In my life, I’ve sold cars, time-shares, pianos, even encyclopedias (remember those?). In each job, there was a training period. Then, I was assigned a mentor or trainer to “shadow” me. If I was speaking with a customer and got stuck, the trainer was there to help. Once the trainer felt I was ready to go solo, I was on my own. However, the trainer was always nearby in the event I needed help.
Here in Matthew 10, Jesus feels that his disciples are ready to go out on their own to preach the Good News. In Luke 9, it says that He sent them out in pairs. It’s safer that way. Before they went, He gave them authority as well as specific instructions that we need to take to heart ourselves. Let’s dig in…
Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. 2 Here are the names of the twelve apostles:
first, Simon (also called Peter),
then Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee),
John (James’s brother),
Matthew (the tax collector),
James (son of Alphaeus),
4 Simon (the zealot),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
5 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, 6 but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. 7 Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!
9 “Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. 10 Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.
11 “Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. 12 When you enter the home, give it your blessing. 13 If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. 14 If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. 15 I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.
16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.
24 “Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. 25 Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!
26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’
37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
40 “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. 42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”Matthew 10 NLT
Points to Ponder
- The word “apostle” means “sent out”.
- Sheep among wolves! That hasn’t changed! His advice still holds — be shrewd and harmless at the same time. And tell everyone about Him — even captors and judges.
- They are told to only talk to the Jews. Not that the Gentiles were to be left out. It just wasn’t their time yet. Also, the Jews knew the scriptures — the Old Testament. Thus, they should understand who the Messiah is. That’s like a “warm lead” in sales rather than cold calling. It really helps when the prospect knows what you’re talking about when you say “atone for your sins”. Pagans really didn’t practice that. They just appeased the gods so all would go well in their lives.
- Jesus warns them that they will be persecuted — just like many Christians are today.
- He tells them that if a town refuses to listen — they reject the Gospel — they are to shake the dust off their shoes and leave. I take that to heart whenever someone starts an argument over the truth with me. I know I am not going to change their minds. I stop acknowledging them and keep on with my work.
- He tells them not to be afraid because every hidden thing will be made known.
- People can kill their bodies, but not their soul. I’m not afraid of death because I know that the moment I die, I’ll be with Jesus in Heaven.
- If God cares for a tiny sparrow, He cares more for you!
- Every day we believers have to “take up our cross”. That is, die to our old sinful ways daily.
- We have to leave our old sinful life behind — lose it, so that we can have new life with Jesus.
- If you accept Jesus as your personal savior, you receive God, the Father also. Wow!
Have You Received Jesus?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…