Scripture reading – Matthew 10

Matthew 10 marks a fundamental shift in Christ’s public ministry. Though accompanied by His disciples and followed by great crowds, Jesus had been a solitary figure up to this point. Multitudes were coming to Him and He needed fellow laborers to assist in teaching and preaching the “Good News” (9:36-38).

Moved with love and compassion, Jesus had declared to His disciples, “the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (9:37). Following that declaration, Jesus challenged His disciples with three calls to actions: Pray (9:38), Go (10:1-6), and Preach (10:7, 27).

The Twelve whom He had called to be His disciples (lit. students, pupils, learners), were then commissioned to be His apostles (lit. one sent out). We read, in Mark 3 that Jesus, “ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Mark 3:13-15). Among the Twelve who were named (10:2-4) was one whom Matthew identified as “Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him” (10:4). The future of the Gospel ministry and the Church would rest upon the Twelve, less the traitor Judas Iscariot.

The Twelve were directed to “Go” (10:5-7), being told where not to go, “Go not into the way [road; path] of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not” (10:5), and where to go: “Go rather to the lost [dying; bound for destruction] sheep of the house of Israel [Jews; descendants of Jacob]” (10:6).

The Twelve were commanded: “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (10:7). Miracles served as a sign of God’s anointing (10:8). Their manner among the people was to be gracious,“freely ye have received, freely give” (10:8); dependent, “9Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses…for the workman is worthy of his meat” (10:9-10) and discerning (10:12-15). If a household was receptive of the Gospel and their ministry, they were to bless it with their peace (10:13a); however, should a household reject them and the Truth, they were to deem it “not worthy” (10:13b-14), withdraw themselves and “shake off the dust” from their feet (10:14b).

Bearing in mind the principle, “unto whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48), the Twelve were told the judgment of God would fall heavier upon those who heard the Gospel and rejected it, than when the wrath of God fell upon “the land of Sodom and Gomorrah” (10:15).

A sobering warning: The weight and degree of God’s judgment will be greater on those who have heard the Truth and rejected it, than it will be upon those who have little to no knowledge of God’s Word.

Hebrews 10:26a, 29a, 30a26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins…29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God…30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord..”

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith