Hello everyone, I am happy to see you again. This is going to be a difficult chapter for some. Mainly my protestant friends who think of Jesus as only loving and merciful. In the text we are going to go over this is not the words of a suffering servant but the words of a King and his soldiers. Hope I got your interests perked. Alright let us begin in prayer. I wont say a prayer for you. You should be able to pray on your own by now. So, shall we begin?
The Twelve Apostles
10 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: 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 tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.Matthew 10:1-4 ESV
First thing to note here is the concept of a disciple and the concept of an apostle. A disciple is someone who follows a particular person. They are there to learn, watch the teacher and act in his ways. Most often this was normally with a trade. However we see these disciples following Jesus like one would a rabbi.
Now, an apostle is different but similar to a disciple. Think of it as a rank up. They are to raise awareness of the teacher. In this situation the teacher is Jesus and the apostles are like recruiters. Apostle literally means “sent one”. Jesus must have seen something special in this bunch and he was like they understood me best.
Another note, Matthew being the writer of this decided to put down his occupation. One that he hates, tax collector, or publican in some translations (telōnēs τελώνης) “Tax Farmer”. You can also see a little bit of anger in his writings towards ol’ Judas Iscariot. Last mentioned and also his betrayal. Remember all this was written after the crucifixion.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.Matthew 10:5-15 ESV
So the apostles are sent on a mission. They are to preach the gospel to the house of Israel. What is the gospel? We learned it last time. It is the message of the coming Kingdom. Jesus says the Kingdom is at hand meaning the Kingdom draws near. There is urgency to his message. He wants them to take absolutely nothing with them. Instead they are to go and move quickly preaching the word to all of Israel. Later to the gentiles.
Jesus also grants them supernatural powers as proof that he comes from God so people will believe his message and know that they were in fact sent from Christ. In doing so they would be faithful servants of their King, Jesus, spreading HIS news around the old kingdom of Israel so that they could become the new Israel.
I will ask you a question. Are you spreading the word of the coming Kingdom? You should. If you are an artist, writer, musician, carpenter, dancer, wood worker, janitor, anything job really, find a way to do it that glorifies the God. Even if you are scrubbing toilets, let them shine for God. Be the best dang toilet scrubber the world has ever known and when people ask you why you put so much effort into it, tell them, you do it for God. I wish and I will forever be slain by the wasted opportunities I squandered to show the Kingdom through my works. However I was an arrogant child. Rebellious; who thought he understood the world. How blind was I? I can spread his message now and share such things with all you. Do not be like me, and if you are, I pray you grow into your role just as I have.
Persecution Will Come
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.Matthew 10:16 ESV
One of my favorite lines in the Bible. Lets break this down because there is a lot in here to unpack. A sheep is an innocent animal. They are timid and they are gentle. A wolf can easily destroy a sheep. In fact they are hostile towards sheep. For a sheep to convince a wolf of anything would be rather difficult.
Jesus is acknowledging that he is sending them into danger, not of being ridiculed but actual death and unfortunately all of his apostles would die by the hands of those they are preaching to, all accept one, John, who Jesus charged to take care of his mother.
They are to have wisdom, aka street smarts in modern language. However they are also to have an air of innocents about them. Meaning be smart in how you act but in the same time do not loose your loving nature. We are to be smart in how we are preaching. To get yourself killed for no reason would be foolish. However if we must go onto dangerous grounds we must do so with direct knowledge of what we are walking into. I would no more think of preaching in North Korea for instance, openly. If I were to go be a missionary over in such a place, I would do so in secret. Though I see the sun setting over here, and I fear that I will be needed in my home country soon. Someone needs to be a torch to guide others.
17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.Matthew 10:17-23 ESV
It is funny, Jesus is warning them what will happen to them. They would suffer all these and more. I truly believe that Christ did not want any of this to happen to them. However he knew it must be done in accordance with his word. Much sadder is this all would fall upon Christ himself. We are not meant to stand and take it but rather we are to flee. Christ own words. We are not to respect the laws of people that would silence us. In fact quite the contrary. We are to speak out regardless of our freedoms. Even if we do not have such a freedom, we are still to speak. We are to worship, because we are doing it for a higher Kingdom. Damn those who would be quiet for the sake of mortal law. They shall die as a mortal. Instead we serve our King, who is everlasting, who is beyond death, as we will be by his hand and his hand only.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.Matthew 10:24-25 ESV
A freighting thought, not for our sake but for the unsaved. There are many souls out there for the taking. Even still there are many who are born into this world in chains of darkness and don’t even know it. The are servant of an unwanted god, Beelzebul. He is lord of his house and he keeps his tied up in their sins. He brings them to their knees fearing death. Avoiding it, trapped by it. We all know what that is like. Many of us have been Christian so long we have forgotten those days. However, death is the one thing we feared most. Now we have no reason to fear it.
Have No Fear
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.Matthew 10:26-33 ESV
See even Christ tells us not to fear anything of this world. Death is part of this world. God can destroy even death. He can also destroy the soul. So do not fear those that may take your life away. I am writing this now in the time of Covid. Don’t be a Covid coward, don’t fear it. If we die from it so be it. God will not allow anything to happen to you that he did not intend to happen. Once again, be wise, but do not lose that dove like innocents. Never fear to acknowledge of your Father is, who your King is, who your Savior is. Do it all in the name of Yeshua! The great YHVH! Our Emmanual!
Not Peace, but a Sword
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.Matthew 10:34-39 ESV
Do not get this twisted. Some have used this to defend arms and weapons among the Church. This is speaking to our sword. His sword. The word of God. When Christ speaks of a sword normally it is in the context of his word.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12 ESV
As we can see here we have that same sword that is mentioned above. It is a dividing weapon. Many close close people in our lives will reject the word of God. Even those we may view as “spiritual”. God’s word is a bitter pill but a true and right one.
I would also like to note, people must have thought this was a very strange teaching from Jesus. The mention of the cross, he had not been put to the tree yet. Once again, this must have sounded strange to them. Now we read it and we know and understand what he is saying but at the time they had no clue.
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”Matthew 10:40-42 ESV
Little ones in this context means a child. How much more are we children again being born again. We must relearn many things we were taught before we died with Christ. So let us be kind and loving one another and in that our reward is certain. Christ would not lie. We must hold steadfast to these truth.
I pray that everyone reading this is saved. If you are not, that is ok too. Though I would assume you reading this would understand the dire seriousness I take these issues to have. I should hope that you ponder these things. There is nothing more than I would like to meet you one day. Be it on earth, or in the Kingdom sharing in our eternal salvation. God bless you all. May you go in peace.