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Chapter 10



Empowered to Preach, Teach and Heal

10:1. Jesus called his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness.


The time had now come for Jesus to send out the disciples on their own, so he calls them together and imparts to them power over evil spirits and power to heal every kind of sickness.


10:2-4 Now these are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (called Peter), and Andrew his brother; James son of Zebedee and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


In these verses Matthew lists the names of the twelve disciples (from now on designated apostles) to whom Jesus gave this power. He emphasizes that Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus was given the same power and sent forth with the others. As far as we know Judas did the same miracles as the other disciples.


10:5-6 Jesus sent out these twelve, instructing them as follows: "Do not go to Gentile regions and do not enter any Samaritan town. Go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.


The disciples were not to go anywhere that they choose to; Jesus specifically tells to go only to the Jews, the lost sheep of God. They were not to enter Samaria or any Gentile regions.


10:7 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near!'


He gives them the message which they are to preach: the good news that the kingdom of heaven is near and that the way of salvation is coming. The message is the same today for every believer to proclaim: that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world.


10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.


As they gave the message, signs and wonders would follow. They were to heal the sick, raise the dead to life, heal lepers and drive out demons. As the disciples had received this power freely from the Lord Jesus Christ so they were to freely give it to others. The Contemporary English Version says, "You received without paying, now give without being paid".


10:9-10 Do not take gold, silver, or copper in your belts,  no bag for the journey, or an extra tunic, or sandals or staff, for the worker deserves his provisions.


Jesus did not tell them to go and pack their suitcases and make certain they had enough money to provide for food and lodgings. Rather, they were to go straight away with only the clothes they were wearing. He does add however that workers deserve their food (1 Cor. 9:7-11).


10:11 Whenever you enter a town or village, find out who is worthy there and stay with them until you leave.


When they entered a town they were to seek out someone who was worthy enough to have them as their guests and stay with them until they were ready to move on.


10:12 As you enter the house, give it greetings.


As they entered a home they were to give their blessing upon it: "peace to this house" (Luke 10:5 NKJVTM).


10:13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.


If that house was indeed worthy, accepting the apostles and their message, then the blessing would remain upon it. If it did not turn out to be worthy then the disciples were to take back the blessing of peace.


10:14 And if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your message, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or that town.


If anyone would not receive them or their message they were to leave that home or town and shake the dust off their feet. To the Jews the dust of heathen countries was unclean. Paul and Barnabas did this to the town of Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:51).


10:15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town!


Jesus declares that in the Day of Judgment it will be more endurable for the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that for the town, which although it had been given the opportunity to hear the word of God, refused to receive it.


Not Peace but Conflict

10:34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.

Jesus warned his disciples that he had not come into the world to bring an end to war and contention either between individuals or nations. The "peace on earth" proclaimed by the angel at the birth of Christ referred to the reconciliation to God which Jesus’ death would make possible (Col. 1:21-22). There will be those who will continually oppose the teaching and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore there will be no peace but only conflict whenever the word of God (which is the sword of the Spirit) is proclaimed (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12).


10:35-36 For 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, and a man's enemies will be the members of his household.

The gospel message will bring division among families; a son will turn against his father, a daughter against her mother, and vice-versa. The enemies of believers will come from within their own families.


10:37 "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.

If a Christian has a greater love for his or her parents or children, and put these relations before Christ, then they do not deserve to have him (Mark 3:32-34; Mark 10:28-30).  


10:38 And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  

Whoever does not deny himself (die to self-will) and embrace the will of God whatever it may cost does not deserve to belong to Christ.


10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.

Whoever holds on to his own life will lose out but whoever lets go of his own life, by completely surrendering it to Jesus will have abundant life (John 10:10; Gal. 2:20).



10:40 "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

If anyone welcomes a follower of Jesus Christ it is the same as welcoming Jesus himself and whoever welcomes Jesus welcomes God the Father who sent him.


10:41 Whoever receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. Whoever receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward.

The person who receives a prophet of the Lord as such will receive the same reward as a prophet. Anyone who receives a righteous person because of their righteousness will have the same reward as a righteous person.


10:42 And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward."

Whoever gives a cup of cold water to the least of the disciples of Jesus Christ because he is a disciple is promised that he in turn will never lose his own reward.


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This Bible study is taken from Faithbuilders: The Gospel of Matthew


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