Who in it is worthy; i.e. equivalent by moral rate ( ἄξιος)—in this case to the privilege of your lodging with him; elsewhere to the offer of peace (Matthew 9:13), to the favour of an invitation (Matthew 22:8), to walking with Christ clothed in white (Revelation 3:1-22 :47, to punishment (Revelation 16:6). And there abide till ye go thence; go forth (Revised Version); i.e. finally (Revelation 3:14). The object of this command, which was reckoned so important as to be recorded in all three parallel passages (vide supra), is to prevent; partly favouritism and rivalry, partly waste of time. For "when a stranger arrives in a village or an encampment, the neighbours, one after another, must invite him to eat with them. There is a strict etiquette about it, involving much ostentation and hypocrisy; and a failure in the due observance of this system of hospitality is violently resented, and often leads to alienations and feuds among neighbours. It also consumes much time, causes unusual distraction of mind, leads to levity, and every way counteracts the success of a spiritual mission"; cf. St. Luke's "Go not from house to house" (Luke 10:7). It is, on the other hand, quite unnecessary to see here, with Meyer and Weiss, a prohibition to go to the synagogues or indeed to anywhere else where they could gain a hearing during their stay. Our Lord is referring only to lodging and food (Luke 10:7).

Matthew 10:12, Matthew 10:13

Parallel passage: Luke 10:5, Luke 10:6 (the seventy). Your very entrance is to be an occasion of imparting spiritual blessing if the house be receptive of it.

Matthew 10:12

And when ye come; and as ye enter (Revised Version), synchronous with the moment of your entrance (cf. Luke 17:12). Into an house; the house (Revised Version); i.e. of him who is worthy. Salute it. With the usual greeting of "Peace" ( 18:15; 1 Samuel 25:5, 1 Samuel 25:6). Observe that Christ practised what he preached (John 20:19 [Luke 24:3]).

Matthew 10:13

And if the house. Not the householder alone (Matthew 10:11), but he and his family as a whole. Be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. It is tempting to see in these words a promise that your activity shall at least issue in increased blessing on yourselves, but it can hardly be pressed so far. It rather means that failure to impart blessing shall not bring spiritual loss to yourselves. "The dove returned to the ark again when it found the earth under water" (cf. Gurnall, in Ford).

Matthew 10:14, Matthew 10:15

If rejected, bear your solemn witness to the fact, for to reject you brings awful consequences.

Matthew 10:14

Parallel passages: Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5 (the twelve); Luke 10:10, Luke 10:11 (the seventy). And whosoever shall not receive you—on your formal request as heralds of the kingdom—nor hear your words (Matthew 7:24, note), when (as, Revised Version, Luke 10:12, note) ye depart (go forth, Revised Version) out of. At the moment of going out (cf. Luke 10:12), ἐξερχόμενοι ἔξω (Matthew 21:17; Acts 16:13), in this case finally. That house or (that, Revised Version) city. "The house," rightly further defined by "that" in English, comes in Matthew only; "that city" comes also in the parallel passage, Luke 9:5, and therefore belongs to the source used by St. Matthew. Shake off the dust of your feet. Treating it as a heathen place, whose pollution must be shaken off. For the very dust from a heathen land was to be reckoned as polluting, since, as Rashi says on Talm. Bab., 'Sabb.,' 15b (cf. Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.,' in loc.), "It may be doubted, of all the dust of a heathen land, whether it were not from the sepulchre of the dead." (For the apostolic fulfilment of our Lord's injunction cf. Acts 13:51 and Acts 18:6; see also Nehemiah 5:13.)

Matthew 10:15

Parallel passage: Luke 10:12 (the seventy). Similar words are used by our Lord in his apostrophe of Capernaum (Matthew 11:24, where see note). The combination in Luke 10:11, Luke 10:12-15 of both the contexts is an instructive warning against accepting the present position of our Lord's sayings as the final indication of the occasion upon which they were delivered. Verily. (For the idea of acquiescence that always underlies this word—even in the case of so solemn a matter as the present—comp. Matthew 5:18, note.) I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha. Whose inhabitants were the typical example of the worst of sinners (Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 1:10; Ezekiel 16:46; Revelation 11:8). "The men of Sodom have no part in the world to come" (Mishna, 'Sanh.,' 10.3). In the day of judgment. Luke has "in that day;" cf, Matthew 7:22. In the only two passages in the LXX. (Proverbs 6:34; Isaiah 34:8) where, as it seems, our phrase occurs, it refers, not to the judgment of all, good and bad alike, but to that of the wicked alone. So also in 2 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:7; and possibly also in Matthew 12:36, but not in 1 John 4:17 (the only passage where it is not anarthrous). Than for that city. Observe that this verse implies that the wicked dead are still in existence, and are waiting for their final judgment; also that in the judgment of the wicked there will be degrees of punishment.

Matthew 10:16-39

The internal conditions of conveying Christ's message. The subdivisions of this section are after Matthew 10:23 and Matthew 10:33 (cf. Matthew 10:5, note).

Matthew 10:16-23

You will be in the midst; of foes, and simplicity must be accompanied by prudence (Matthew 10:16, a summary of all); you will be ill-treated publicly (Matthew 10:17, Matthew 10:18), but must conduct yourselves with calm faith that you will be guided in your defence (Matthew 10:19, Matthew 10:20), with endurance of family and universal enmity. (Matthew 10:21, Matthew 10:22), with common sense in avoiding unnecessary danger, for wherever you go you will find work to be done (Matthew 10:23).

Matthew 10:16

Parallel passage: Luke 10:3 (the seventy); 16b, Matthew only. Behold. He calls their attention. I send you forth. I ( ἐγω), with the full consciousness of all that will befall you; I, whose message you will carry, whose character you will represent. In this I lies the germ of verses 40-42. As sheep in the midst of wolves. The 'Midrash' on Esther 8:2 uses the same phrase of the position of Israel amidst a hostile world (cf. Edersheim, 'Life,' 1.645), adding, "How great is that Shepherd who delivers them and vanquishes the wolves?" 'Clem. Romans,' it. § 5, has an interesting addition, "The Lord saith, Ye shall be as lambs in the midst of wolves. But Peter answered and said unto him, What then, if the wolves should tear the lambs? Jesus saith unto Peter, Let not the lambs fear the wolves after they [the lambs] are dead." Be ye therefore. Prove yourselves to he ( γίνεσθε). Wise. Prudent ( φρόνιμοι). As serpents. )*,with Ignat., 'Polyc.,' § 2, has the singular, perhaps taking it generically, or perhaps not without reference to the phrase in Genesis 3:1, "The serpent was more subtle," etc. ( ὁδὲ ὄφις ἦν φρονιμώτατος κ.τ.λ.). The prudence of the serpent is specially apparent in the quickness of its perception of danger and the rapidity with which it escapes from it. Kubel gives Matthew 22:23, sqq., 34, sqq.; John 2:24; John 11:9, John 11:10, as examples of this proper prudence in the ease of our Lord. And harmless as doves. Harmless; rather, simple, with Revised Version margin, for ἀκέραιος is literally "unmixed, unadulterated'' (cf Bishop Lightfoot, on Philippians 2:15), and emphasizes the idea of simplicity of character. It is thus not active, but passive. Comp. 'Shir. R.' (Song of Solomon 2:14), "With me they [Israel] are simple [ מימימת; of the (Etz Ya‛akob, which refers to Hosea 7:11 as doves, but among the nations of the world they are subtle as serpents" (cf. Matthew 3:16, note).

Matthew 10:17

Matthew 10:17-22 are remarkable as being practically identical with Mark 13:9-13, to which the parallels are Luke 21:12-19 and Matthew 24:9-14. It is hard to resist the conclusion that St. Matthew

Matthew 10:18

And; yea and (Revised Version); καὶδέ. Ye shall be brought. Transposed in the Revised Version with the following words, because the stress of Christ's saying lies, not on his followers being brought to trial, but on the high position of their judges. This marks both the extreme importance that their enemies will attach to them, and the lengths to which these will go. Before governors; i.e., probably, representatives of others in supreme power. Such were Felix and Festus, the praetors at Philippi (hardly the politarchs at Thessalonica, for this was a free city), and Gallio at Corinth. But perhaps ἡγεμών is here used in the narrower sense of procurator, in which case of the above names only the first two ought to be mentioned, for Gallio was a proconsul ( ἀνθύπατος). And kings. The supreme authorities themselves. So especially Nero (2 Timothy 4:16), and even Herod Agrippa II. (Acts 25:13, sqq.), for he was autocratic in his kingdom, save that he owed allegiance to the power that gave it to him. For my sake (Matthew 5:11, note). St. Peter ("for the Lord's sake … king … governors," 1 Peter 2:13, 1 Peter 2:14) possibly refers to this utterance, but by using the singular, "king," recalls more definitely the one political organization with which his readers would be brought into contact in Asia Minor, the Roman emperor and his representatives. For a testimony against (to, Revised Version) them and (to, Revised Version) the Gentiles. Them. Not the Jews (Bengel, Meyer, and perhaps also the Revised Version), but the governors and kings. For (a) the parallel passage, Mark 13:9, omits "the Gentiles;" (b) the parallel passage, ch. 24:14 (vide supra), runs, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world [possibly, too, the word employed, οἰκουμένη, has special reference to the Roman empire] for a testimony unto all the Gentiles." Both passages show that the Lord is not here thinking of the Jews, but only of the Gentiles and rulers from among them. Against; to. A witness to these Gentile rulers of what the gospel really does for men, and of their consequent responsibility; cf. Matthew 8:4, note; also the parallel passage, Luke 21:13. Eusebius, referring to out' Lord's words, gives a striking illustration in his 'Mart. Pal.,' 6.

Matthew 10:19, Matthew 10:20

For these two verses, compare Luke 12:11, Luke 12:12, with which there is doubtless a common basis. As the two verses do not seem to have in Luke 12:1-59. a very close connexion with their context, it is probable that there also, as here, they are taken from a speech of later date. But when they deliver you up, take no thought; be not anxious (Revised Version); Matthew 6:25, note. So also Luke 12:2; but Luke 21:14 goes further, and forbids the disciples to "meditate beforehand how to answer." Bengel says here, Usa, non curandi, cura sit. How or what. The general direction or the actual matter. Ye shall speaki.e. in defence, as defined in Luke 12:11; Luke 21:14for it shall be given you in that same (omit "same," with the Revised Version) hour what ye shall speak. And if in similar extraordinary circumstances, the Christian may expect similar extraordinary help. The omission of this clause by some Western authorities is probably due to the fact that the next verse also begins with "for," and contains a promise that much resembles this. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you (cf. Genesis 41:38). Observe:

Matthew 10:21

The persecutors shall be found among those most closely connected with you by blood and natural affection. Observe that our Lord does not mention this until he has reminded them that they are connected by still deeper family ties with One above. The thought and partly the language of Matthew 10:21, Matthew 10:22 comes in 4 Esdr. 6:24, 25, "Et erit in illo tempore debellabunt amici amicos ut inimici … et erit, omnis qui dcrelictus fuerit ex omnibus istis quibus praedixi tibi, ipse salvabitur et videbit salutare meum et finem saeculi mei. [5. 1. vestri]." The author is speaking of the signs of the cud of the world. It seems probable that he was acquainted with some form of the original discourse of our Lord in Mark 13:12, Mark 13:13. (For other references somewhat similar of. Schurer, II. 2:155.) And ( δέ). In contrast to the preceding encouragement (Kubel). The brother. The omission of the article by the Revised Version throughout this verse is justified, not only by grammar, but also by the consideration that it thus becomes less possible to interpret the phrase of a false "brother" in the Church. And the father the child. Philip It. of Spain is reported to have said of the Protestants, "If it were my own son, I would bring the faggot." And the children shall rise up against their parents. The verb ( ἐπαναστήσονται) is perhaps a reminiscence of Micah 7:6, other words of which arc quoted below (verse 35). The plural suggests the plurality of cases. And cause them to be put to death; put them to death; but perhaps through the agency of others. Observe that more direct cruelty is predicated of the children than of the brothers and fathers. Past kindness received will go for nothing.

Matthew 10:22

And ye shall be hated. For no little time ( ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι). "Suffering sometimes becomes as a reward for doing. You read of the heifers which brought home the ark out of the Philistines' country, that, when they brought the ark home, the Israelites took the heifers and offered them up to God, as a sacrifice (1 Samuel 6:14). 'Why so?'saith one. 'It is an ill requital to the heifers.' No; the heifers could not have so high an honour put upon them (Philippians 1:29; Acts 9:16; Acts 21:13)" (Wm. Bridge, in Ford). Of all men (Matthew 10:17, note). As with the old Israel, so also with the new (cf. Kubel). For my name's sake (Matthew 6:9, note). But he that endureth to the end (Revised Version adds, the same) shall be saved (so Matthew 24:13). The emphatic insertion of οὗτος points out both the absolute necessity of endurance and the certainty of blessing to him who shows it (of. 2 Timothy 2:11). To the end ( εἰς τέλος); i.e. not to the end of the time during which persecution shall last ( εἰς τὸ τέλος), but to completeness in the endurance required (of. John 13:1 [Bishop Westcott's note]; 1 Thessalonians 2:16). Shall be saved. In the fullest sense (cf. the parallel passage, Luke 21:19).

Matthew 10:23

Matthew only; but even this verse is not free from what appear to be reminiscences of the words recorded in Matthew 24:14, Matthew 24:16). But when they persecute you in this city. Act wisely (Matthew 24:16); flee to another city; you will find work there. Flee ye (cf. Matthew 23:34, and supra, Matthew 23:17, note) into another; into the next (Revised Version); εἰς τηραν. There are occasions when the duty is rather to spread the message than to seal it with death or to have one's lips closed by imprisonment. But only "he that is spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:15) will be able to understand which course of action the special circumstances require. Our Lord's example (Matthew 12:15) was followed by Christians in the earliest (Acts 8:1; Acts 9:25, Acts 9:30; Acts 14:6; Acts 17:10, Acts 17:14) and in later times. Codex Bezae and some Western authorities, including Tatian's 'Diatess.,' add, "And if out of this they persecute you, flee into another;" but this is a not unnatural gloss upon the true text. For verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over; through (Revised Version); οὐ μὴ τετέσητε: literally, hare completed, like the harvest (Ruth 2:23). The cities of Israel (cf. Matthew 24:6) till the Son of man (Matthew 8:20, note) be come. The mere fact that there was no persecution of the kind just spoken of until after our Lord's death in itself refutes the opinion that these words refer to his rejoining his disciples on their mission (Matthew 11:1; cf. Luke 10:1). They may, perhaps, refer to his coming in the fall of Jerusalem, but rather look forward to h is complete return in his second advent, as apparently Agathangelus, in Resch, loc. cit., understands them. The cities of Israel are named because work among the Jews lay at the basis of the commission. If an exact fulfilment of the words is demanded, it is perhaps to be seen in tile fact that there will be some Jews unconverted until the Lord's return.

Matthew 10:24-33

Fellowship with me in suffering is essential to fellowship with me in glory.

(a) You must not expect better treatment than your Master (Matthew 10:21, Matthew 10:25).

(b) But opponents are not to be feared (Matthew 10:26-28), because

( α) they are powerless to really injure (Matthew 10:26-28);

( β) there is a greater Object of fear (Matthew 10:28).

( γ) Who cares minutely for all his creatures, and much more for you (Matthew 10:29-31).

Matthew 10:24, Matthew 10:25

Matthew only; but comp. John 13:16 and John 15:18-21; the latter passage is a commentary. In Luke 6:40 there is close verbal similarity, but the thought is completely different. For there our Lord means that a disciple shall not escape the moral loss that his teacher incurs; on the contrary, when fully instructed, he shall be as his teacher is, in the same evil state. But here he is giving encouragement—whatever treatment a disciple receives he is, if his Teacher received it also, not to count it a strange thing (1 Peter 4:12).

Matthew 10:24

The (a, Revised Version) disciple. The absence of the article lays more stress on the man's position as disciple. Is not above. The emphasis of the sentence is upon the denial of such a possibility ( οὐκ ἔστιν ὁμαθητής). His master; teacher; διδάσκαλον. Nor the (a, Revised Version) servant above his lord.

Matthew 10:25

It is enough ( ἀρκετόν); Matthew 6:34, note. It will quite content him; it is sufficient for his aims and wishes (Hebrews 13:5 : John 14:8). So Talm. Bab., 'Berach.,' 58b, R. Ula comforts Rub Hisda for the desolation of a friend's house which he formerly knew in its prosperity, by reminding him that the temple too is in ruins, and "It is sufficient for the servant that he be as his master ( וברך אהיש דבעל ויד)." For the disciple. Here (unlike Matthew 6:24) pictured before the mind. That he be. Eventually ( ἵνα γένηται). (For the weakened relic force of ἵνα here, cf. Ellicott on 1 Corinthians 4:3.) As his master, and the servant as his lord. That the pronoun was added to "lord" in Matthew 6:24 was perhaps due to the unconscious desire on the part of the reporter to, avoid any possible ambiguity arising from the familiar phrase ὁκύριος: in these two clauses the insertion of the pronoun is rather due to the fact that "disciple" and "servant" are both defined by the article. If they have called. A typical example of the treatment his disciples will sometimes receive—complete rejection of their message, with deliberate accusation of the worst of crimes. Observe that it is implied that the opprobrious term had already been used of our Lord, although St. Matthew has not yet related it (Matthew 12:24). (On Matthew 9:34, cf. note there.) Called. By no mere chance expression, but by purposely giving him the title ( ἐπεκάλεσαν); cf. Hebrews 11:16. The master of the house. Hebrews 3:2-6 may be compared, even though not Christ but God is there probably spoken of as the owner of the house. Beelzebub; "Gr. Beel-zebul; and so elsewhere". The original meaning of the title was probably "Lord of flies" (zebub, 2 Kings 1:3), or possibly "of bees"; but there cannot but be here a play upon the sense, "Lord of the dwelling" (zebul, e.g. Isaiah 63:15), and probably a further reference to the similar sound zebel, Neo-Hebr. for "dung" (cf 2 Kings 17:12, and Wetstein's curious note in Delitzsch, on Job 30:12).

Matthew 10:26-33

Parallel passage: Luke 12:2-9, where it follows the warning against the leaven of the Pharisees. A similar saying to Luke 12:26 (parallel passage: Luke 12:2) is also found in Mark 4:22 (parallel passage: Luke 8:17). Though the two sayings are probably distinct, yet it is very possible that one may have been modified from the other in being reported. Fear them not therefore. These words are in Matthew only. Therefore. Since the Master bore such treatment. For. Hardly—Fear them not, for your secret disloyalty wilt one day be known; but—Fear them not so as to conceal your faith and principles, for these are of supreme importance; inner character is everything. This connexion seems to be more close than to read into the words a reference to the ultimate success of the gospel or to the unreality of those things that now terrify you. There is nothing. Even your own relation to me (cf. verse 32). Covered, that shall not be revealed; uncovered. The cloak over it shall be drawn back. And hid, that shall not be known. It shall not only be stripped of its disguise, but also itself be brought out to light and its true character perceived.

Matthew 10:27

The parallel passage, Luke 12:3, is verbally similar, but of reverse meaning. In Matthew it is a charge to the disciples to proclaim publicly what Christ tells them privately; in Luke it is a statement that what they say privately shall be proclaimed publicly. St. Luke gives only another side of the preceding verse; St. Matthew, a fresh point. The connexion with verse 26 is—Do not cover up your relation to me, but say out bravely the message that I give you. What I tell you. There is no limitation to the time. Those who believe in the present life of Christ and in the reality of present communications from him cannot fail to see here both the true source of their messages as preachers and the necessity of faithfulness to those messages. Observe that the stress is not upon the personality of the Speaker, but upon the communication ( λέγω, not ἐγὼ λέγω). In (the, Revised Version) darkness … in (the, Revised Version) light. Both are pictured to the mind. And what ye hear in the ear ( εἰς τὸ οὖς). Possibly a reference to the habit of Jewish rabbis sometimes whispering their teaching in the ear of an "interpreter," who repeated it aloud for all to hear (cf. Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.'), but more probably only the common figure of speech for secret instruction; cf. Talm. Bab., 'Berach.,' 22a, "Nahum of Gamzo, whispered it to. R. Akiba, and R. Akiba whispered it to Ben Azai, and Ben Azai went out and taught it to his disciples in the street." Compare also the Old Testament phrase, "uncover the ear" (1 Samuel 9:15, used of God; 1 Samuel 20:2,1 Samuel 20:12, 1 Samuel 20:13, used of man). That preach ye; proclaim (Revised Version); κηρύξατε. Upon the house-tops. Lightfoot ('Hor. Hebr.') thinks that this is an allusion to the minister of a synagogue blowing a trumpet on the roof of a high house to announce the sabbath; but that was a mere signal of a fact ( σαλπίζω), not the articulate expression of a communication ( κηρύσσω). The phrase much more probably alludes to the fact that the roofs in Eastern cities are the common place for conversation, and to the rapidity with which an announcement there made spreads throughout the town.

Matthew 10:28

And. Restating Matthew 10:26 from a different point of view. Fear not; be not afraid of (Revised Version); μὴ φοβηθῆτε ἀπό. So Westcott and Herr, with B (sic) and two or three other authorities. The Revised Version (cf. Authorized Version parallel passage, Luke 12:4) expresses the greater difference from Matthew 10:26 and Matthew 10:28 ( φοβηθῆτε ἀπό with genitive, a Hebraism expressing avoidance, shrinking, cowardly dreas; φοβηθῆτε with accusative, concentration of regard) at the expense of the lesser ( φοβηθῆτε, general command, or perhaps "never once fear;" φοβεῖσθε, "ever fear," habit). Them which kill the body. So R. Akiba refused to give up studying and teaching the Law when it was forbidden on pain of death (Talm. Bab., 'Berach.,' 61b). But are not able to kill the soul (Matthew 6:25, note). But rather fear. Always ( φοβεῖσθε). Fear; yes, but the right object ( φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον, not μᾶλλον δὲ φοβεῖσθε), and that intensely (vide supra). Him which is able ( τομενον). Mere power; but in the parallel passage in Luke, authority. The reference is, of course, to God (cf. James 4:12). To destroy ( ἀπολέσαι). The class of words to which this belongs denotes "utter and hopeless ruin; but they convey no idea whether the ruined object ceases to exist or continues a worthless existence" (Professor Agar Beet, in Expositor, IV. 1.28). Professor Marshall, in Expositor, IV. 3:283, thinks Luke's variant, "to cast," indicates that our Lord originally used an Aramaic word that properly meant "to set on fire." Both soul and body in hell (Matthew 5:22, note).

Matthew 10:29

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? The form of the saying in Luke 12:6 is practically equivalent ("Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings?"); for sparrows are so common and cheap that if a man buys two farthings' worth he gets one thrown in. "At the present day the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa are attended by many 'f owlets,' who offer for sale long strings of little birds of various species, chiefly sparrows, wagtails, and larks. These are also frequently sold ready plucked, trussed in rows of about a dozen on slender wooden skewers, and are cooked and eaten like kabobs". A farthing ( ἀσσαρίου). This might either be one of the coins of the Herods (Luke 12:9, note), or, as it seems, a "second brass" Antiochene as. And one of them shall not fall—and not one of them shall fall (Revised Version, more idiomatically)—on the ground. Dead. In the parallel passage in Luke, more generally, "Not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God," even in life. Origen and Chrysostom read, "fall into the snare" (cf. Ames Luke 3:5). Without ( ἄνευ). χωρίς would deny merely physical connexion (cf. John 15:5), and the sentence would then imply that God causes their death; ἄνευ is only negative, and the sentence implies that their death is not outside of his knowledge and care. In Amos 3:5 the thought is that for every event there is a cause; here that every event is taken notice of by God. Sennacherib's boast (Isaiah 36:10) contained a truth other than he intended. Your Father. For this and nothing less is God's relation to you. There is a Talmudic tale told in various forms, of which the earliest seems to be that R. Simon ben Jochai, after hiding thirteen years in a cave, saw from the entrance of it a fowler snaring birds, but that these could not be taken if the Divine voice (Bath Qol) said, "Released" (dimus, dimissus). "A bird," said the rabbi, "perishes not without God, much less a man," and he returned to the city (Talm. Jeremiah, 'Shebiith,' 9.1).

Matthew 10:30

But the very hairs of your head. "Your" emphatic, in contrast to the care bestowed on sparrows. (For the thought, compare not only the parallel passage, Luke 12:7, but also Luke 21:18; Acts 27:34.) Are all numbered. Perhaps long since ( ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν). When Job complained the Lord answered him, "Many hairs have! made on man, and for every single hair its own pit, that not two hairs should draw their sustenance from one pit … shall I make no mistake about this, and vet make a mistake in thy name and spell it not Ijob (Job, בוי)), but Ojeb (enemy, ביו))?" (Talm. Bab., 'Baba Bathra,' 16a).

Matthew 10:31

The minuteness of this care forbids you to fear; it is clear from it that you are worth more than even many sparrows. Fear ye (the Revised Version omits ye) not. The absence of ὑμεῖς lays all the more stress on the verb. Therefore. As the hairs of your head are all numbered; the following words are thus epexegetic. Ye. Emphatic here; ye who are God's sons. The thought is stronger than even that of the "faithful Creator," in 1 Peter 4:19. Are of more value than many sparrows. So, too, any man than a sheep (Matthew 12:12).

Matthew 10:32, Matthew 10:33

(2) The result of confessing and of denying Christ. (Cf. Matthew 10:24, note.)

Matthew 10:32

Whosoever; every one who (Revised Version); Matthew 7:24, note. Therefore. Summing up the thought of Matthew 7:24 -31, that he who suffers with Christ is only receiving such treatment as he ought to expect, and is never forgotten. Shall confess me ( ὁμολογήσει ἐν ἐμοί). ὁμολογεῖν ἐν occurs only in this verse (twice) and in the parallel passage, Luke 12:8 (cf. Bishop Westcott, on 1 John 2:23). Though the exact phrase is doubtless due to Hebrew influence, yet its choice here is determined by an instinctive feeling that it expresses the union of him who confesses with him who is confessed, while the plain accusative makes no such implication, but only sums up the confession. Bishop Westcott quotes Heracleon's comment on Luke 12:8. "With good reason Christ says of those who confess him in me ( ὁμολογήσει ἐν ἐμοί), but of those who deny him me ( ἀρνήσηταί με) only. For these even it' they confess him with their voice deny him, since they confess him not in their action. But they alone make confession in him who live in the confession and action that accords with him; in whom also he makes confession, having himself embraced them, and being held first by them". Before men ( τῶν ἀνθρώπων); Luke 12:17, note, and Matthew 6:1, note. Him. Not in any position of emphasis in the Greek. Will I confess also (cf. Revelation 3:5) before my Father. Not merely "the Father," but him who is in the closest relationship to me; the thought is of salvation as well as of creation. Which is in heaven. In nature, love; in position, majesty and omnipotence.

Matthew 10:33

Besides the parallel passage, Luke 12:9, cf. the similar thought in Mark 8:38 (parallel passages: Luke 9:26; Matthew 16:27). But whosoever shall deny me before men. Kubel compares St. Peter's words, "I know not the man" (Matthew 26:74). Him will I also deny. The emphasis is on "deny" (cf. 2 Timothy 2:12; Ign., 'Smyrn.,' § 5). Before my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 10:34-39

Fellowship with me will involve separation from the dearest upon earth, yet the reward is great. (Cf. Matthew 10:5, note.) The progress of thought in these verses seems to be as follows: Do not be surprised at the contradiction that appears between my teaching and the immediate result; I allowed for this when I began my work (Matthew 10:34). There will, indeed, be separation in the closest earthly ties (Matthew 10:35, Matthew 10:36). But my claims are paramount (Matthew 10:37, Matthew 10:38). And on your relation to them depends everything hereafter (Matthew 10:39).

Matthew 10:34

Parallel passage: Luke 12:51. Think not. Christ here removes another mistaken opinion (Matthew 5:17, note). There the mistake was about his relation to the Law; here about the immediate result of his coming. The Prince of Peace did not come to cast in peace as something from outside. It would show itself eventually, but from within outwards. That which he cast from without was fire (Luke 12:49), a sword (infra). Chrysostom ('Hem.,' 35.) points out, among other illustrations, that the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel was better than the peace which preceded it, and itself produced a better peace. That I am come; that I came (Revised Version); cf. further, Matthew 5:17, note. To send peace ( βαλεῖν εἰρήνην). The verb was probably chosen because in the other form of the utterance Christ had already said πῦρ βαλεῖν, where the figure is of throwing a firebrand (Luke 12:49). By a natural transition, that phrase led to the thought of "throwing" peace or a sword. St. Luke, on the contrary, softened the metaphor to δοῦναι. On (the, Revised Version) earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:35

Parallel passage: Luke 12:53 (cf. supra, Luke 12:21, Luke 12:22). For I am come; I came (Revised Version). Notice the threefold ἦλθον. Christ would leave in his hearers' minds no room for thinking that he was ignorant of what the immediate result of his coming would be. To. A mere infinitive, not even with τοῦ, much less ἵνα with subject. The result is not in any sense the final cause of his coming. Set a man at variance against ( διχάσαι κατὰ). By the preposition is implied enmity, by the verb complete severance. For relation to God is the great line of cleavage, and that not only in God's sight, but in outcome of character. His father. From this word till the end of Luke 12:36 our Lord adopts Micah's (Micah 7:6) description of a general time of distrust for his own picture of the discord introduced by his coming. The wording is hardly taken from the LXX.

Matthew 10:36

No parallel passage in the Gospels. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household ( καὶ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οἱοἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ). ἐχθροί is predicate. His very household (not to be limited to servants) turns against him.

Matthew 10:37, Matthew 10:38

Parallel passage: Luke 14:26, Luke 14:27, where the saying is spoken to the multitudes—presumably its original occasion. Verse 37: A man must place me before his nearest tics. Verse 38: Yea, must receive his cross (however it is brought to him), and with it follow after me. Observe the shadow of the cross upon our Lord's mind.

Matthew 10:37

He that loveth. Natural and spontaneous love ( ὁφιλῶν), father … mother … son … daughter. No mention of wife, brothers, sisters, as in the parallel passage in Luke, perhaps because not mentioned in our verses 35, 36. Is not worthy of me. And of all that I can be to him. Observe Christ's consciousness of his own worth. And he that loveth son, etc. A separate clause, because of the difference between the love of child to parent and that of parent to child. The latter is the stronger. The clause is omitted in B*, D, and two or three lesser authorities, but probably through homoioteleuton.

Matthew 10:38

Besides the parallel passage, Luke 14:27 (vide supra), of. also (for verses 38, 39) Matthew 16:24, Matthew 16:25. and he that taketh not; doth not take (Revised Version), which calls attention to the change to the more definite mode of expression ( ὃς λαμβάνει). Taketh. Receives in submission when given him; contrast ἀράτω, "take up from the ground" (Matthew 16:24), and βαστάζει, "bear" (Luke 14:27). His cross. A reference to the custom (vide Meyer) of criminals carrying their cross before they were crucified upon it. If, therefore, the figure may be pressed, the reference here is to the bearing of trials, even though they are such as point forward to greater trials in the future. Observe the torture and the ignominy of the trials that Christ expects his followers to be prepared for. And followeth after me. For Christ's journey ended in nothing less. Is not worthy of me. "And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy of himself" (Wis. 3:5). Compare the reply of St. Thomas Aquinas to our Lord in vision after he had completed his "Summa:" "Thoma, bene scripsisti de me; Quam recipies a Me pro rue labore mercedem? Domine, non nisi Te" (Archbishop Vaughan's 'Life of St. Thomas,' frontispiece).

Matthew 10:39

Besides Matthew 16:25 and parallel passages (vide supra), cf. also Luke 17:33 and even John 12:25. Observe that in our chapter John 12:37, John 12:38 arc equivalent to Luke 14:26, Luke 14:27; verses 38, 39 to Luke 9:23, Luke 9:24; Luke 9:39 to Luke 17:33. A comparison of the various passages leads to the inference that the original occasion of Luke 17:37, 38 was that of Luke 14:26, Luke 14:27, and the original occasion of verse 39 was that of Matthew 16:25. Thus our passage is a compendium, and Matthew 16:25 is either a modification by our Lord of an earlier thought, or, more probably, another "setting" of the utterance in place of something that corresponded to it. Luke 17:33, on the other hand, may be a modification by our Lord, or an insertion made in the process of the composition of the Gospel. He that findeth; found; ὁεὑρών: but unnecessarily, the statement is timeless, and the inherent thought of completion is contained also in our present tense. Findeth; after expenditure of trouble, and so Matthew 16:25 with parallel passages, "wish to save," and Luke 17:33, "seek to gain." Observe also the idea of acquiring for personal use common both to εὑρίσκειν and περιποιεῖσθαι (Luke). The phrase, "find the soul," occurs only here (twice) and Matthew 16:25; of. Hebrews 10:39. His life (Matthew 6:25, note). As the full develop-merit of personality in true independence and energy is the aim and the promise for hereafter, so its shrinking and weakening by sin ends in loss of moral independence and mental worth. Shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He shall acquire that personality of Iris with all its inherent germs of power fully developed. In Talm. Bab., 'Tamid,' 32a, Alexander the Great asks "the elders of the south" ten questions, among them," What shall a man do that he may live?" They answer, "Let him put himself to death." "What shall a man do that he may die?" "Let him make himself alive." But though there is so much verbal similarity, it may be doubted whether Rashi is not right in explaining the passage as a merely worldly wise warning against provoking the envy of others by pride and ostentation.

Matthew 10:40-42

Final encouragement. The evangelist takes the main idea of these verses from our Lord's words to the seventy (Luke 10:16), but moulds it in the form of his later saying, Matthew 18:5. He further adds (verse 42) other words also spoken later. In these verses the discourse returns to the immediate occasion, the mission of the disciples. Christ shows his personal interest in their work; his messengers' cause is his. He says, "I reckon treatment of you as treatment of me; ay, and he that sent me reckons it as treatment of himself" (verse 40). This principle as to the treatment of representatives holds good throughout. Not every one can be a prophet, but those who help him shall share his reward. Not every one shall acquire the technical name of "righteous," but those who help such a man shall share his reward (verse 41); even the smallest kindnesses shall not be unrewarded (verse 42).

Matthew 10:40

He that receiveth you receiveth me. "A man's messenger is as himself" (Mishna, 'Berach.,' Matthew 5:5). Yet, as Bengel says, "Non mode tantundem est, ac si me reciperet.'sed severn me recipit." Ford quotes from Tertullian ('De Orat.,' § 26), "A brother that hath entered into thine house, dismiss not without prayer. 'Thou hast seen,'saith he, 'thy brother; thou hast seen thy Lord.'" The same legion is found twice in Clem. Alex.. (For an extension of the thought to bishops, cf. Ign., ' Ephesians,' § 6.)

Matthew 10:41

Matthew only. The whole verso recalls Jewish Christianity; it was hardly likely to have been remembered outside Jewish Christian circles. He that receiveth a prophet. One upon whom the mantle of the old prophets might in any sense he said to have fallen. The saying was probably recorded with special thought of the Christian peripatetic "prophets," who are brought before us so vividly in the 'Didache.' In the name of a prophet ( εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου). In late Hebrew and in Aramaic the word for "name" passed into little more than a preposition, just as the word for "face "had already passed. Here, however, this is hardly the case, the word appearing to retain its idea of both name and corresponding position. The preposition may mean either receive him into the position of a prophet, i.e. into the treatment with which a prophet should be received; or, simply, receive him at the rank and standing of a prophet (Acts 7:53). Anyhow, it is in contrast to receiving him out of mere human compassion or ordinary friendliness. The reception is to have regard to that which the name implies, for the sake of the cause that the prophet represents. Shall receive a prophet's reward; i.e. shall share in the reward of that work in which by his kindness to the prophet he so tar takes part. Thus the widow of Sarepta shared in the blessing given to Elijah (1 Kings 17:10; cf. also 2 Kings 4:8, sqq.). (On reward, see Matthew 5:12, note.) Observe that not the action, but the motive for the action, is made all-important. It is a matter of faith, not of works (cf Nosgen). And he that receiveth a righteous man. A righteous man; i.e. one who is punctilious in performing all the details of the revealed will of God (Matthew 1:19, note; Acts 22:14; James 5:6). This word also is used in a quasi-Jewish sense, and points back to the time when Jewish Christians performed, not only the law as expounded in the sermon on the mount, but also those external rites and observances which had been commanded them as Jews (Acts 21:20). Among such Jewish Christians some would he especially noticeable for their regard to these things (e.g. James the "Just," or "Righteous"), and it is to one of these that the epithet here refers.

Matthew 10:42

Parallel passage: Mark 9:41, where it will be observed that the following verse is parallel to Matthew 18:6 and Luke 17:2 (cf. supra, verse 40). One of these little ones … a disciple. It is evident, from a comparison of verse 41, that the two titles refer to one and the same person. Christ, using his own term, calls his followers "little ones;" using the term of others, he calls them "disciples." Little ones. Partly a word of personal endearment (cf. Matthew 25:40); partly a comparison with those mentioned in verse 41. He is now speaking of one who is not distinguished from other believers by the reception of extraordinary Divine gifts, or by special zeal and holiness, but is only an ordinary disciple. In Matthew 18:6 the term is used directly of children, but in Luke 17:2, and probably in Mark 9:41, Mark 9:42, it is used metaphorically. A cup of cold water only. Observe that "if the ' cup of cold water' is not to lose its reward, it must be proffered when he who gives it has nothing better to give". In the name of a disciple (Mark 9:41, note). Verily I say unto you, He shall in no wise lose his reward (cf. Hebrews 6:10). Lose ( ἀπολέσῃ). Does the Western reading, "His reward shall in no wise perish," indicate the unending duration of heavenly bliss, or is ἀπόληται, there a synonym for the πταίσῃ of Ecclesiasticus 2:8? Observe that if the original Aramaic were הירגא דבַייֵ, it might be understood in either way (cf. references in Levy, 'Chald. Worterb.,'s.v. דב)).


Matthew 10:1-4

The mission of the twelve.


1. The number, lie called unto him his twelve disciples. He had many more. He called these twelve. There seems to be a symbolical meaning in the number. We see plainly in the Book of the Revelation that twelve is the number of the Church. Three is the signature of God; four of the world; twelve, the product of three and four, points to God as entering into relations with the world, making a covenant with the Church which he hath called to himself out of the world. Twelve was the number of the Jewish Church, the Church of the twelve patriarchs; it is the number of the Christian Church, the Church of the twelve apostles. Then there is a meaning in the number; it seems to imply that God was entering into a new covenant with mankind—a covenant which was to find its consummation in the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, which hath twelve gates, twelve angel-guardians, twelve foundations; the length and breadth and height of which are each twelve thousand furlongs. Twelve implies a covenant; the chosen disciples were the ministers of that covenant, "able ministers of the New Testament." Thus the very number of the apostles reminds us that we are brought by the grace of Christ into very close relations with God, into a new covenant with God.

2. The name. They had been disciples, now they became apostles. It is the first occurrence of that higher title in St. Matthew's Gospel. The Lord sent them forth; they became his ambassadors, his messengers, his missionaries. They had been disciples for some time; they had been called on various occasions; the calling of five out of the number has been already related by St. Matthew. They did not cease to be his disciples, his pupils. We learn of him all our life long; he hath the words of eternal life; we can never learn enough. But now they were to go forth to preach in his Same. It was a solemn mission. Before sending them (Luke tells us) "he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." We should learn from his example to pray long and earnestly for those who are to be ordained to any holy function in his Church. But as yet this mission was preliminary only, and confined within narrow limits. The apostles did not receive their full commission till the Lord had risen from the dead; it was sealed by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the great Day of Pentecost. But from this time they were apostles, the messengers, the angels of Christ upon earth; as the holy angels are the messengers of our Father which is in heaven. His ministers must have the like credentials now. "How shall they preach, except they are sent?" It is from him that the mission comes; he gives the zeal, the energy, the love. His ministers must stir up the gift of God that is in them, remembering always the solemn responsibilities of 'their high and holy calling.

3. The gift of Power. The Lord gave his apostles power over evil spirits, and power to cure diseases. The age of miracles has passed away, but still he giveth power. Christianity is not a mere republication of the moral law; it is a religion of power, because its living centre is not a theology, but a Person, the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, who gives the sacred gift of the Holy Ghost to his chosen. The gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift of power—power to overcome the wicked one in our own hearts, power to preach with energy and burning zeal, power to cast out evil spirits by word, by holy example, by earnest preaching, by the ministration of the holy sacraments.


1. They were sent out two and two. Christ would have his servants work together; it is not good to be alone. Christian sympathy, communion with like-minded friends, help the Christian warrior in his daily strife against sin. Christians need that mutual help. Even St. Paul, who lived so very near to Christ, who could say, "To me to live is Christ," longed always for sympathy, and felt loneliness a great and bitter trial.

2. The order of the twelve. They were equal, though we notice a certain gradation of order. St. Peter is first in all the lists; yet when St. Paul was admitted into the apostolic college, though he spoke of himself as the least of the apostles, one born out of due time, he claimed equality with the first chosen twelve; he was not, he said, a whir behind the very chiefest of them; he withstood even Peter to the face. Three of the twelve were very highly favoured—Peter, James, and John; they only witnessed the first miracle of raising the dead and the glory of the Transfiguration; they only attended Christ in the great agony of Gethsemane. Of the three, John was the most loved of the Lord, yet Peter was in some sense first; perhaps his character, perhaps the Lord's choice, brings him again and again to the front. There must, for the sake of order, be some subordination among the servants of Christ, but the truest distinction is that of holiness. "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;" "He that shall humble himself shall be exalted." The lowliest here shall stand nearest to the Lord in heaven. There is a true and noble ambition; it is the ambition to please God the best. to follow closest to Christ, to be first in humility, in self-sacrifice, in holy, self-denying love.

3. Some of them are well known, some unknown. Some of them exhibit to us a clear, distinct personality; of some we know very little; one or two are names to us, and nothing more. All are known to God. He "knoweth them that are his;" "I know mine own, and mine own know me; even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the leather.'' God's saints, happy in that knowledge, sock not to be known of men. God's providence orders their circumstances. They may be as a city set on a hill, known of all men; they may be hidden from the sight of men in the quiet corners and byways of life. It matters little; whether their outward life is private or public, their soul liveth with God. For a time the Lord Jesus was the central figure in the Holy Land. "The world is gone after him," the Pharisees said. But he had lived during the far larger portion of his earthly life unseen and unknown to the world, a poor man in an obscure town. That obscure life was very beautiful and noble in the sight of God and the holy angels; for it was a life of perfect holiness and self-sacrifice. The hidden saints of God may be among his holiest, his best beloved; "unknown, and yet well known." They fill no space in the world's history; their very names are forgotten here. But they are not forgotten in heaven; they are written there in the Lamb's book of life. It is good to be unknown here. It must be very hard in the high places of life to preserve a clear, calm spirit; to walk humbly with God; in the world, but not of the world. Some can do it by the grace of God; with God all things are possible. Some men in high place are by his grace more lowly minded than those who rank far beneath them; the danger is great, but the grace of God is greater. Simon Peter had great faults; but he may have been more lowly in heart than the unknown Simon the Canaanite; he may have illustrated in his life his own lesson, "Be clothed with humility."

4. One was a traitor. They were only twelve; the Lord had chosen them to be with him. They had the unspeakable privilege of his teaching, his example, his society, living always in familiar intercourse with him. One would think it almost impossible to cherish selfish thoughts and motives in the presence of that unearthly goodness. But in that little company there was a traitor. Outwardly, he was very near to Christ; inwardly, there was a great gulf between them. The heart of man is deceitful above all things; in the midst of spiritual privileges it may be wholly estranged from God. In the visible Church the evil are ever mingled with the good. There was one traitor among the chosen twelve; there will sometimes be worldly and wicked men in the ministry of the Church, sometimes in its highest places. We must not be offended; it is what we are taught to expect.


1. The Lord sends forth his servants; they must remember that their mission is from him, and look to him for wisdom and for power.

2. They must not seek great things for themselves, but be lowly, like their Lord.

3. The sacred office has its own temptations; sometimes they are very great. Spiritual fellowship with Christ is the one only safeguard.

Matthew 10:5-15

The Lord's charge to his apostles.


1. It leas to be confined to the house of Israel. This was a temporary limitation; it was wholly removed at the ascension. The Lord himself entered into the city of the Samaritans; lie healed the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman. But for the present the apostles were to preach only to the Jews; it was necessary that the gospel should be first offered unto them; they were the covenant people, the children of the kingdom. The Holy Land was to be the centre from which the light of the gospel was to be diffused throughout the world. The light must be kindled at the centre first; a Church must be formed in the birthplace of the faith; then the messengers of Christ were to go forth for the evangelization of the world. The gospel must be preached at home first; then comes missionary work. Each disciple must be a witness for Christ; first in his own immediate circle, then let him enlarge his efforts. There are lost sheep at home, in our own households, among our own friends and neighbours. God's providence has placed them nearest to us; our first duty is to them.

2. Their preaching. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." It had been first the announcement of John the Baptist, then of the Lord himself; now his apostles were to re-echo the solemn message. The kingdom was at hand, not yet fully organized, only in its infancy; but it was in the world. The heavenly King was come; his kingdom was close at hand; men who would share its blessings must press into it.

3. Their power. The Lord had given them power to work miracles or' mercy; they must exercise it. We must care for men's bodily wants as far as God gives us the means, not only for their spiritual needs. The apostles had received freely, without price, the gift of power from Christ; they must, give, as they received, freely, without price. St. Peter obeyed the Lord's commandment when he refused to receive money from Simon the sorcerer in exchange for spiritual power.

4. No provision needed for their journey. The workman is worthy of his meat; the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. The apostles were to be supported by those to whom they ministered the bread of life; but they were to look for no more than that daily bread for which the Lord encourages us to pray. They were to trust in God for the supply of their daily needs; they were not to provide money; they were to go lightly clad, without the encumbrance of baggage. The Lord gave different rules afterwards (Luke 22:36). The directions here were of temporary force; to require literal obedience to them would savour of the fanaticism of the scribes and Pharisees. But in the spirit they are of perpetual obligation. Christ's ministers must be disinterested; they must labour not for the sake of earthly rewards, but for the love of souls, for the love of Christ; they must cast all their care upon Christ, knowing that he careth for them.


1. They were to choose pious households. They must begin in each town or village with those who were most likely to listen to their message. A pious household would be a fit centre from which the good tidings might spread throughout the neighbourhood. There they should remain. They were not to wander from house to house in search of pleasant places; they were to be content to stay where God's providence had first directed them.

2. They were to bring the message of peace. "Peace be unto you!" was the common formula of Oriental salutation. The Lord would not have his servants neglect the ordinary courtesies of social life. "A servant of the Lord," Stier writes, "is truly courteous, for he has learned to be so in the high court of his King." But the salutation becomes a Christian blessing in the mouth of the Lord, or of his servants speaking in his Name; its brings peace to the household that is worthy of peace. Words of blessing do no good to the unbelieving and the unworthy. But they are not lost; the blessing returns upon him who utters it in faith and love. Christian love is very precious; every deed and word and thought of love are registered in heaven; not one is lost. If there are some who harden their hearts and will not receive the benefit, it returns in multiplied blessing upon the faithful servant of the Lord.

3. The danger of rejecting the gospel message. The Jews were accustomed to shake off the dust when they returned from foreign journeys; the dust of heathen countries defiled the Holy Land. The apostles were to do so when they left households or towns which refused to receive them and to hear their words. The action was symbolical; it was to be done in sadness, not in anger; it implied separation; it was the last solemn appeal, a warning of the coming judgment. Still Christ's ministers must observe their Lord's injunction—not, indeed, in the letter, but in the spirit; still they must announce to the wicked the Lord's most awful warning, "O wicked man, thou shall surely die." If they speak not to warn the wicked, he must die; but his blood will be required at their hand. The Lord himself ratifies the awful sentence. He looks forward to the judgment of the great day. It shall be more tolerable then, he says, for Sodom and Gomorrha than for those who have heard the gospel and rejected it. There are degrees or' guilt, and there are degrees of condemnation. Sin against light is far more guilty than the sin of ignorance; the greater the light, the greater the guilt, if when we have the light we come not to the light, but walk still in darkness, loving with a strange perversity darkness rather than light.


1. Do not neglect home duties; care first for the souls which God has put within your influence.

2. Christ's ministers must seek souls, not riches; his people must give freely to supply their needs.

3. Christians must he courteous in their intercourse with one another.

4. The message comes from God; those who reject it incur a most awful danger.

Matthew 10:16-23

The future mission of the apostles.


1. The Lord warns his apostles beforehand. "Behold, I send you forth." He looks forward to their future work in the world when they should have received the full apostolic commission; he prepares them for the dangers of their office; he reminds them of its dignity, of the source from which the commission comes. "I send you." The pronoun is emphatic: "It is I, the Lord, who send you." This thought should strengthen his servants in trials and difficulties. Their mission came from Christ. "I send you." The word reminded them of their apostleship; of its dignity and its duties. They were sent by Christ. But they would be sent into the midst of dangers; they would be like sheep in the midst of wolves—as harmless, as helpless. Their task seemed hopeless. A few weak men were sent to grapple with all the might of the heathen world. Their case seemed desperate; success seemed impossible. But it was the Lord who had sent them; here was their hope and strength.

2. He tells them how to conduct themselves. They were not to court martyrdom. They were to be wise, prudent, careful not to give unnecessary offence. Their lives were precious; they were to preserve them by all lawful means. St. Paul's conduct in heathen countries was regulated by this precept of the Lord's. The town-clerk at Ephesus said of him and his companions that they were not robbers of temples nor blasphemers of the Ephesian goddess. They did not put themselves into unnecessary danger by shocking the prejudices of the heathen. But they were to copy the wariness, not the guile, of the serpent. They must be harmless as doves; or rather, as the word means, simple, sincere, pure as doves. They must be genuine, truthful, free from the mixture of selfish motives. Such should be the conduct of Christ's ministers now. They need prudence in dealing with men—zeal without discretion often interferes with the success of their work; but they must always be truthful and single-hearted.

3. The sufferings that awaited them. They would be scourged by the Jews; they would be brought before Gentile governors and kings. The Lord began early to prepare his disciples for persecution. It is what no earthly teacher would have done—only the Son of God. The crown would indeed be theirs, but the cross must come first. Their sufferings would be a testimony, proving to Jew and Gentile the depth, the reality of their faith, the power of God which strengthened them. Christian patience, Christian meekness, show the mighty influence of the grace of God. They testify for God far more effectively than words.


1. They were not to be anxious to prepare their defence. Christ does not forbid thoughtfulness. He uses the same word here which he used in the sermon on the mount: "Take no thought for the morrow." They must not be anxious; they must not allow their minds to be distracted with care about the matter or the manner of their answers. The Christian must be always trustful; he is in the hands of God. He must keep his heart free from distressing anxieties; the peace of God should dwell there.

2. The reason. The martyrs of the Lord would have the promised help of God the Holy Ghost. He would strengthen their heart in the hour of danger with his most gracious presence, lie would teach them what to speak; nay, he would so fill their inmost being, that the words which seemed to be uttered by his servants would be in truth the words of God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit removes distracting cares, and fills the heart with joy and peace in believing. He inspired the saints and martyrs in the olden times. He cleanses the hearts of the faithful by his holy inspiration now, and gives them words when they are called to speak for the glory of God and for the good of souls. God's ministers are not apostles; they must give time and thought and study for the preparation of their sermons. We must not offer to the Lord our God that which hath cost us nothing. Still, they must look for the help of the blessed Spirit. He will teach them (if they come to him in the earnest prayer of humility and faith) what they ought to speak; and that the more, the nearer they walk with God.


1. The breaking of family ties. The preaching of Christianity would introduce a new element of division into the world. Households would be divided; natural affection would be overpowered by fanatician. Christians would be the objects of universal hatred, and that for his Name's sake. The teaching of Christ—holy, heavenly, severe—would excite the intense hatred of the worldly and the self-indulgent. The presence of Christ upon earth would stir up the evil one to a wild fury of hatred; he would let loose all the wicked passions of men, to destroy, if it were possible, in blood and fire the Church which Christ was come to establish. It was a strange prospect for the Founder of a new religion to set before his followers. Only he who is the Truth would have drawn such a picture, so dark, so unattractive to poor, weak human nature.

2. The reward of faithfulness. "He that endureth to the end shall be saved." He that abideth faithful amid the storm of popular hatred, he that flinches not in danger, in agony, in the fear of death, he shall be saved from sin, from everlasting death; he shall be brought safe through trials, persecutions, suffering, into the blessed Paradise of God. This was the hope of the martyrs of the Lord. It is our hope now in sorrows, in bereavement, in pain of body and anguish of soul—the high and holy hope of everlasting life with God in heaven.

3. Flight in persecution sometimes a duty. The flight of the holy family into Egypt was necessary For the salvation of mankind. Flight from present danger sometimes preserves God's servants for other and more successful work. They were not to court martyrdom unnecessarily. Their harvest was the world. If they could work no longer safely in one place, there was work to be done for God elsewhere. It might be needful for the good of the Church that they should continue in the flesh. Let them be willing to die or live as best might please the Lord, as best might help on the great work of winning souls. They need not tear that the work would be marred by their flight. ]t was long and toilsome, not to be wrought out in a few years. They themselves (the apostles, to whom the Lord was speaking) would not have gone over all the cities of Israel till the Son of man should come, to end the old dispensation, and to establish the new, in the destruction of Jerusalem. Their successors would not have preached the gospel through all the kingdoms of the earth tilt he should come again in power and awful majesty to judge the world. There is always work for Christian men to do. Then work while there is time; work wherever the Lord calleth you. He is the Lord of the harvest; he appoints to every man his work.


1. Let the ministers of Christ in all their trials remember their mission. It is he who sent them; he will give them strength.

2. They should be prudent; they must be sincere and truthful.

3. Let them expect opposition; Christ hath warned them.

4. They must not be over-anxious how to speak; they must trust; they must look for the promised help of the Spirit.

5. They must work where God's providence sends them. They must bear the cross now, looking onward to the crown.

Matthew 10:24-42

General rules for all the Lord's disciples.


1. They must be patient, looking unto Jesus. He is our Example, our Master, our Lord. He is in all things above us immeasurably and beyond comparison—in his Divine power and majesty, in his transcendent holiness, in his perfect love. "He was despised and rejected of men." His people must expect the like. We are his disciples, his servants. The great aim of our life should be to be like him; to draw nearer and nearer, though always at an infinite distance, to that Pattern of exalted goodness. We must not look for the high places of the world, when the Lord endured the cross. We must not look for praise, when he was so cruelly insulted. We must expect our best deeds to be misrepresented. Men ascribed the Lord's miracles of love to the agency of Satan. It is enough for the disciple that lie be as his Master. It is good for Christians to be blamed, to be despised, to be slandered. It is a discipline of meekness; it leads them to look into their hearts, to see their own sins and shortcomings; above all things, it makes them like their Master; it brings them, if they take it patiently, into nearer relations with their suffering Lord.

2. The duty of holy boldness. Suffering becomes a blessing if it makes men like their Lord; therefore they must not fear. "Fear not" is the Lord's commandment, his word of gracious encouragement.

3. The duty of trustfulness. God's mercy is over all his works. He cares for all his creatures, even the smallest, the most insignificant. Much more does he care for those precious souls for which the Redeemer gave himself to die. The smallest circumstances of our lives are not beneath his notice. The very hairs of our head are all numbered. All the little trials, difficulties, vexations, of our daily lives are known to him. Therefore let us trust in that almighty Protector who notes the fall of every little sparrow. "Fear not," saith the Lord. Fear not persecutions; fear not sickness, pain, death; none of these things can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Right dear in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.


1. The recognition of the conquerors. It cost much to confess Christ before men in the days of fiery trial; even now it is not always easy. It is to own him as our Master and our Lord; not as the many who say to him, "Lord, Lord," but as the few who confess him in their lives. The whole life—both the outward life of word and deed, and the inward life of thought and motive—must be ordered by the obedience of Christ. Both are alike open to the searching eye of God; both must evince the confession of the heart that Christ alone is Lord. The whole life must draw round him as its Centre; it must own him by ready, cheerful submission to him as its only King. The reward is great; such men he will confess before his Father. In the glory of the great day, before the assembled universe, the almighty Judge, the most holy Saviour, will own them as his true sheep, his chosen, his redeemed. It is a lofty hope; may it be ours!

2. The rejection of the disobedient. Those who deny him, he will deny; not those who, like Peter, having once denied, have repented in true contrition, but those who deny him in their lives, though they may profess that they know him; those who show no obedience, no love, no self-denial—those he will deny. Their profession may be loud, their display of religion may be great, but he will deny them before his Father. He knoweth their hearts; they are not his.

3. The conflict will be bitter. The Lord is the Prince of Peace; the angel-anthem that celebrated his incarnation dwelt on the gift of peace. But "glory to God" came first. "Glory to God in the highest," says Slier, "necessarily precedes ' peace upon earth.' The second cannot be attained but through the first, and the conflict which secures it." Peace on earth was the object of the Lord's coming; but the sword was to come first. "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable." The purity of Christ's holy teaching, its absolute originality, its utter difference from the established modes of faith and worship, would excite a violent opposition. The zeal of Christians would arouse the zeal of persecutors; there would be sharp divisions even in the family circle. Sometimes it is so now; it is a bitter trial.

4. Christ must be first in our love, whatever the cost. He set nothing above our salvation; we must set nothing above his love. Human love is very precious, but not so precious as the love of Christ; all other loves must be subordinated to that one highest love. In truth, they love their earthly friends the best, who, loving Christ above all, love mother, or wife, or child in Christ and for Christ according to his will. But the whole heart must be given to Christ, who gave himself for us. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart." It is the first of all the commandments, the deepest and the holiest.

5. The cross. For the first time we meet with that great word—that word once so hateful, now so sweet and holy. The Lord looks forward in prophetic vision; he sees himself bearing the cross; he sees his faithful followers, each with his cross, moving onwards in long procession to the glory-crown. His words must have seemed very dark and strange. The apostles looked up to him with the utmost reverence; and now he, their King, spoke of the cross, that thing so utterly loathsome. He said that they must take it up; he called it their cross. He implied that he himself would bear it. They could not have understood him then; they knew afterwards. We know his meaning. There is no crown without the cross; no heaven without self-denial for Christ's sake.

6. The true life. This life is dear to us; the life to come should be dearer far. Our present life is continued in the life beyond the grave. Our personality is one; our life here and hereafter is one life under two very different forms. Here is the Christian paradox: he who finds loses, he who loses finds. He who sets his love upon this earthly life and takes not up his cross loses that higher life. His life continues itself, but it becomes death, utter death, to all that makes life worth living. He who loses finds; he who counts all things else as dross that he may win Christ, finds Christ, and finds in him the true life, the life that dieth not.


1. The dignity of the apostolic office.

2. The dignity of all Christians. All belong to Christ—not only apostles and prophets and righteous men, but also the little children whom the Lord Jesus loved so well, whom he took up in his arms and blessed, whom he bade us bring to him. They are his; therefore the gift of love given to them because they belong to Christ shall not lose its reward. The smallest deed of holy love is precious in the sight of him who is love. Let us care for the little children; let us tend the sick and forsaken; let us teach the ignorant. Orphanages, children's hospitals, Sunday schools, are good- and Christian institutions. They who help the little ones because they belong to Christ shall not, the Lord hath said it, lose their reward.


1. We must be content to be despised as the Master was despised; the disciple is not above his Master.

2. Fear God; fear nothing else; be bold in bearing witness for the truth.

3. God cares for us all in our little trials; we should bring them all before him in trustful prayer.

4. What must be the unutterable blessedness of those whom Christ will confess in the last day? Confess Christ now.

5. The cross is the very emblem of our religion; we must take it up, looking unto Jesus.


Matthew 10:1

The twelve apostles.

The commission of the twelve follows immediately on the expression of our Lord's compassion for the forlorn flock without a shepherd, and his more cheering view of the multitude as a ripe harvest-field only waiting for the reapers. They were the first response to the prayer for more labourers.

I. GOD WORKS THROUGH HUMAN AGENTS. The Old Testament had its prophets, the New its apostles. The sheep are scattered if true pastors are wanting; the harvest is unreaped if labourers are not forthcoming. Even the Incarnation did not dispense with a various human agency. Although the Word was now made flesh and dwelt among us, even this human brotherhood of Christ did not make the mission of apostles superfluous. Christ trained twelve men to carry on his work after his brief earthly life was over—nay, to help him while he was on earth himself, preaching the gospel, and healing the sick. To-day Christ seeks for apostolic men to spread his kingdom through the world.

II. CHRIST'S DISCIPLES MUST BECOME APOSTLES. First the twelve were learners, then they became teachers. He who sits at the feet of Christ must listen to the Master's word that bids him rise up and go forth to minister to others. The true Christian is at heart a missionary, and his evangelic spirit will be seen in his active life. If Christ calls any to himself, it is that he may send them forth for the good of the world. Christ lived for men; apostles lived like him for others. So should all Christians live.

III. THE APOSTLES MUST RECEIVE THEIR COMMISSION FROM CHRIST. The twelve were selected from among the followers of Christ. They followed him before they went forth from him. We must come to Christ ourselves before we can be sent out by him. The missionary must be a Christian. Moreover, the closeness of our personal following of Christ is the measure of our power for his service. They are his truest apostles who walk most closely in his footsteps. In the special mission of Christian work it is necessary to be authorized by Christ. All are not called to the highest office, but all are called to some service, and even the lowest ministry in the kingdom is not possible to those who have not listened for the voice of Christ and endeavoured to obey him.

IV. THE SERVANTS OF CHRIST ARE ENDUED WITH POWER FROM ABOVE FOR THEIR MINISTRY. Christ gave a miracle-working faculty to the twelve, so that if they were to do his work they might have some of his power. It would be cruel to send a soldier to the wars without supplying him with ammunition. We do not receive the miraculous gifts, 'rod we do not need them, because our circumstances and our commission differ from those of the apostles. But some grace is needed for every Christian work; without it the ablest and most devoted would fail. Therefore he who gives the command supplies the grace. Christ has now ascended up on high to give gilts unto men (Ephesians 4:8-12), and to different men different gifts—as to the twelve, who were variously gifted, yet each of whom had some power for his special mission.—W.F.A.

Matthew 10:6

The lost sheep of the house of Israel

When our Lord first sent forth his apostles, he directed them to confine their ministry to their fellow-countrymen. Their very number, twelve, would suggest a relation to their people, as though one were chosen for each tribe. Let us consider the significance of this arrangement.

I. SPECIAL PRIVILEGES WERE GIVEN TO THE JEWS. This is not a delusion of their own national pride; it does not depend on their claim to a leading place; it is manifest in history. The fact is apparent in the very existence of the Old Testament; in the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem, a Jew among the Jews; in the appointment of twelve Jews to be the pillars of the Church; in the preaching of the kingdom first among the Jews; in the formation of the first Christian Church of Jewish members, and in the city of Jerusalem. Plainly Israel was favoured, as St. Paul himself asserts (Romans 3:2). There are many favoured people in the present day. All Christendom has privileges from which the heathen are excluded by their ignorance. England is a highly favoured land. Nevertheless, God is no respecter of persons, because

II. CHRIST DESIRES THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL. Undoubtedly the work of the apostles was directed in the first place to saving the Jews. We are thereby encouraged to carry on Christian missions among the Jews. To each race some especial gift is allotted; to Israel is given in a pre-eminent degree the genius for religion. Failure, disappointment, oppression, and, in some cases, wealth and worldly prosperity, seem to have buried the talent. Yet it is Israel's natural heritage. If it could but be brought forth and used, the Jews might yet develop into the missionaries of the world.

III. CHRIST SEEKS THE RECOVERY OF THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN AWAY FROM EARLY PIETY. They are lost sheep to whom the apostles are sent, The most degraded Israelites are to be the chief objects of the mission. In the past God showed wonderful patience with Israel; even now at the eleventh hour he yearns over the nation, hungering for its salvation. They who have once known God are never forgotten by him. Fallen Christians are not cast off by their Master. Though they have wandered far from him, he has gone out into the wild to seek them. None are so wretched as lost sheep; none so guilty as those who have known the privileges of the fold and yet have forsaken it. Still, even to such the gospel is preached; nay, to them it comes first of all. Christ most earnestly longs for the recovery of fallen Christians.

IV. CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY WORK SHOULD BEGIN AT HOME. Jesus, a Jew, first sought the blessing of Jews. He wept over Jerusalem, and longed to save the great city of his people (Luke 19:41). London is our Jerusalem, England is our holy land. Our first duty is to raise the fallen in our midst. We cannot forget "Darkest England'' while we rightly send missionaries to "Darkest Africa." No claims on the Church are so imperative as those of her own home missions. It is a shame and a scandal that any such missions should be needed in the Christendom of these late ages; but while the heathen swarm around our very doors, living ever within the sound of church bells, our first duty is to these unhappy people, our near brothers and sisters. The recovery of lost sheep at home will not hinder missionary work; it will check that paralysis at the heart which is the most deadly foe of foreign missions.—W.F.A.

Matthew 10:16

Serpents and doves.

No two creatures are more opposite to one another in nature. The serpent eyes the dove with greedy desire; the dove looks at the serpent with the fascination of horror. The serpent is the symbol of the evil spirit; the dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, each has exemplary lessons to teach, and the most dove-like soul will be imperfect if something of the serpent is lacking.

I. ALL THE WORLD IS FULL OF EXAMPLES FOR CHRISTIAN CONDUCT. We must be struck with our Lord's freedom in the use of materials for illustrating his teaching. Seeing truth clearly, and living in a spiritual atmosphere of purity, he was in no danger of being misled by the errors and evils around him; he was able to find the good in everything—even to suck honey, so to speak, from the deadly nightshade. The truer and loftier our soul is, the wider will be the range from which we can derive a wholesome diet. It is only the sick man who must be shut up in a hospital, and it is only the sick soul that craves conventual seclusion for the preservation of its purity. Jesus could even go beyond the darker side of nature and find emblems in evil men. tie compared himself to a thief (Matthew 24:43, Matthew 24:44). He bade his disciples imitate an unjust steward (Luke 16:2, etc.). But we want the Christ-spirit to see "good in everything," and to extract the soul of goodness from things evil without carrying away some of the evil. A degraded nature sees evil everywhere—contrives to obtain the poison of the asp even from the innocent dove, finds Delilah in a Madonna.


1. The wisdom of serpents. In Egyptian symbolism, which gives us serpents coiled about the throne of a sovereign, and, indeed, in the practices of nations in all quarters of the globe, we see the repulsive reptile regarded as of threefold significance—as the emblem of eternity, as the representative of guile, and as the incarnation of evil. It is the second of these characteristics that our Lord here selects. We know that he never encourages deceit. But mental alertness, keenness of observation, and nimbleness of thought are invaluable gifts even for Christian work. We should consecrate intelligence in the service of Christ. There is no virtue in dulness. Stupidity is not sanctity.

2. The harmlessness of doves. This is a negative quality. But it is not less important than the positive intelligence. The shaft of wit may wound where no unkindness is intended. A serpent-like subtlety of mind is a most dangerous faculty. It is valuable; but it is only safe when it is balanced by a dove-like gentleness of disposition.

3. The combination of varied graces. The point of our Lord's recommendation is in the union of two very different characteristics. The common danger is that we should select one to the neglect of the other. There are men of mind who lack heart, and there are affectionate creatures who weary us with their senseless ineptitude. The serpent is an awful ideal if it is selected by itself. Its prophet is Machiavelli, and its hero Mepifistopheles. But the dove alone will not suggest the most perfect saint; its gentleness may be feeble. Yet too often people choose one or the other as their ideal of perfection. Christ blends the two in himself; he is skilful in confounding the clever scribes by keen replies, and he is meek and gentle, harmless and undefiled.—W.F.A.

Matthew 10:28

What to fear.

Fear has a place in the economy of life, but the common mistake of people is to put it in the wrong place. We have dangers, but not where we commonly look for them. There is a needless fear which should be discouraged, am! there is a necessary fear which has to be cultivated.


1. In what it consists. This is the fear of man. The apostles were sent out as sheep among wolves. The gathering opposition of the authorities of Israel against their Master was likely to turn against them also if they showed themselves zealous in advocating his cause. The fear of the disciples under these circumstances would be a type of worldly fear. With us this is not the dread of martyrdom; it is a horror of ridicule, a terror of being despised by fashion.

2. Why it is stimulated. There was real danger to the apostles. Men can kill the body, and Christ does not deny this obvious fact. He does not offer his disciples a smooth course; on the contrary, he distinctly affirms that he has come to send a sword (Matthew 10:34).

3. How it is discouraged. Various considerations prove this to be a needless and even an unworthy fear.


1. The object of this fear. This is the awful destroyer of souls—he who goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. There is a childish fear of the devil that haunts the minds of superstitious people—a terror that sat like a nightmare on the people of the Middle Ages. Such a fear is but physical. But that which Christ would inculcate is moral—the dread of sin. Our great enemy is the spirit of evil, and he attacks us whenever we are tempted. Christ wants us to have a horror of doing wrong.

2. The grounds of this fear.

Matthew 10:34

Christ sending a sword.

Jesus Christ came as the "Prince of Peace," and his advent was heralded by angels, who sang of "peace on earth." When one of his disciples drew a sword to defend him, he bade the man put it back in its sheath, saying, "They that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matthew 26:52). His kingdom is not of this world, and because it is not, he told Pilate that his servants would not fight (John 18:36). How, then, can he speak of sending a sword?

I. HISTORICALLY, THE ADVENT OF CHRIST PROVOKES OPPOSITION. We know that swords were drawn against the disciples of Christ. James the son of Zebedee heard a warning in these words of Christ that was subsequently verified in his own person—though as yet he knew it not—when Herod slew him with the sword, and he became the first martyr-apostle. Our Lord foresaw persecution and predicted it. But this was not contrary to his peace principles. His disciples did not fight; and neither he nor they provoked antagonism by showing a quarrelsome spirit. The sword was wholly in the hands of the enemies of the new faith. It was not a sword of equal warfare, but a sword of cruelty, tyranny, persecution. Yet Christ did not draw back from the prospect of it, nor did he permit any compromise on the part of his disciples. Truth must be spoken, errors must be exposed, sin must be denounced, at any cost. Let the Christian be prepared for opposition. If all men speak well of him, let him search his conduct to see whether he has been faithful, or whether perchance he may have been speaking smooth things for the sake of ease and comfort.

II. SOCIALLY, THE COMING OF CHRIST STIRS UP DISCORD. This is a sad picture of the sword cutting into the home and separating child and parent (verse 35). We know that no family is so united as a truly Christian family. Christ consecrates and strengthens home-life. He does not require us to renounce home-ties in order to follow him. How, then, does he come to describe the hideous picture of family quarrels brought about by his coming? We know that his words came true in many a Jewish home where a son or a daughter confessed Christ. They are applicable to-day in Hindoo families that have been reached by missionary influences. Even in England a true, brave confession of Christ may bring great trouble in a worldly home, the habits of which are distinctly unchristian. The explanation is that Christ must be first, and that no domestic claim can excuse us for disloyalty to him. In order that the home may be ultimately glorified as the dwelling of Christ, it may have to be firs; of all saddened as the scene of discord. The larger society is broken and disturbed by Christian influences, and the trouble must go on tilt society is Christian.

III. SPIRITUALLY, THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST BRINGS A SWORD. The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The gospel of peace first brings warfare into the soul. It cuts through old habits; it opposes darling sins; it sets nil a new standard at variance with what was loved in the past. The old Adam will not die without a struggle; he fights against the new man. Thus the heart of the Christian becomes a battle-field. To refuse to resist temptation for the sake of peace and quiet is to be unfaithful to Christ, who only gives peace through a faithful endurance of conflict.—W F.A.

Matthew 10:40-42

Receiving Christ.

Jesus concludes his charge to the twelve on the eve of their mission with words that have more reference to others, with a promise of blessing to those who shall give a good reception to the apostles. Earlier he said that if any rejected the messengers of Christ they were to shake off the very dust of their feet as a testimony against the inhospitable people; and now he concludes his address by cheering words on the other side, generously recognizing a friendly reception of his disciples. Local and temporal as was the immediate occasion of our Lord's remarks, they are evidently of lasting application.

I. THE BROTHERHOOD OF CHRIST LEADS HIM TO REGARD KINDNESS TO HIS DISCIPLES EXACTLY AS THOUGH IT WERE OFFERED TO HIMSELF. He is not the Oriental monarch treating his subjects as a race of slaves. He is completely one with his people. Whatever hurts them hurts him; whatever cheers them pleases him. There is a Christian solidarity. The benefit or injury of one member affects the whole body (1 Corinthians 12:26). But if other members of the body are thus affected, much more will the Head, which is in direct communication with the whole, be affected.

1. This is meant as a great encouragement for the servants of Christ. They are not deserted by Christ; he is in all their work, and he feels keenly every kindness or unkindness offered to them.

2. This suggests how we may all have the unspeakable privilege of receiving Christ. Not only a prophet or an apostle, but a little child, may bring Christ to our home. Receiving the least of Christ's disciples for his sake, we receive him.


1. Receiving Christ's disciples. He does not speak here of indiscriminate hospitality, nor of the neighbourly love which he elsewhere commends. Here is a specially Christian action. Much is made in the New Testament of brotherly love—love to fellow-Christians. It is a great privilege to be able to help one of Christ's own little ones.

2. Receiving them in Christ's Name. Thrice does our Lord refer to the conditions of "the name"—"the name of a prophet," "the name of a righteous man," "the name of a disciple." This points to a set purpose in the hospitality. The prophet is received as a prophet because we wish to honour prophets; the righteous man as a righteous man because we desire to help the righteous; the Christian disciple as a disciple, for Christ's sake. This is more than mere kindness; it is a distinct recognition of the claim of Christ. We are encouraged to show kindness for Christ's sake, that we may please him—receiving the envoy for the sake of the King.


1. In receiving, Christ. They are treated just as though they had shown hospitality to the Lord Jesus Christ himself. But the reward of such hospitality is in the very coming of Christ. When he entered the house of Zacchaeus salvation came there. To have Christ within us is to have a better blessing than could be got out of all the wealth of the Indies or all the joy of a Christless paradise.

2. In receiving God. This thought is nearly akin to the teaching of the Fourth Gospel (see John 14:9, John 14:10). We do not merely receive Christ as a brother-man. Beneath the veil of the humanity of Jesus the very glory of God enters the soul. Thus he who receives a child lop Christ's sake is blessed by having God in his heart, and then his heart becomes a heaven.—W.F.A.


Matthew 10:1-42

The "commanding" of the twelve.

This was a grand historic occasion indeed. The honoured but ever-comparatively feeble and now dimmed, dying, or dead schools of the prophets are to be succeeded by a scion of Christianity that marks at one and the same time its noblest and most amazing human institution, and Heaven's most condescending gift and human trust. Now begins "the great company of preachers" of the New Testament. They began with twelve;. they very soon grew to seventy; and authorized provision was made by him who first called them, and first "gave them commandment" for their indefinite, "innumerable" increase, by the one method of prayer, their prayer to the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his "great" harvest. With what sublimest of simplicity is it said in the first verse of the following chapter, "When Jesus trod made an end of commanding his twelve disciples"! The commandments were not ten, and, whatever their number, neither were they like those ten master-instructions of the old covenant, and of all time, till time shall end. These commandments breathed the very breath of love, of sympathy, of help. They were charged with trust, and that trust nothing short of Heaven's own-confided trust. The endowments of mighty powers of gift and of grace were enshrined in them. A glorious honour gilded them with deep, rich light. But throughout them, without a break, there ran the "commandment" that meant caution, warning, an ever-present dangerous enemy, thick dangers through which to thread the way. For this necessity, protection and even the very essence of inspiration were the promises vouchsafed. In some analysis of this "commanding of his disciples" we notice—

I. FIRST OF ALL, CHRIST'S PARAMOUNT AUTHORITY IN REGARD OF THE PERSONS WHOM HE COMMISSIONS. Once "he called" them; now "he calls them to him;" he "sends them forth;" and before they go, he "commands" them, and he gives them power." Of this authority two things must be said, and unhesitatingly. First, that what it seemed and what it was to these original twelve disciples, such it ever has been since, and still is, toward those who are their true successors, whether they are the successors of such as Peter and John, or of such as Judas Iscariot. Secondly, that the authority in question is one unshared and undivided, except as it is shared and divided, in whatever mysterious way and in whatever unknown proportion, with those very persons themselves, who either first pushed in to volunteer the solemn responsibility, or put themselves in the way to court it and to consent to accept it. The ordination of Judas Iscariot is not less a fact than that of St. Peter; and so has it likewise travelled down the ages of Christendom to this hour. Before this phenomenon we justly quail, and just are we dumb; but we cannot deny it.

II. CHRIST'S PARAMOUNT AUTHORITY IN RESPECT OF THE PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH THOSE HE COMMISSIONS ARE TO FULFIL THEIR ALLOTTED WORK. These are such as follow: Firstly, absolute independence of any supposed dictation on the part of those to whom their mission is. Secondly, absolute undoubting reliance on himself for guidance and protection, and in the last resort for all that is necessary for "life." Thirdly, the exclusive use and encouragement of moral influence over and among those who are to be visited and preached to, and whose spiritual and bodily sicknesses and diseases are to be ministered to. A most interesting and significant exemplification of this same principle is to be observed in the direction given to the disciples to accept hospitality; not only this, but to lay themselves open to the offer of it; nay, to inquire for it, but never to force it. And this exemplification is perhaps yet more powerfully established in the external symbolic, but still moral condemnation, directed to be expressed towards those who refused to "receive them," as also to "hear their words." Fourthly, throughout all that might seem to merely superficial observation special and artificial and supernatural—a religious and grateful obedience to what wise nature and true reason must dictate. They are sent forth "by two and two". This is


IV. THE CALM, IMMOVABLE INTREPIDITY OF ATTITUDE AND OF SOUL THAT IS TO MARK THOSE WHO SHALL SEEM THE CHIEF ACTORS IN THIS MORAL REVOLUTION. This is to rest upon: Firstly, the forearmedness of forewarnedness. Knowledge of themselves, of the enemy, and of him who fights by them, in them, for his own grand works; and who will not fail to fight for them, by himself, and all necessary unseen power. Secondly, the confidence that the Spirit of the Father shall be with them, and speak in and for them at each time of need. Thirdly, in memory of that Master, who is "above the servant "—a memory that has often shown itself so omnipotent an impulse and source of strength, Fourthly, with ever-present memory of the infinite disparity between the ultimate sanctions involved, viz. that of those who can kill the body but can no more, and of him who indeed can kill both, but of whom it is in the same breath said—He notices the fall of a sparrow, and counts the hairs of the head of his servant. Fifthly, that noblest incentive of the safest ambition that was vouchsafed in the words of incredible condescension, "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." This for some and all. And sixthly, also for some and all the words of tenderest promise, "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." Thus forewarned, thus forearmed, thus taught, thus given to fear with godly fear, and stimulated thus with promise and present assurance, it might well be that human "weakness" should be, as it was, as it often is, "made perfect in strength."—B.


Matthew 10:2-15

Christ's charge to his apostles.

After a night spent in prayer, Jesus called his twelve disciples and constituted them into an apostolic college. With his commission he gave them his charge. Notice—


1. They were twelve in number.

2. Their names are given in order.


1. As to the apostles preaching.

(a) Not to the Gentiles.

(b) Not to the Samaritans.

(c) They were to limit their preaching to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel"

(cf. Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 1:1-19.6; Matthew 12:1-50; Romans 9:1-4). The gospel must first be preached to the Jews (cf. Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8). The restriction, however, was temporary (see Acts 1:8; Acts 3:26; Acts 13:46).

(a) The gospel of the "kingdom." Its spiritual nature. Spiritually, as well as literally, they were to "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils."

(b) Its near approach. "At hand," viz. when the Spirit should be given on the Day of Pentecost.

(c) Therefore the need of preparation for it, viz. by repentance.

2. As to its authentication.

3. As to their maintenance.

1. This sin is worse than that of the men of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:48, Ezekiel 16:49). Who sin against the clear light of revelation are more guilty than those who offend against the dim light of tradition.

2. The full judgment upon sin is reserved to the last great day.

Matthew 10:16-23

Sheep and wolves.

The charge of Christ to his evangelists is here continued. Though addressed in the first instance to the twelve, it is by no means limited to them. We may learn—


1. It is a disposition of hostility.

2. Its hostility is nerved by cruelty.

3. The cruelty is aggravated by treachery.

"O shame to men! devil with devil damn'd

Firm concord holds, men only disagree

Of creatures rational; though under hope

Of heavenly grace; and, God proclaiming peace,

Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife

Among themselves, and levy cruel wars,

Wasting the earth, each other to destroy!"


1. The sheep is the Christian's type.

2. To the innocence of the sheep he must add the wisdom of the serpent.

3. To the wisdom of the serpent we must still add the simplicity of the dove.


1. They go forth under his commission.

2. They go forth with his Holy Spirit.

(a) The vain spirit which courts cheap martyrdom is discouraged here. It is prudence and humility to avoid persecution when charity and righteousness oblige not the contrary.

(b) There is no countenance here given to the spirit of the hireling who for love of life or property would abandon the flock of Christ to the wolf. Christ's soldiers may quit their ground, but not their colors.

3. They are encouraged by the promise of reward.

Matthew 10:24-33

Fearless witnessing.

The Christian is Christ's witness. He has to testify for Christ of his Person, offices, and work. He has to testify for the salvation of the believer; to the condemnation of the rejecter. To the rejecter the testimony is unpalatable and rouses resentment. This is often fierce and deadly. To face this resentment requires courage. In the text the witness has the encouragement, viz.—


1. They have the disposition to destroy.

2. But their power reaches only to the body.

3. Therefore God only is to be feared.

"If ever call'd

To give thy witness in a doubtful case,

Though Phalaris himself should bid thee lie,

On pain of torture in his flaming bull,

Disdain to barter innocence for life;

To which life owes its lustre and its worth."


1. The providence of God is everywhere.

2. It is specially concerned for the servants of Christ.

"He sees with equal eyes, as God of all,

A hero perish or a sparrow fall"!

Or of Hume, who says, "In the sight of God every event is alike important; and the life of a man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster"!

3. What, then, has the servant of Christ to fear? "Nothing can harm us"—even the killing of the body—"if we be followers of that which is good."


1. There is a coming day of revelation.

2. The day of revelation will be a day of retribution.

3. Therefore let the witness for Christ be fearless.

Matthew 10:34-42

The mission of the gospel.

These verses conclude the charge which Christ gave to his disciples when he commissioned them as evangelists. Having instructed them how they were to behave (Matthew 10:5-15), warned them of the hostility they should encounter (Matthew 10:16-23), and encouraged them to be fearless (Matthew 10:24-33), he now enlightens them concerning the mission of their message.


1. The family is the foundation of old Adam's kingdom.

2. Sin has demoralized this institution.

3. In grappling with these frightful evils the gospel stirs up new strifes.


1. Of this new world Jesus is the Head.

2. The principle of the new world is love to Christ.

3. Hence the promises of the kingdom are to the loyal.


Matthew 10:1

The power to impart power.

"He gave them power." It does not strike us as remarkable that, being what Jesus was, he should have power over sickness, disease, disability, and even death. But it certainly is unusual, remarkable, and most suggestive, that our Lord was able to give his power to others, and enable others to do the healing work that he did. There have been men with a genius for magic. They had it, but they were never able to impart it. There have been men with a strange and mysterious gift for healing disease. They had it, but they have never been able to impart it. No master ever yet gave his power to his disciples. He can teach them, guide them, and even inspire them. He cannot give himself to them. But this is precisely what Jesus could do and did.

I. THE LIGHT THIS THROWS ON CHRIST'S DIVINE NATURE. It may be fully argued and illustrated that "power belongeth unto God," and can only come to man directly from him. Man's gifts are Divine gifts; man's endowments are Divine endowments; man's genius is Divine inspiration. It is an accepted truth that God only can "forgive sins;" it should be an equally accepte