Matthew Chapter 10 Disciples are taught and sent

  1. Matthew 10 is the story of Jesus gathering his disciples around him before he sent them out. He gave the authority, his authority which he had demonstrated many times, to do what he asked. He told them where to go and where not to go. He told them the message to preach. He instructed them about money, clothes, acceptance and rejection, about future persecution, about their value to God, and about the cost of good discipleship.
  2. In Matthew 10:1-6 has Jesus calling his disciples to him so that he can give them general instructions for their ministry.
    • They are not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5). Why? Because the historical offer of the kingdom of heaven is to Israel. Gentiles are not Israel. Samaritans are not Israel. Gentiles are any group that is not Jewish. Samaritans are half Jewish and half Gentile.
      • Samaritans began after the Assyrian defeat of Israel in 722 BC. The Assyrians brought conquered people from Mesopotamia into Israel. Those Jews left in Israel were poor. These two groups intermarried with the result being the people later known as Samaritans. The Bible they accepted was only the Pentateuch. In John 4, we see the historical conflict between Jews and Samaritans noted. But, Jesus accepted any Gentile, including Samaritan, who believed in him as the messiah. The Samaritan woman demonstrated this.
    • Jesus did not reject Gentiles who believed in him. Remember the centurion of chapter 8? But, the group to whom the original promise of a kingdom on earth was made to Israel.
    • This kingdom message is all part of the historical outworking of the angelic conflict and theocratic kingdom program.
  3. The message (Matthew 10:7 was the “kingdom of heaven is a hand.” This was John the Baptist’s message (Matthew 3:1) and Jesus’ message (Matthew 4:17). The disciples were to continue to offer the Old Testament kingdom to the nation. If they repented toward God’s word and received their messiah, the kingdom would come.
  4. In Matthew 10:8-10, Jesus lists the supplies they are to take. Their baggage is light. They are to be itinerant messengers. They will be supplied by the people they serve (“the worker is worthy of his support” 10:10). As clothes and shoes wear out, people will provide replacements.
    • Jesus was not ordering them to go hungry and without clothes. He was teaching them that those benefiting from the ministry were to provide support for the ministers. The agrees with Deuteronomy 25:4, 1 Corinthians 9:4-18, 1 Timothy 5:17-18, and Galatians 6:6.
    • Money is not the issue. They freely give a message of the kingdom.
    • Extra clothes are not the issue.
    • Housing will be available in some areas and not in some areas. It will indicate the interest and faith response of the people.
  5. Matthew 10:11-15 instructs the disciples how they are to respond to reception and rejection. There will be two basic responses.
    • One response will be willing reception of them and the message by “worthy” people. To these people the disciples give greeting of peace which means peace, welfare, prosperity.
    • The other response will be those who do not heed the disciples’ words. In this case the disciples’ greeting should be withdrawn. The symbol of rejection by the disciples was “shake off the dust of your feet.” Certain pious Jews would shake off their clothes when they left Gentile land. They were shaking off the pollution of the paganism of the Gentiles. In this case, if Jews who should know better rejected the messiah, the disciples were to consider them to be like pagan Gentiles and shake off the contamination. This, of course, was symbolic. Gentiles could be saved. What it does is highlight the need for some response to the messianic kingdom message brought by Jesus’ disciples.
  6. Jesus now warns the disciples about the rejections they will receive (Matthew 10:16-23). See doctrine of rejection.
    • Scope of Jesus’ message. He begins in Matthew 10:5 with the command to go only to Israel, and in Matthew 10:23 the time stretches to the tribulation period that will conclude with Jesus returning to earth. So the immediate message is to the disciples Jesus sent out, but not all of these events will occur in the immediate time.
      • Israel rejected Messiah, and so he set her aside for the time being. Had Israel accepted her Messiah the events of 16-23 would have been compressed in the immediate years following his warning.
      • Some of these events did occur in the early church—scourging, brought before kings—as the book of Acts records. Deuteronomy 25:18 limits the number of stripes or beats by a whip to 40, so in order to protect against a miscount, 39 stripes was the limit. Paul suffered this 5 times (2 Corinthians 11:24).
    • Sheep in the midst of wolves must be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).
      • Wolves attack sheep. They often wound or kill and then leave scattered in the fields. Sheep are helpless. Wolves are brutal. The must be aware that they will have much opposition to them in their ministry. And then there are the spiritual wolves that Paul talked about in Acts 20:29. They want to destroy churches. Also note Matthew 7:15 and 2 Corinthians 11:14.
      • They are to be shrewd as serpents. The adjective is phronimos, sensible, thoughtful, wise. Serpents are  used as a picture of one who wisely and carefully deceives in order to control and destroy (Genesis 3:1; Proverbs 140:3; 2 Corinthians 11:3). One who is like a serpent attacks without the victim even knowing it. The disciples are to be wise and thoughtful.
      • The dove was used as a symbol in ancient times of virtue. Innocent is the word for unmixed and therefore pure. The disciples were to be not only very wise, but also of pure character.
    • Warnings of religious and political persecution in 17 and 18.
      • Courts and synagogues indicate that this persecution will be religious. Courts is the word Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court. In Acts 5:40-41 and 22:19, Luke documents this happening.
      • Governors and kings were faced in the early church and later in church history. Paul faced King Agrippa in Acts 25-26. Paul also faced political and religious persecution in Philippi (Acts 16), Thessalonica and Berea and Athens (Acts 17), Corinth (Acts 18), Ephesus (Acts 19), and in Jerusalem, Caesarea, and Rome (Acts 21-28).
      • The very disciples Jesus was addressing faced deadly persecution in the future
    • God will provide the necessary wisdom for speech at the appropriate time (19-20). This promise was fulfilled by the Holy Spirit. In John 20:22 Jesus gave his disciples he Holy Spirit to carry them until Pentecost. This verse indicates that Jesus is projecting beyond the immediate ministry. After Pentecost, we see in Acts that the Holy Spirit gave wisdom, courage, and ability to his disciples and apostles.
    • In Matthew 10:21-23 Jesus warns them that the ministry will divide families and bring hatred against believers. Remember that all this was to happen in the immediate future if Israel will accept her Messiah. Since Israel rejected Jesus, the period of persecution stretches centuries beyond this time.
      • These verses reach into the tribulation period. Enduring to the end refers to physical endurance during intense persecution of the tribulation. Those who endure will be delivered in physical life by Jesus when he returns for Israel in the future.
      • Believers have suffered persecution throughout history from religious Jews, from Romans, from pagans, from the Catholic Church, from governments, from common people, from Muslims, from family.
    • Matthew 10:23 must be a look into the future. The son of man is a title for Jesus. Of course, he is humanity. But in such a context it goes back to Daniel 7:13-14, a prophetic statement about the Messiah and his ruling ministry.
      • “God (son) came with the clouds to God (father) and God (the Ancient of Days, father) gave a kingdom to God (son).”
      • In Matthew 6:13-16, Jesus asked Peter “who do you say that I am?”
        • Verse 13, “who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
        • Verse 16, Peter said he was the Messiah. This is more than humanity. This answer comes fro Daniel 7:13-14. Peter said that Jesus wil receive the kingdom and worship and he is the son f the living God.
        • Verse 17, the father revealed this to Peter. This is the work of God making himself known to those who desire the truth about God.
      • Matthew 10:23 refers to that same meaning. It refers to the ruling God-Son of God. The time is the second advent of Jesus to earth. But, there are many other opinions about this verse, all incorrect.
        • Some think Jesus referred to the tie when he rejoined his disciples before they completed their mission trip. But, there is no indication that this happened.
        • Some think Jesus was referring to his public identification as the Messiah, but he did not say that, and that did not happen.
        • Some think he referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, but nothing in the context indicates this was what he was talking about.
        • Some think that Jesus was just wrong.
  7. Matthew 10:24-25 teaches that they should not be surprised at rejection because people are like their teacher and master. The followers of the Pharisees are like the Pharisees. In context, the disciples of John the Baptist were like him.
    • Matthew 10:25, if (1st class, Matthew 9:34) they accused Jesus, the head of the house of Israel, of being in business with Beelzebul (Satan), the disciples should not be surprised if they are treated the same way.
    • They are not to fear because God the father knows all and has it all under control. It will not get out of his hand. God will make their ministry known. This happened in history.
  8. Matthew 10:26-33 is an encouragement and a warning.
    • They are not to be afraid of speaking out. God will reveal the message through them (26-27). Verse 26 indicates that the word will get out. The enemy will not be able to hide. This should encourage the disciples and take pressure off of them.
    • They are not to fear those (plural, enemies of the gospel) who can cause physical death, but fear only him (singular, God) who has ultimate authority. In other works, he tells them to obey God and continue in the ministry.
    • Matthew 10:29-31, Jesus tells why they should not fret about he outcome of their work. God values them more than other sparrows which he never loses sight of. The Jewish person knew about sparrows. The poor ate them because they were so inexpensive (Deissman, Light, 272-275). The worth of two sparrows was about one=sixteenth of a denarius, a days wages.
    • Matthew 10:32-33 is a warning about Jesus’ recommendation of reward or loss of reward. This is not a section about losing eternal salvation.
  9. In Matthew 10:34-39 Jesus sets out the spiritual warfare in which the disciples themselves—and we find ourselves.
    • The main principle is that the Word of God and the ministry of that Word will bring antagonism, rejection, fighting, family division.
    • The main application required is that each individual must make a choice about who is most important in life—Jesus the Christ or people.
    • Matthew 10:34 gives us the principle. Jesus and his claims will cause division and antagonisms and even fighting.
    • Matthew 10:35-36 warn that members of our families and our household may reject Jesus Christ and as a result conflict will rage. Will the disciples (and we) maintain loyalty and love for Christ?
    • Matthew 10:37 then moves to a higher test. Who is most important in life? Mother, father, son, daughter, or Jesus Christ. In context it is not saying that one loves a family member less. It says that one should love Jesus Christ more.
    • Furthermore, this section appears to be emphasizing the choice between Jesus and family members who reject Jesus or are not so interested in him. Because of apathy or rejection the disciples (and we) are not warned to let them dictate what we do for the Lord and when we do it.
    • God’s ministry may cause family strife because others do not love God as you do. Jesus does not say to promote this strife. He simply says it may occur (10:35-36).
      • To love God more than family members does not mean you love family members less. It means you love God the most. So love your family as much and as deeply as you like and love God more (10:34-37).
      • How many times do we skip Bible class or skip Christian activities or Christian interests just because family members are not interested in the Lord.
      • How many times do we allow negative members of the household to dictate our Christian life and service.
      • When this happens we love mother, father, son, or daughter more than we love Jesus. And, those negative people come to think that the Lord is really not important and worthwhile.
      • Jesus is not saying to be rude or hard headed or proud or self righteous. He is saying that there are times when a gracious explanation is helpful to explain how much we love Jesus Christ. And at that time invite those not so interested in Jesus to participate with us. Make this a gracious and loving witness for the Lord, not a take it or leave it statement.
    • Matthew 10:38 now concludes with a strong statement for daily living. Taking up his cross is often wrongly interpreted. What was Jesus’ cross? It was the will of the father to die for the sins of the world.
      • Each individual’s cross is the father’s will for him or for her. He is telling them to accept the father’s will in one’s life just as he was doing. If the disciple (and I or you) do not, we are not worthy to be in his service. In fact, we are not in his service. We are serving ourselves.
    • Matthew 10:39 speaks of finding one’s life and losing one’s life. This is saying that the person who lives for the present really has lost the true purpose for life, and the satisfaction of a worthwhile life. The one who has lost his life for the sake of Jesus will find the fulfillment of life, now and in eternity.
  10. Matthew 10:40-42 concludes this mission lesson from Jesus. It teaches that disciples (and we) represent the one we serve or claim to serve.
    • He who receives the disciple also receives Jesus and the father who sent Jesus. The father is represented through Jesus and Jesus is represented through the disciple.
    • If one receives a prophet and represents a prophet, he shall receive the appropriate reward.
    • The same with the righteous man. This is representation of the source down to the one serving.
    • Jesus wants his disciples (and us) to represent the father and himself. There is reward in that.
    • Representation is by following, by obeying, by serving faithfully.
    • Finally, if we serve in the name of other servants—we are not in charge—we shall still be rewarded.
  11. This chapter covers many principles.
    • People who benefit from the ministry were to provide support for the ministers (Matthew 10:8-10). Deuteronomy 25:4, 1 Corinthians 9:4-18, 1 Timothy 5:17-18, and Galatians 6:6 teach the same principle.
    • Rejection and persecution happens (Matthew 10:11-25). Do not be surprised when this happens to you. Try to make sure that rejection does not come because of your personality, habits, or human viewpoint which can cloud the biblical message. Good rejection is rejection because you are closely identified with God and his message.
    • A biblical messenger should be sensible, thoughtful, wise, and good character (Matthew 10:16).
    • A biblical messenger should prepare to speak, and when prepared then depend upon the Holy Spirit to direct him (Matthew 10:19-20).
    • God values believers more than his other creation. He knows all about us. He is interested in us (Matthew 10:29-31).
    • Jesus will honor those who honor him and dishonor those who dishonor him (Matthew 10:32-33).
    • God’s ministry may cause family strife because others do not love God as you do. Jesus does not say to promote this strife. He simply says it may occur (Matthew 10:35-36).
    • To love God more than family members you love family does not mean you love family members less. It means you love God the most. So love your family as much and as deeply as you like and love God more (Matthew 10:34-37).
    • We ought to follow God’s will for our lives just as Jesus followed his father’s will (Matthew 10:38-29).
    • We all convey a message and a person. What we say or how we act represents that person and that message. So, make sure the representation is accurate and people are blessed because of our representation (Matthew 10:40-41).