Jesus went through every town and village, teaching, preaching, and healing. Seeing the great number of people that needed help, He called His disciples to Him, gave them authority, and commissioned them to spread the gospel of the kingdom. In this second discourse, Jesus gave them warnings and instructions to prepare them for the challenges ahead.
Did You Know...?
- Simon the Canaanite/Zealot (10:4): Either a description of Simon’s religious zeal or a reference to his membership in the party of the Zealots, a Jewish revolutionary group violently opposed to Roman rule over Palestine. [ref]
- Samaritans (10:5): A mixed-blood race resulting from the intermarriage of Israelites left behind when the people of the northern kingdom were exiled and Gentiles brought into the land by the Assyrians (2 Ki 17:24). Bitter hostility existed between Jews and Samaritans in Jesus’ day (see Jn 4:9). [ref]
- “Shake off the dust from your feet” (10:14) This was a symbolic gesture, with a purpose of warning. In effect, the disciples were saying to those refusing a hearing, as Paul said at a later time, “Your blood be upon your own heads” (Acts 18:6). [ref]
- Beelzebub (10:25): Satan, the ruler of demons.
- Setting (9:35-38)
- Commission (10:1-15)
- Calling the twelve (10:1-4)
- Extent and content of ministry (10:5-8)
- Providence and reception (10:9-10)
- Counsel (10:16-11:1)
- Being on guard and trusting in the Spirit (10:16-20)
- Endurance (10:21-23)
- Do not fear (10:24-33)
- Supreme loyalty (10:34-39)
- Receiving the one sent by God (10:40-42)
- Conclusion of discourse and continuation of Jesus’ ministry (11:1)
Record the recurring references to the end time.Hide Answer
10:15, 23, 32, 33, 39, 41, 42
Why do you think these references were made?Hide Answer
God’s judgment and the reward of discipleship are not immediate. But knowing what will happen in due time helps us carry out our mission faithfully and stand firm to the end.
With what encouragements did the Lord give for the command, “do not fear them” (10:26)?Hide Answer
The Holy Spirit will teach them what to say (10:19-20). Suffering for the gospel will be nothing new (10:24,25). Fear God rather than man because they cannot do anything without the Father’s permission (10:28- 31). Christ will acknowledge those who acknowledge Him (10:32,33).
What necessary criteria for an evangelist do you see in this passage?Hide Answer
Compassion (9:36), prudence and innocence (10:16), readiness to suffer, boldness (10:26-31), undivided love for Christ (10:37-39).
What aspects did the ministry of Jesus consist of?Hide Answer
Teaching, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing.
What can we learn from Jesus and His ministry?Hide Answer
Jesus tirelessly preached the gospel and was concerned about the ministry because He had compassion on the people. We need to have a compassionate heart to serve as a driving force behind our ministry.
What does the Lord’s command in 37 have to do with us today?Hide Answer
If the harvest was plentiful in Jesus’ days, how much more so is today’s harvest! Not only so, there is an urgent need of workers in the Lord’s ministry. Note that it was to the disciples, who were sent out by the Lord, that the Lord commanded them to pray for more workers. In other words, we should not simply ask the Lord to send other people to work for Him. We ought to constantly pray to the Lord to send us out by giving us the authority and power of the Holy Spirit (See Isa 6:8).
Why did Jesus tell the disciples not to go among the Gentiles or Samaritans?Hide Answer
The Lord was not teaching exclusion of the Samaritans from God’s kingdom because He Himself said that the gospel was to reach all nations (24:14; 28:16-20). But it was God’s intention that salvation began with the Israelites and eventually encompass the Gentiles (Rom 1:16; Acts 1:8). So the disciple’s primary mission at the beginning was to preach to the Jews.
The Lord instructed the disciples about an important principle that serves as a motivation for our ministry. What is it?Hide Answer
“Freely you have received, freely give” (10:8).
How does this principle apply to us?Hide Answer
We should not expect anything in return for our preaching and works of service, since we have received God’s grace without charge.
Jesus commanded the disciples not to take money, bags, extra tunic, sandals, or a staff along with them on their journey. Why was this command important?Hide Answer
We should not let the accumulation of belongings weigh us down and hamper the ministry (2Tim 2:4). The Lord will provide for His workers through the help of His people (1Cor 9:7-10). The Lord’s command trains God’s workers to lead simple lives and trust God with complete faith (e.g. 1Kgs 17:2-6).
Is the command to shake off the dust from the feet contrary to the command to love our enemies? Explain your answer.Hide Answer
Shaking off the dust from the feet was not a gesture of hatred, but a testimony that the people were not worthy of the gospel. Such action served as a warning and freed the preacher from his responsibility (Acts 13:51; 18:6).
What was the reason for these instructions?Hide Answer
The disciples would surely face persecutions. These instructions would apply in those situations.
List the things Jesus taught about persecutions.Hide Answer
They will surely happen and the disciples will suffer as a result (10:17). Such persecution will also be an opportunity to witness for Christ (10:18- 20). Persecutions will be widespread, and may even come from the family (10:21-22). We must stand firm to the end (10:22).
Explain verse 16.Hide Answer
Since the people the disciples minister to will be as ferocious wolves, the disciples are to be prudent and at the same time innocent. As the Lord teaches in verse 17, we are to be aware of evil doers’ schemes while be free from evil intent or retaliation (e.g. Neh 6:1-14).
What other passage in Matthew are verses 22 and 23 very similar to?Hide Answer
What could the prediction in verse 23 refer to?Hide Answer
It is not clear whether the coming of the Son of Man was referring to the Lord’s return or something more immediate. But if it is referring to the last days, then Jesus’ prediction would apply to disciples of all ages. In connection to the theme of persecution in the passage, “the cities of Israel” may be symbolic of the house of Israel, which has always resisted the gospel. If this interpretation is correct, then it means that the church will not be able to thoroughly convert the Israelites before Christ’s return.
Explain the teaching behind these verses according to the context of the passage: a. Verses 24, 25; b. Verse 27; c. Verses 28-31; d. Verses 32, 33:Hide Answer
a. Verses 24, 25: The disciples will certainly be persecuted in the same way that their master was persecuted. They should not expect anything less.
b. Verse 27: Despite the persecution, the gospel will continue to be spread.The disciples will proclaim what the Lord had taught them to the public.
c. Verses 28-31: We should fear no one except God alone. People can harm our bodies, but not our soul; even then, our bodies will not be harmed unless it is our Father’s will. So we should entrust ourselves to God because He will always watch over and provide for us.
d. Verses 32, 33: We must hold firmly to our confession of Christ as Lord even during severe persecution so that the Lord will also acknowledge and receive us when He comes.
What kind of warfare was the Lord speaking of in 34-36?Hide Answer
In order to uphold their faith, believers of the Lord will be persecuted, even by close relatives (10:21).
What does 37-39 teach about discipleship?Hide Answer
Our love for the Lord must come before our love for all others. That is what discipleship demands and entails (cf. 8:22). Such dedication to Christ requires self-denial, which is what the cross refers to. But the Lord’s disciples, who give up their lives in this age, will inherit eternal life in the coming age (16:24-27; 19:28,29).
Apply the teaching of this passage to us today.Hide Answer
We must receive those who live by and preach the word of God. This reception is more than showing hospitality. It also includes welcoming and obeying the message that they bring (10:14; 1Thess 5:20). We should not despise God’s representatives, even if they seem to be insignificant, because they are sent by God.