Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
Comments for Study 15
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I. Jesus Called the Twelve Disciples (1-4)
>1. How is Jesus' calling his twelve disciples and sending them out related to his prayer in 9:37-38? What did he give them? Why?
Matthew 10:1 "He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness."
* At the end of chapter 9 Jesus prayed to send out workers into his harvest fields. Now he is sending out his disciples. Jesus not only prayed, but he actively made preparations to fulfill what he prayed for.
* "called...to him" -As Jesus would later say to them, "You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." (John 15:16)
* "his twelve" -They were his even before he appointed them Apostles.
* "twelve disciples" - The number twelve as the number of apostles is to reflect the fact that there were twelve tribes of Israel who came out of Egypt. In the book of Revelations this fact is made evident.
* "authority to drive out evil spirits" -Jesus gave them power to drive out evil spirits because they were going to engage in a spiritual battle. The battle we fight is not against flesh and blood but against the authorities and the principalities of this world. They were given God's authority. They were ordinary men made extra ordinary by being given God's authority. Ordinary men with ordinary lives can only do God's work in the spiritual battlefield when they are equipped with God's authority.
* "to heal every disease and sickness" -Jesus gave them the ability to heal every disease and sickness to testify to the people that they are sent out by him.
Every disease refers to spiritual as well as physical diseases.
>2. Tell the names of the Twelve. Why are they also called "Apostles"? What kind of persons were they? Why do you think Jesus didn't call Pharisees or other Jewish religious leaders to be his disciples?
Matthew 10:2-4 "These are the names of the twelve apostles; first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him."
* "Apostles" -means sent out. Jesus was sending out some of his disciples. Before this time they were just learners. Now that they were trained and tried they could and would be sent out.
* The men Jesus chose to be the Apostles were ordinary young men. None of them is recorded to have demons, nor were they considered "holy" men by the world. Most were just fisherman from Galilee. Judas was the only one who was not from Galilee. He was from Judea. His name means "sword". Perhaps, like most of the young Jews of the day Judas was looking for the Messiah to be a political and military figure who would establish an earthly kingdom like David's.
The Apostles had no formal training in the Bible beyond being Jews who went to the synagogue (some perhaps did not go regularly or has stopped going after their teenage years). Each of them had different characters. Yet they were chosen by Jesus.
These twelve men had different degrees of involvement in the church, for that is what Jesus was starting. The different degrees of involvement could be broken down into four groups. First, there was the inner circle; John, Simon, and James. Third there was Andrew, Philip, and Bartholomew. Finally, there was Thomas, Matthew, Simon the Zealot, and Thaddaeus. Finally, there was Judas Iscariot who would betray Jesus and who, in his heart, was never one of the followers of Jesus.
These Twelve were men had a heart to do God's will. They had an open heart and a learning mind. Yet it is surprising that Jesus didn't call Pharisees or other Jewish religious leaders to be his Apostles. Why? Because, as he said in chapter 9, the religious leaders of Jesus' day were old wine skins. They were fixed in their way of thinking. They did not have a learning mind. They were proud and had selfish desires. They wanted to impress people more than God. They did not live before God. nor did they fear of God.
II. The Instructions to the Apostles (5-15)
>3. Why do you think they were to go first to the lost sheep of Israel? (15:24; Acts 13:46; Isaiah 49:1-6) What principle must all Christians learn here? (Acts 1:8)
Matthew 10:5-6 "These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: 'Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.'"
* "the following instructions" - All Christians, with only a few exceptions, must be sent out by elders, deacons, and ministers of Christ. They must respect the authorities that God has set up in place on this earth. If a man can not respect the authority that God has set up on earth, how can he respect God's authority in heaven.
When a person is sent out under the authority that God has placed on this earth he is then to be given instructions. If he is given instructions he is then accountable to God and God's authority on this earth.
* "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans" - Jesus himself ministered to the Gentiles and the Samaritans, but he did not instruct his disciples to do so. Why? In Matthew 15:24 he said, says, "'I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.'"
Later, the church would go and sent out people to the Gentiles and Samaritans, Acts 13:46 says, "Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: 'We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy to eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles." (Acts 13:46)
The church has always practices this principle. We start at one place and then spread out from there. This is not an easy task, but with the Holy Spirit's help this can be done and has been done. Acts 1:8 says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth."
* Isaiah 49:1-6 says, "Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations; Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, 'You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.' But I said, 'I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand, and my reward is with my God. And now the LORD says - he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength - he says: 'It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
>4. Why should the kingdom of God be the main point of their message? How can we focus on Bible study and the good news? How did Jesus reinforce his message of good news?
Matthew 10:7 "As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near'"
* "As you go" -The apostles of Jesus would be on the move on this missionary journey.
* "preach this message" -The disciples were not be only be a witness by example, but they were to use their mouths and tongues to preach the message.
* "The kingdom of heaven is near" -The kingdom of heaven was a recurring theme of Jesus' earthly ministry. Matthew wanted to point this out to the Jews who he expected would be the main hearers of his gospel.
The kingdom of God is where God rules; it is where one's hope is. If a person received God in his heart through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, then he or she is in the kingdom of God. Thus Jesus told them to say that it is "near".
From God's point of view there is only two kingdoms, God's kingdom of heaven and Satan's kingdom.
Matthew 10:8 "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."
* "Heal the sick" -Jesus not only gave their authority when he called them to be his Apostles, he gave them specific instructions.
* "Raise the dead" -Not all Christians have been given this authority, just as not all have been given the authority to heal.
* "cleanse those who have leprosy" -Just as with the previous two Jesus gave his disciples direction to practice practical acts kindness and love. These were however only to serve as to give witness to their authority from God to preach, "The kingdom of heaven is near."
* "drive out demons" -Demons can live in the being of humans. They are spiritual beings. Man is a spiritual being who was meant to have God dwell in his soul. However, when one is not of Christ then he or she has a void in their hearts that demons can fill. These demons have more power than humans. That is why Jesus needed to give his disciples authority over them.
>5. What did he tell them their attitude should be toward material things? Why is this important? What principles can we learn here?
Matthew 10:9-10 "'Do not take along any gold or silver of copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.'"
* "Do not take any gold or silver of copper in your belts" -Spiritually this was meant to have the disciples depend on God to provide for them. Practically, there would be no reason for anyone to rob them. At least they would worry about having the "money". Thus with this short term mission (an evangelical trip) they would learn to trust in God.
If we worry about materials it shows that we have a lack of faith in God providing for us
* "take no bag for the journey" -Luggage always slows down a trip. I just returned from a three day business trip, and often I have taken trips to church meetings. In each I have learned the secret that light luggage means easy traveling.
* "or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff" -Many missionaries would take this word to heart. Thus when they left for their mission field they would take nothing, and God provided for them when they arrived in their mission field.
* "for the worker is worth his keep" -Perhaps this was a saying that people used regarding servants. If so then Jesus was saying that God would provide for his servants as well.
This has also been used to show that a minister should be supported by the flock of his church. Paul would later say in 1 Tim. 5:18, "For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."
Often God provides his workers through his people. If his people have no sense of debt when they receive then they do not understand how the gospel is spread. Of course the pastor must not be a slave of the flock (congregation). He is still accountable to God. Also the one receiving the support must not make the congregation feel that they are owed the support. Paul himself often refused to receive support. Rather he supported himself.
>6. When they enter a town to preach the good news, why is it so important to find one worthy person? (11-13) What must they do if no one in a town welcomes them? Why?
Matthew 10:11-13 "Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.  As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you."
* "some worthy person there" -What God considers worthy, the world may not. For example Jesus often went to the homes of prostitutes and tax collectors. Of course he also went to the homes of the home of the "religious" people of the day. And also for example when Joshua sent out spies into Jerico they stayed in the house of a prostitute. What made such people worthy? They all showed faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
* "and stay at his house until you leave" -There are several reasons that this is good. Living with people in the town would help them identify with the people they were ministering to. And the people who lived there would begin seeing the disciples as one of them.
* Also, the gospel work is often done one by one. One person is converted and then helped along their new life of faith. They are many cases that when missionaries went into their field the only person converted (rather slowly too) is the one escorting them.
* Also, when a missionary stays in one place everyone knows where they are. Thus when one wants to convert they know where the missionary is.
* We should be thankful for whatever and however God provides for us. Sometimes we will need to rely on the kindness of others.
* God will direct our needs when we work to have a good relationship with others.
* The disciples were not to hide and be reclusive. All could see that they were not afraid to make a open stand.
* Cults often are not public. Their members are reclusive. Slowly they remove themselves from society.
* "As you enter the home, give it your greeting" - A missionary of God is to be kind and generous, even though none believe and especially to potential sheep. A missionary is an ambassador of God.
* "If the home is deserving" -If the people accepted them and were not rude to them.
* "let your peace rest on it" -The common Jewish greeting of the day when entering a house was "Peace be with you". Jesus was instructing the disciples that this was a prayer, and since they had been given authority it would be done. Thus "Peace be with you" became "The peace of God is with you.
* "if it is not, let your peace return to you" -The disciples, although they had the power of God, would be rejected by some. They might even perform miracles and still be rejected. If so the disciples would be given the peace of God in their minds and heart. They were to not become down cast, but to be lifted up by God.
>7. What are the consequences of rejecting the servants God sends and the word of God which they speak?
Matthew 10:14-15 "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.  I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town."
* If potential sheep (disciples) reject the gospel and/or the missionary (gospel worker, worker of Jesus), the missionary must not get down hearted. Instead he/she must move on to find another candidate.
* A gospel worker must leave room for God's wrath. He must not take vengeance.
III. Resistance to Persecution (16-31)
>8. Why must servants of God be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves? What persecutions could the apostles expect? How were they to act in the face of persecution? (16-22)
Matthew 10:16 "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
* "I am sending you out" -Jesus is the one who sends out.
* "like sheep among wolves" -Sheep are creatures that can not protect themselves. They are easy pray for any predator. They are stupid and vulnerable.
Wolves are predators that hunt in packs. They gang up on even a large amount of sheep. They work by taking the weak of the sheep (not hard to do) and separating them from the flock. This often causes the flock to scatter everywhere. However, later the sheep often regroup. The wolves then kill and devour the sheep that they had separated from the others.
* "Therefore" -Because of the condition of the world that we are in Jesus is giving us instructions.
* "be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves" - A person who is shrewd is discerning, cunning, and astute. In other words, they are no dummies. Christians are not to be shrewd in evil things for they know the difference between right and wrong. Instead they are shrewd about what to do when evil tries to attack. Thus they know the work and word of God and handle it and themselves correctly. They have the Holy Spirit in them whom tells them if someone is not as they appear.
A person who is innocent is a person who does do wrong. He/she is pure and has a high ethical standard. He/she has and will obeyed God thus God's words. We are not malice, nor should we harm anyone. We do not repay evil for evil. We turn the other cheek when we are slapped. We do not partake in evil.
Good example of this characteristic is Daniel, Paul, and Jesus our Lord.
Matthew 10:17 "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues."
* "Be on your guard against men" -Even though Jesus had used animals to make his point, it is clear that men are the ones we should be on our guard against. To be on guard one must study carefully and observe while not making judgement and condemnations. Instead the observations is to protect oneself against men who have the secret characters of wolves.
* "they will..." -Jesus then tells his disciples what these men will do. Their intent is to discredit the disciples of Jesus. Perhaps this will even lead to physical harm and death.
Matthew 10:18 "On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.
* "On my account" -Jesus disciples, because they are to live innocently, are treated improperly only because of Jesus. If a disciple did wrong and thus is treated improperly, then he has been punished correctly (if by the law of the land). If however, Jesus disciples are punished and mistreated for no reason, then it is because they are disciples of Jesus. The world hated Jesus, and thus the world will hate his disciples. John 7:7 says, "The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil." And John 15:18-19 says, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."
However, doing wrong is not the only reason why Jesus' disciples are brought before governors and kings. Sometimes just because they are Christians and are known for doing good.
* "governors and kings" -Or anyone of great importance and seats of power.
* "as witnesses to them and the Gentiles" -Jesus disciples are to witness to rulers that they are brought to on account of Jesus' name.
* "Gentiles" -Jesus was not only for the Jews. Jesus had the Gentiles in mind too. Later, when the Jews rejected the Messiah and the Gentiles accepted him they remembered these words of Jesus.
Matthew 10:19-20 "But 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,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
* "But when they arrest you" -This verse only applies to when a person is arrested because he/she has been working for Jesus and the gospel.
On this mission journey, we are not told whether or not any of the Apostles were arrested. However, it is most likely that they were not arrested. Why then did Jesus tell them these things? It was because Jesus knew that in the future his disciples would be following these instructions. Even in the 20th century since his ascension Jesus disciples are following and to follow these instructions.
* "do not worry about what to say or how to say it" -If a person has been arrested on account of Jesus and/or the gospel he/she will has a desire on his/her heart to share to the one to judge them about Jesus and the wonderful work he has done for us.
* "At that time you will be given what to..." -God works through his people's speech with the Holy Spirit. The "Spirit of your Father" refers to the Holy Spirit. Since God's knows the heart of all people, when one is before a human judge, it is good that the Holy Spirit speaks through us so that the right thing will be said.
Matthew 10:21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death."
* This verse is for future gospel work, not for the current mission that Jesus was sending out his newly picked Apostles.
* When a person accepts Jesus in his life and heart and repents many, especially those close to him/her, will not accept it. Not only that but they will oppose the work of God in the new believer
Matthew 10:22 "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
* "All men will hate you because of me" -When a person reveals that he/she is a true believe all who are not believers will hate him/her.
* "but he who stands firm" -To stand firms means to hold on to his/her believe in Jesus.
* "to the end" -People who have made a confession of faith at times do not truly believe in their heart.
* "will be saved" -Saved from the punishment of God, hell. "Will be" is in future tense. Thus our salvation is not complete. But will be completed in the future, when Christ comes again.
Matthew 10:23 "When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes."
* "When you are persecuted" -Not "IF" you are persecuted, but "WHEN." Christians who witness to others will be persecuted. When Jesus sent out his Apostles he warned them of persecutions to come in their mission journeys. However, if a Christian does not witness and his/her faith is not distinguishable from non-believers, he/she will not be persecuted. Why? Because one who conforms to the world is accepted by the world. One who does not conform to the pattern of this world is rejected.
* "persecuted" -Persecution comes in many forms. Some is rejections and ignoring the believer, which is social persecution. Some are verbal, whether it be name calling and arguing or communicated in some other way even if just body language. Some is mental persecution, this type is usually when committed by a non-believer who humanly has authority over a believer. Some persecution is finical, whether it be not charging a fair price, or paying an adequate salary, or even robbing someone just because he/she is a Christian. And finally, some persecutions are physical. All these of course is not just because the non-believer is "mean" but because a person loves Jesus and confesses his name to the non-believer.
* "flee to another" -Flee is a word that implies no haste. A Christian who is rejected because of his/her faith in Jesus is not to hang around, even to argue a point. Rather the believer is to flee.
* "I tell you the truth you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes" -Most likely this is referring directly to the Apostles. However, since Jerusalem and all of Israel fell in 70 AD and was thus a desolate land, this statement of Jesus' is true even today. For Israel did not become a nation again until after World War 2.
In fact, dew to the words of the Book of Revelation which state Israel's confession of Jesus as the Messiah, it may be that even until that day comes not all of Israel will be visited by professing, evangelic believers.
>9. How should apostles deal with the fear that arises when one is persecuted or betrayed? (24-28) Of whom should we be afraid? Why does fear of the Lord drive out all other fear? (29-31)
Matthew 10:24-26 "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!  "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."
* Verses 24-25 -Jesus uses illustrations to teach the point that all Christians will be persecuted.
* "So do not be afraid of them" -A Christian is not to be surprised and fearful when persecution comes.
* "nothing concealed that will not be disclosed" -God knows what we are going through and it will not be forgotten.
Matthew 10:27 "What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs."
* "What I tell you in the dark...what is whispered in your ear" -Jesus concealed a lot of his teachings for several reasons. One that is apparent by reading the Bible, and has become even more apparent to me after reading some of "The Dead Sea Scrolls" is the misconception of the Messiah and the militant self righteous idealism of the Jews in Jesus days. This movement and belief would have hindered the true work of the Messiah.
Another reason Jesus spoke in "dark" was that his concentration was on raising disciples who would continue the work he had started. Jesus wanted the disciples to firmly understand all so that they could teach it.
* "Speak in the daylight... proclaim from the roofs" -Jesus made it clear that the disciples were not only to witness with actions but also with speech.
Matthew 10:28-31 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
* "Afraid" - It is not wrong to have fear. What is wrong is to fear the wrong things and not fear the right thing.
IV. Acknowledgement of Jesus' Name (32-42)
>10. What are the results of failing to acknowledge Jesus? What is likely to happen when disciples confess their faith to their friends and family members? What is the cost of making a true confession of love for Jesus?
Matthew 10:32-33 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."
* "Whoever acknowledges me before men" -This acknowledgement in what ever form is a public one, whether it is before a hundred people or one other person. For example it may be that it is asked, "Who are Christians here?" we would need to stand up and say, "I am." Or when we are in a group and someone is continually defiling the Lord's name we would have to say, "He is my Lord." Or it is with an old friend who is not a Christian and confess to him or her, "I have accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord and I would like to tell you how it happened."
* "I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven" -This is at the great judgement seat of Christ.
* "But whoever disowns me before men" -This is saying to crowd of a hundred or only one, I am not a believer in Jesus the Christ.
Matthew 10:34-36 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- '  a man's enemies will be the members of his own household."
* "I did not come to bring peace" -There is a spiritual battle going on. Mankind is affected by this spiritual battle. Not only are they affected by this spiritual battle, but they are also partakers in it. Christians should not be surprise that some people (most) are opposed to them merely because they belong to the Christ.
* "a man's enemies will be the members of his own household" -Jesus told us this because we need to know who is on our side. When one becomes a Christian those who were close to us suddenly make themselves our enemies. This is not said so we are to hate them. Rather it is said so that we are to know where they stand (as one of the enemies) and therefore can devise our strategy accordingly. They too may then join our side. However, I have found with my own family that this takes great time and much prayer.
>11. What kinds of sacrifices does acknowledging Jesus' name require? (37-38) What is the final outcome?
Matthew 10:37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;"
* This verse may be hard to understand by itself. But in the context of the surrounding verses it is easily understood. Jesus did not tell us not to love these, but rather to love him more than them. The first command according to Jesus is, "Love the Lord God with all your heart, should and strength." The second is, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Our family includes our neighbors.
* "is not worthy of me" -This means is not good enough to be called a Christian and thus belong to Christ Jesus.
Matthew 10:38 "and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."
* "anyone" -This included laymen, pastors, missionaries, youth, and children.
* "take his cross and follow me" -In Jesus days a cross was a terrible thing. It was to be avoided at all cost because of the pain, ridicule, association and eventually death. Jesus' cross cost him all these, but it gave his people life. Thus our cross will be the same, costly to us but a benefit to others.
Because Jesus added "follow me" we are to keep him as the example.
Matthew 10:39 "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
* "finds his life will lose it" -To "find his life" refers to finding life in Jesus. To "lose it" refers to no longer living for ourselves, but living for Jesus and his church and the salvation of non-believers.
* "loses his life for my sake will find it" -Here "loses his life for my sake" refers to taking up ones cross and following Jesus because of our love for Jesus. And thus to "find it" means that we will have found they way that man was meant to live.
>12. How is acknowledging Jesus practically related to acknowledging Jesus' peoples and receiving them? Why would Jesus' disciples not esteemed in the eyes of the world and even called "little ones"? Why should respect and love be due to them?
Matthew 10:40-42 "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.  Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.  And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
* "prophet" -We should recognize the one doing the work of God. We may not agree in all areas as they do, but we are to recognize and respect them because they are doing God's work. Even David respected Saul.