Monday, April 28, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 10

In my church's sermon yesterday we were encouraged to become evangelists regardless of where our strengths lie in the church. This means that we must actively and boldly proclaim the gospel in every aspect of our lives. Today in chapter 10 of Matthew we see this taken to a much larger extent. Chapter 10 features the first time that Jesus' 12 disciples are sent out to spread the message of His gospel. The entire chapter is essentially an extended pep talk before they are sent into the world to spread the good news. At this juncture they are given a priority to spread the Message to the Jews first, but later on we will see this restriction taken off. These twelve men would change the world, as they were given the task of essentially starting the modern church.

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,
drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. – Matthew 10:5-10

In the book of Matthew we see very little of the training the apostles were given before this point. The first disciples were called in chapter four, while Matthew himself was not called until the previous chapter. We don't know how much time had passed or how much "on the job" training the Twelve had received to this point, but it is obvious that Jesus felt they were ready to begin their mission.

We also see that Jesus has several priorities for them that can be carried over to our own lives. In chapter 8 they are asked to freely give as they have freely received everything they had gotten from Christ. Jesus gave them the ability to perform miracles, so He asked them to perform them. The Twelve were also told in the final two verses here to trust in God to provide for all their physical needs. This is a test of faith for the twelve. Life in the first century was much more difficult than it is today. If they were hungry they couldn't pull over to the side of the road and find a McDonald's. When they needed rest there wasn't exactly a Holiday Inn to stay at. Jesus was telling them to take nothing to cover their physical needs because they needed to exercise faith that God would provide for them.

17"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. – Matthew 10:17-20

Once again, this is a test of faith for the disciples. We have seen in previous chapters what the cost is in following Christ. This is foreshadowing for the Twelve, as all but one of them, John, would suffer and die for the faith. This is nothing less than a personal challenge from Christ to these twelve ordinary men. This also applies to our own lives. We may not face persecution like the disciples did, but following the path that Christ has set before is not an easy one. We are asked merely to testify for Christ. Only He can do the rest when it comes to changing hearts and minds. We must trust that when we represent Him, He will give us the words we need to say through the Holy Spirit.


  1. How difficult was this initial challenge for the 12?
  2. Why would Jesus ask them not to take anything if they already trusted God?
  3. Why would the Twelve suffer such persecution?

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