Matthew 10:5-15 NASB
⁵These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; ⁶but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
⁷And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ ⁸Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
⁹Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, ¹⁰or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.
¹¹And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city.
¹²As you enter the house, give it your greeting. ¹³If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.
¹⁴Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. ¹⁵Truly 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.
Praying can be dangerous.
Jesus had instructed His disciples to pray for laborers in the harvest of God.
Their prayer was quickly answered. They are sent out themselves.
In today’s Bible passage we find the marching orders for the sending out of the students.
The lost sheep of the people of Israel are their target at this time (Matthew 10:5,6; Cf. Matthew 9:35-38). Their mission is to continue the work of Jesus:
▪︎ Declare that the Kingdom of Heaven is near (In Jewish parlance ‘heavens’ is a common description of the name of God. Mark and Luke always speak of the Kingdom of God),
▪︎ Healing the sick even raising the dead (Matthew 10:7,8; Exactly the work that Jesus did. See eg Matthew 9:35).
The travel instructions given to the disciples of Jesus seem a bit strange.
▪︎ They do not need to make any preparations to travel well equipped.
▪︎ No extra clothes, no money to live on.
Just like that, without equipment they are sent out.
▪︎ Their only equipment is the equipping with the Holy Spirit, the power over diseases and demons.
▪︎ Their only concern is completing the assignment. They don’t have to worry about food and shelter. God will take care of that. They are worth living from their labor (Matthew 10:9,10)!
The preaching of the apostles is done with the authority of Jesus.
The message has an effect for good or for bad.
▪︎ Wherever the message is received, peace will come.
▪︎ But if people do not receive the word of the disciples well, then the peace of God cannot reach them (Matthew 10:11-13; For the result of the work of Jesus’ disciples, see Luke 9:6).
Defenceless, vulnerable to enmity and setbacks along the way, Jesus’ disciples must set out.
But they can go without worry. God cares for them.
However, their work is not without danger.
Not every hearer will appreciate their message.
In their defenselessness they have to use their heads well, and watch for the dangers that threaten them.
Clever as serpents, naive as doves (Matthew 10:16): two mutually exclusive dispositions.
But the work of disciples calls for it: to do the impossible.
- What can you learn from the careless preparation of Jesus’ disciples?
- Ask God to bless all missionaries near and far.
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