This chapter contains Matthew’s second major discourse—the calling and the commissioning of the twelve. Having led the disciples to feel interest in the multitudes that are perishing, and encouraging them to pray for laborers, Jesus now commands them to go forth and labor themselves.
The disciples of Jesus are called and commissioned for the ministry.
Note on variant readings: A couple of manuscripts read against rather than over. After disease a couple of manuscripts have among the people.
And after summoning His twelve disciples, Matthew has not mentioned the selection of the twelve which took place before this time (
The first four members of the twelve have already been introduced to us (
He gave them authority over the unclean spirits, All authority had been given to Him (
to drive them out, The demons will be subject to them.
and to heal every sickness and every disease . Everything will be subject to their authority. Scripture makes a distinction between healing and exorcism. All sickness is not a result of demon possession.
Note on a variant reading: Many manuscripts do not have and before Jacob.
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The word apostle has the idea of someone who is sent who shares the same authority of the one who sends, as his representative. This is the only time the word is used in Matthew. Paul makes a distinction between the Twelve and all the apostles (
As there were twelve tribes of Israel so are there twelve apostles. The first century Jewish community that lived next to the Dead Sea and left us the Dead Sea Scrolls also had twelve members in their council (1QS 7.1ff.).
first Simon, Simon is a Greek name, but in the New Testament, it is probably a contraction of Simeon. Interestingly, the reference of Peter being first among the apostles is not found in Mark. Since Mark wrote his gospel from Peter’s perspective it is understandable why this reference would be omitted.
the one called Peter; Peter is first in every list of the apostles (first among equals) and plays a prominent role in Matthew’s gospel. He was a native of Bethsaida (
He and his brother Andrew were fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. They were probably disciples of John the Baptist before coming to know Jesus (
Jesus gave to Simon when he first approached Him the surname Cephas (
and Andrew his brother; He was introduced to us in chapter four and is not referred to again in this gospel. His name is Greek meaning manly. The facts concerning his parentage, residence, occupation and early discipleship are mentioned in connection with Peter. The only other cases in which he appears is
His life, however, has a great lesson for us. He was the one who brought to Jesus his own brother Simon. Thus the usefulness of Simon Peter is, in one sense, due to the brother who told him of Jesus. And so, many a one in every age, little known himself, and of no marked influence otherwise, has been among the great benefactors of mankind by bringing to Jesus some other person who proved widely useful.
and Jacob (James) the son of Zebedee Already introduced to us in
James is originally the same name as Jacob being written in Greek Iacobos , and transliterated into Latin, as Iacobos. In the 1611 King James Version of the Bible which was published in England an extraordinary thing occurred with respect to the New Testament. Whenever the name ‘Jacob‘ occurred it was replaced by the King’s name, ‘James.‘ James is not a Jewish name, it appears nowhere in the Old Testament and there is no mention in the New Testament of the common Jewish name Jacob (other than quotations from the Old Testament). Therefore, we have an example here of the translators making alterations to suit their own purposes.
and John his brother The author of the fourth gospel. James and John, with Peter make up a kind of inner circle of the disciples. They both appear together with Peter in the transfiguration (
Note on a variant reading: Instead of Thaddaeus some manuscripts read Thaddaeus who was called Lebbaeus while others read Lebbaeus who was called Thaddaeus. One manuscript has Judas the Zealot.
Philip This name occurs only here. It is Greek signifying lover of horses. He must be distinguished from Philip the evangelist, of whom, we read in Acts.
and Bartholomew; Perhaps he is Nathaniel of
Thomas Mentioned only here in Matthew. The famous doubter of John’s gospel (see chapter 20). The name Thomas means twin as does the Greek didymos (cf.
and Matthew the tax collector; The author of this gospel is referred to only here and in the narrative about him (
James the son of Alphaeus; He is found only here in Matthew. Son of Alphaeus distinguishes him from the other James, the brother of John.
and Thaddaeus This is his only mention in the gospel. He is probably to be equated with Judas the son of James in Luke and Acts. The name Judas may have been superseded by a new one, Thaddaeus, in order for there to be one Judas among the twelve. Or that after the betrayal he did not want the stigma that would be attached with the name Judas.
Note on a variant reading: Cananean is spelled different ways in the manuscripts. There are textual problems with the name Judas Iscariot. Some manuscripts read Judas from Kerioth. Other manuscripts read Skariotas which has suggested a large number of derivations such as bandit or traitor, assassin or a man with a ruddy complexion.
Simon the Cananean; This word is not derived from Canaan nor Cana but from the Aramaic word qanan meaning zealot or enthusiast The name is thus equivalent to the label zealot given to Simon in the lists of Luke and Acts and may refer to his intense nationalism and hatred of Rome. This is the only mention of him in Matthew.
and Judas Iscariot, Judas is mentioned more often than any of the other disciples in Matthew except for Peter. The name Iscariot is the Greek equivalent of the transliterated Iscarioth which means man from Kerioth. Kerioth is located in southern Judea, twelve miles south of Hebron (
the one who also betrayed Him This verse alludes to Jesus’ suffering and death. Notice the diverse character of the twelve which included fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, and a traitor. The twelve represent the core of the new movement that will reveal the new activity of God.
|1.||Simon Peter||Simon Peter||Simon Peter||Simon Peter|
|9.||James the son of Alphaeus||James the son of Alphaeus||James the son of Alphaeus||James the son of Alphaeus|
|10.||Thaddeus||Thaddeus||Simon (Cananean)||Simon the Cananean|
|11.||Simon the Cananean||Simon the Cananean||Judas the brother of James||Judas the brother of James|
|12.||Judas Iscariot||Judas Iscariot||Judas Iscariot||(Vacant)|
Robert Mounce observes the following concerning the twelve:
It is noteworthy that only Peter, James, and John play any role in the Book of Acts. The disciples were all Jewish by ancestry and probably remained with that branch of Christianity after the church became increasingly Gentile in the second half of the first century. For that reason, our knowledge of their later lives comes primarily from tradition (Mounce, p. 91).
After the twelve are commissioned, they are now given their instructions for their immediate ministry.
Note on a variant reading: Instead of saying one manuscript has and say.
These twelve Jesus sent out commanding them saying, When Jesus sent them out He gave them instructions.
Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, This phrase is probably a Semitism meaning toward the Gentiles. It must have been surprising for Matthew’s first readers, for whom Gentile Christianity was a fact, that Jesus restricted the ministry of the twelve as well as His own.
and do not enter a city of the Samaritans This denotes the inhabitants of a region, (the Samaritans). The Samaritans, who were half-Jew and half-Gentile, were despised as racially intermixed and disloyal to the law. The Gentiles were viewed as outright pagans.
Note on a variant reading: Instead of go one manuscript has go away.
Instead go to the lost sheep—that is the house of Israel The exclusion of the Gentiles and the Samaritans is made clear by this statement. The same phrase lost sheep is used in characterizing Jesus’ ministry (
Matthew makes it clear that this exclusion is only temporary (e.g.
Note on a variant reading: After saying some manuscripts have repent because.
And as you go, preach, The basic message of the mission is now spelled out.
saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ The kingdom has arrived in the presence of the King.
Note on a variant reading: There are five variant readings connected with the phrase raise the dead. Some manuscripts do not have the phrase at all, while other manuscripts place it at various places in the verse.
Heal the sick, All of these commands were intended to be understood literally. These miracles are important as signs that the kingdom has arrived. We note that Matthew has given examples of each of these in the ministry of Jesus Himself (see
raise the dead, See
cleanse the lepers, The first specific miracle that Matthew records is the healing of a leper (
drive out demons; Note
freely you have received, freely give There is to be no charge for the proclamation that accompanies the healings.
Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper into your belts No one should sell the gospel. Belts refer to “money belts.”
Note on variant readings: Many manuscripts have staffs rather than staff. Some manuscripts read reward rather than support.
Neither a bag for your journey, This shows unrestricted commitment. The bag may have been a beggar’s offering bag.
or even two tunics No extra clothes. The tunic was the inner garment.
or sandals An extra pair of sandals is not needed.
or a staff; Used both as an aid to walking and means of defense.
for the laborer is worthy of his support. They are not to profit from the gospel but their basic needs should be met.
Note on a variant reading: Some manuscripts do not have small town.
Into whichever city The distinction is made between the big cities in which they are to go into and the small towns.
or small town you enter, They are to go into both. The good news of the kingdom is to go everywhere in Israel.
search out The disciples are to search out for people in each city.
and inquire who in it is worthy; The worthy ones are the ones who receive the message of the kingdom.
and stay there until you go out. Hospitality should be provided by the “worthy ones.” There is no need to take along anything extra.
Note on a variant reading: Some manuscripts read peace to this house after it.
And when you enter into the house, greet it The greeting consisted of a benediction or blessing upon the house.
And if the house is worthy, The worthy ones receive the message.
let your peace come upon it; Those who receive the gospel receive God’s special peace. This is not an inward feeling of tranquillity or a lack of adversity from a ones enemies, rather it is the breaking down of the barriers between man and God. There will be well-being for that person because the struggle between God and them is now over (see
but if it is not worthy, The unworthy ones reject the message.
let your peace return to you The unworthy ones receive no such blessing. Mounce writes: “In ancient days a pronouncement of this sort was thought to have an objective existence, It could be taken back as well as given. In
Note on variant reading: One manuscript does not have the house or. After city some manuscripts (including Sinaiticus ) have small town.
And whosoever does not welcome you, The ones who reject them and consequently reject Jesus.
or listens to your words, Those who refuse to believe.
as you go outside of that house or that city, Leave them!
shake off the dust from your feet The rejection of the gospel means God has rejected them. Shaking the dust off the feet is a symbolic gesture (see Pilate washing his hands
Note on a variant reading: A few manuscripts (including Sinaiticus ) have the land of Gomorrah.
Truly I say to you, A solemn statement
it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were notorious and they were symbolic for catastrophic judgment (
They will also be mentioned later by Matthew in reference to the unbelief of Capernaum.
than for that city This shows there will be degrees of punishment in the next life (see
Note on a variant reading: One manuscript ( Sinaiticus ) reads serpent.
Behold, I myself am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; The picture of danger could hardly be sharper.
therefore become as wise as the serpents The Greek translation of
and as innocent as the doves This may reflect a current proverb of that day.
Jesus now warns His disciples about potential problems in the future.
But beware of people; They need to be cautious of others.
for they will deliver you over unto the councils, This shows a serious problem between the believers and the existing Jewish authority.
and they will flog you in their synagogues Notice the emphasis on “their” synagogues.
Note on a variant reading: A couple of manuscripts read stand before instead of brought before.
And you will be brought before rulers and kings because of Me, The persecution will be because of Jesus.
as a testimony unto them, and to the Gentiles The scene shifts from a Jewish context to the mentioning of Gentiles.
Note on a variant reading: A few manuscripts do not have the phrase. for it will be given to you in that hour what you should say.
But when they deliver you over, This refers to the time when they will be handed over to the authorities.
do not worry how or what you will say; They are to make their defense but they are instructed not to be anxious when they do so.
for it will be given to you in that hour what you should say. God will give them the right words.
For it will not be your yourself that is speaking, The notion of Spirit-inspired utterance in special circumstances is not uncommon in the New Testament (cf.
but the Spirit of your Father who is speaking through you This unusual expression is unique in the New Testament.
And brother will deliver over brother unto death, Now the persecution becomes even more grim; family members will hand one another over to be put to death.
and a father his child; Parents will turn in their own children.
and children will rise up against parents, Children will also rise up against parents. No family relationship is safe.
and they will cause them to be put to death They will cause their demise.
And you will be hated by all because of My name, There will be widespread hatred of those who follow Jesus.
but the one who endures to the end will be saved. The end refers to the end of a person’s life or the end of the persecution (which is the end of the age).
Note on a variant reading: After the phrase flee to another some manuscripts have the phrase if they persecute you in the other city flee to another one.
When they persecute you in this city, Not if, but when they are persecuted.
flee to another. The disciples are told to flee from city to city.
for truly, I say to you, “You will not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.” This statement is one of the most difficult in all of Matthew. What coming of the Son of Man is He referring to in this context? There are many views as to what Jesus meant.
- The actual Second Coming is held by many commentators. They would have the human Jesus not knowing the time of His coming but assuming it to be soon. There are enormous problems with this view.
Matthew 28:19, for example, precludes this view as being possible as the gospel will go out to the entire world.
- Some outstanding event of the new age: the death, and resurrection of Christ or the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. This view contends that some major event such as the resurrection or Pentecost shifted the emphasis from the Jewish to the Gentile mission.
- The destruction of Jerusalem. This is probably the best view. The destruction of Jerusalem foreshadows the final judgment. It also symbolizes the rejection of the gospel by the Jews. After the destruction of Jerusalem it was the Gentiles, not the Jews that received priority in the purpose of God.
Note on a variant reading: Some manuscripts (including Sinaiticus ) have his teacher.
A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above his master. A general truth. Master is Greek word kurios which is also translated Lord.
It is enough for the disciple to become as his teacher, The thought of these verses is self-evident and may reflect a common saying of that day.
and the slave as his master. The slaves will suffer the same fate as their Master. Here it refers to persecution. If Jesus suffered hostility and rejection so must His disciples.
If they have called the head of the house Beezelbub, First time the term Beezelbub appears in the Gospel. It means “Lord of the house” and thus it stands as a play on words opposite Jesus who is Lord of the household. Mounce writes: “The exact origin of the name Beelzebub is uncertain, although many commentators connect it in some way with Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron (2 Kings 1:2, 6). The Greek oikodespotes (“head of the house”) is a pun on the name Beelzebub” (Mounce p. 96).
how much more his household members! Housemaster and household members reflect the same relationship as teacher and disciple, master and servant.
Jesus encourages His followers to fear God and not man when persecution comes.
Therefore do not fear them; The “them” is not specified. A general reference to the people.
for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed The gospel, up till now veiled in a degree of secrecy, will be made clear and plain through the preaching of the disciples.
and nothing is hidden that will not be known The same truth stated another way.
Note on a variant reading: Instead of preach two manuscripts read it is being preached while one manuscript has it will be preached.
That which I say to you in the darkness, The private words between Jesus and His disciples.
speak in the light, Publicly.
and that which you are hearing in your ear, He again refers to private conversations.
preach upon the rooftops After the resurrection it will be a time of proclamation. Roofs were used on a regular basis for important public announcements.
And do not fear them who kill the body, The worst thing that human persecution can do is kill the body.
but are not able to kill the soul; Human beings can only kill the body, they have no power over the soul.
but rather fear the one That is God who will be the final Judge of all.
who is able to destroy both the body and soul in Gehenna. This speaks of His final judgment.
Two sparrows are sold for a copper coin are they not? Sparrows were very inexpensive, the cheapest living things used for food. A Roman copper coin (an assarion ) was worth about 1/16 of a denarius.
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. This shows the scope of the Father’s knowledge and care.
And even the hairs of your head are all numbered . Your is emphasized in Greek. This is a variation of the common idea that when God protects, not a single hair on a person’s head is allowed to perish (e.g.
Note on a variant reading: After be afraid some manuscripts read of them.
Therefore do not be afraid; The Bible encourages the believer to fear not. This is because we are in the ultimate control of God.
you yourselves are more valuable than many sparrows. Consequently we should not be afraid. The sparrows are worth practically nothing yet they are not outside God’s will and attention. This being the case, God will take care of His own who are more valuable than sparrows.
Jesus again states that there are only two choices—following Him in faith or denying Him.
Therefore, whosoever acknowledges Me before men. This could be in the context of a court trial or water baptism. It is public acknowledgment of Jesus. Those who accept His message follow Him in discipleship (
I also will confess him before My Father who is in Heaven. This results in an acknowledgment of them by God the Father. The use of “My Father” again stresses the unique relationship Jesus had with Him.
Matt. 10:33 But whoever denies Me before people, I also will deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
But whoever denies me before people, This makes the same point in a negative way.
I also will deny him before My Father who is in heaven To reject Jesus it be rejected by Jesus before the Father. There is no middle ground or neutrality. One is either for Jesus or against Him. No mere prophet, teacher or Rabbi is capable of such words—Jesus stands apart from all of them.
The result of Jesus coming into the world will be to divide families.
Do not ever imagine that I can to bring peace upon the earth; The way the statement is given suggests that it would have been their natural inclination of the disciples to assume that Jesus came to bring peace. Was not the gospel a message of peace (cf
The answer is yes in its final realization and even in some sense in the present (
I did not come to bring peace, but a sword The present time will bring hostility even between family members. This hostility is described by Jesus with the metaphor of a sword. The sense in which Jesus came to bring a sword is explained in the following verses.
For I came to set a man against his father, This describes more the effect of the ministry of Jesus than its purpose. Response to His message will cause division.
and a daughter against her mother, Another close family relationship that will be strained because of Jesus.
and daughter‐in‐law against her mother‐in‐law; Family relationships, which were so important in that culture, would be a source of division.
And a man’s enemies will be members of his own household The believers would be rejected by their own family members.
Note on a variant reading: A few manuscripts (including Vaticanus) do not have the phrase and the one who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
The one who loves his father or mother above Me Family relationships are important but they must not be allowed to divert a disciple from loyalty to Jesus.
is not worthy of Me; Those who allow such loyalty to get in the way should not be Jesus’ disciple.
and the one who loves his son or daughter The same idea with loving family members.
more than Me Of course we are to love them, just not above Jesus.
is not worthy of Me. Even the most honored relationships of father and mother must be secondary to discipleship. See the parallel passage in
And whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me Taking up your cross means following Jesus in absolute obedience. He is the model of radical obedience and self‐denial (cf
is not worthy of me Those who do not follow Him are not worthy of Him.
Note on a variant reading: Codex Sinaiticus does not have the phrase The one who finds his life will lose it.
The one who finds his life will lose it, Living life on his own self‐centered terms. This person will not inherit the kingdom.
and the one who loses his life for my sake Loses his life for the sake of the Lord.
will find it. Those who follow Jesus have the promise of reward in the age to come (
Jesus speaks of the receiving His messengers and the rewards given to those who are faithful.
He who receives you receives me, Receive means to receive the message they bring.
and he who receives me receives him who sent me. Those who receive the message of Jesus receive God the Father. Again, you cannot have the Father without having the Son.
Note on a variant reading: A couple of manuscripts do not have the phrase and he who receives a righteous man in the name a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.
He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet The person who receives a prophet as a prophet.
will receive a prophets reward; Stressing hospitality. Those who help the prophet will receive a similar reward. The context is in missionary proclamation of the message of Jesus.
and he who receives a righteous man Here Jesus is stating the same idea in a different way.
in the name a righteous man Name has the idea of accepting his status.
will receive a righteous man’s reward. Same idea stated another way.
And whoever will give to one of these little ones, Little ones are believers.
only a cup of cold water to drink The simplest of deeds.
in the name of a disciple, Because that person is a disciple.
truly I say to you, that he will not lose his reward God will reward their faithfulness.
Chapter 10 has Jesus calling His disciples and then sending them out in the ministry. For the first time, we have the twelve disciples named. They are then sent out to proclaim the kingdom. They are told not to go to either the Gentiles or Samaritans but only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
First, and foremost Jesus was sent as the Messiah to that nation.
The Lord tells them how to act along the way. They are not to profit from the ministry but rather trust God for their needs.
With the commissioning also comes a warning. Persecution will be their lot. The message will not be welcomed by everyone.
Jesus gives them instructions on how to respond to this hostility.
He also says what the reward will be for those who rightfully treat His messengers.
As we read the gospels we find an apparent contradiction with what the disciples were commanded to take with them on their journey. Robert Mounce writes
The simplest way to understand Matthew’s divergence from Mark is to take the “two” (or extra as the NIV has it) with sandals and staff as well as tunic. It would hardly be reasonable to understand Matthew as saying that the Twelve are to travel barefoot and without a staff for protection against snakes and wild animals. They are to travel unencumbered and allow their hearers to take care of their daily needs (Mounce, pp. 92, 93).