MATTHEW 10

We hope you find these notes helpful. Do feel free to download the material on this website for your own personal use, and also to distribute if you so wish. Under “SELF-PRINT BOOKLETS” you will find help on printing the posts in booklet form.  Please be aware that all the writing is copyright, so no alterations should be made.

Please feel free to comment on any aspect of what you find on this website using the contact form at the end of each article. We would be pleased to hear from you.

Survey of the chapter

At the end of chapter 9, the King is moved with compassion on the people because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, 9:36. God’s ideal king is a shepherd-king, prefigured by David, who was called from the sheep-folds to be Israel’s king, Psalm 78:70. Great David’s greater Son has shown Himself in the previous chapters to be God’s Ideal King, and now the time is come for Him to be announced as such by His followers.

The way they will do this is to labour in the harvest field that He, by His ministry, has brought ready to be reaped. He said to them in Samaria, “other men have laboured, and ye are entered into their labours”, John 4:38. He and John the Baptist had tirelessly preached the kingdom of heaven, and now was the time to gather in the harvest. In chapter 9 the King had exhorted His followers to pray to Him as the Lord of the harvest, to send forth labourers to do the reaping. No doubt the twelve disciples named in 10:2-4 had done this, little realising that they were to be specially selected to begin the reaping of the harvest. They must do so, however, under the instructions of the Lord of the harvest, and those instructions are found in the chapter before us.

We should notice at the outset the words of verse 23, where the King says to His men, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come”. This shows that the commands of this chapter have another application, even to those who shall preach the gospel of the kingdom during the Tribulation Period. These words will be specially applicable to them, for they will be working until the Son of man comes. So in chapter 10 the apostles represent the Tribulation preachers, in chapter 24 they, (or at least, four of them), represent the Jewish remnant during the tribulation, (for they are told to flee to the mountains when certain things happen), and in the upper room they represent the church.

Structure of the chapter

(a) Verses 1-4 The call of the apostles
(b) Verses 5-15 The commands to the apostles
(c) Verses 16-20 The conduct of the apostles
(d) Verses 21-25 The continuance of the apostles
(e) Verses 26-31 The confidence of the apostles
(f) Verses 32-39 The confession of the apostles
(g) Verses 40-42 The commendation of the apostles

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW CHAPTER 10, VERSES 1 TO 20:

10:1 And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

10:12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.

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

10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

(a) Verses 1-4 The call of the apostles

10:1 And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples- they had been called to faith in Him, as when He called Andrew and his companion, and then Simon and Philip, John 1:35-44. Then He called them to learn how to be fishers of men, that is, evangelists, Matthew 4:18-22. Now we have their third call, to be apostles, and bear testimony of those things they had seen and heard.
The are also called to sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, Luke 22:30, in the time of the manifest kingdom. Their names shall be on the foundations of the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem, Revelation 21:14, so their work will be constantly remembered. They are there called the apostles of the Lamb, for their original call was in response to John the Baptist’s word, “Behold the Lamb of God”, John 1:36,37.
He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out- this is a clear sign that kingdom-power is present in the world, even though the kingdom is not yet manifest. They are not given power potentially,(“power against evil spirits”), but power actually, (“power against evil spirits to cast them out”), for they are to actively do what they have been given power to do. Satan is being given notice that the “stronger than he” is present, Luke 11:20-22, and his power will soon be utterly broken at Calvary. Meanwhile works of the devil are being destroyed, 1 John 3:8. And it is not just the Son of God who is casting out devils, thus showing that the kingdom of God was come upon them, but His apostles are able to do this also, with the authority He gives them.
And to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease- perhaps the difference between these two is that sickness is the outward manifestation, whereas disease is the general condition. It is definitely true however that both these are symptoms of the fact that the whole of creation is in the bondage of corruption, and the perfect creation fresh from the hand of God has been spoiled. That these diseases and sicknesses could be dealt with illustrates the condition of things when Christ reigns, and the whole creation is delivered, Romans 8:21,22. The writer to the Hebrews described these miracles as “the powers of the world to come”, Hebrews 6:5, and were the way the Holy Spirit bore witness to the salvation which the Lord and His apostles preached, and confirmed the truth of the preaching, Hebrews 2:3,4.
Notice it is “all manner” of sickness and disease, so it was not limited to the ones that are recorded, but any and every manifestation of illness was dealt with. The ones that are recorded demonstrate spiritual principles, such as that man is spiritually blind, and deaf, and diseased, and only Christ can deal with what those illnesses illustrate. The diseases and illnesses recorded are also obvious, so they give powerful and manifest proof that a cure was indeed effected. These diseases was also healed, so the people did not simply feel a little better afterwards, but were completely and immediately cured.
Mark’s account makes clear that they “anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them”, Mark 6:13. It was not the oil that healed them, but it did serve to distinguish their miracle-working from that of the Lord’s.

10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these- it is important to recognise the authority of these men, so they are deliberately named. In the gospel records, some people are named, (Nicodemus for instance), and some are not, (like the Samaritan woman of John 4). This may be because the named persons were older when the particular incident that involved them happened, and by the time it is recorded they have died, and thus are safe from persecution. Others might still be alive, and they are kept nameless to protect them. The apostles, however, must be named, even if they were still alive when the gospel was written.
The church is to be built on the apostles and prophets in the sense that they will lay the doctrinal foundation, Ephesians 2:20, with Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone of that foundation, for doctrines as to His person hold everything together in alignment and stability. The first believers of this age “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers”, Acts 2:42. It must be known who these apostles are if their doctrine is to be followed.
Here, however, the apostles are like the princes of the tribes of Israel, as detailed in Numbers 1, who were appointed to stand with Moses when the people were numbered, Numbers 1:5. So the apostles would later on be given the ability to say whose sins were forgiven and whose were not, thus marking out those who were numbered amongst the true people of God, John 20:23.
n Mark’s account of the appointment of the twelve, there is a reminder that the Lord gave additional names to certain of them. So Simon He surnamed Peter, a stone. James and John He surnamed Boanerges, meaning “sons of thunder”, Mark 3:16,17. They seemed to have had a rather stormy nature, as is seen when they wished to call down fire from heaven on the unwelcoming Samaritans, Luke 9:54-56. They had to learn that the Son of man had come to save not destroy. So the Lord chose these men, despite knowing their character defects, because being with Him would present them with the perfect example, and they would “learn Christ”, Ephesians 4:20.
The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother- Peter is always named first in the lists of the apostles, for he was appointed to take the lead. Sometimes, alas, he took the lead in a wrong way, and had to be rebuked. This only served to highlight the fact that whatever office may be given to a believer, it must be exercised in complete dependence upon the Lord. To rely on the energy of the flesh is disastrous.
The first time Peter is mentioned is when he was given another name by the Lord, who changed his name to one which meant “a stone”, John 1:42, thus making clear from the outset that, although he would confess Christ to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, it was that truth that was to be the the rock-foundation of the church, and not Peter himself, who was simply a stone on the rock, sharing the nature of that rock. He himself wrote that believers are “partakers of the Divine nature”, 2 Peter 1:4. The fact that Christ changed his name showed that He had authority over him, just as the Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham, Genesis 17:5.
The first two pairs of apostles listed were brothers, which shows that prominence in the things of God can sometimes be given to those who are related naturally to one another. The Lord could discern that the brothers mentioned are true to Him, and have not simply believed because his brother had. Whilst Peter and Andrew are brothers, it is Peter and John who do things together as a pair. The Lord sent them to prepare the passover, Luke 22:8; they went up together into the temple, Acts 3:1; they were brought together before the Sanhedrin, Acts 4:13, and they were sent by the other apostles to Samaria, Acts 8:14,15.
John records that it was Andrew who brought his brother Peter to the Lord, John 1:40,41, so the one who will be more prominent owes a great debt to the lesser known person. Who knows what may result from things we do for Lord? We may think them to be small, but they could result in something very far-reaching.
James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother- these two brothers were business partners not only with one another and their father, Mark 1:19,20, but also with Peter and Andrew, Luke 5:10, Matthew 4:18. They had been called to evangelism when they were mending their nets, showing that they were successful fishermen, for their haul of fish had broken the nets. They did not follow the Lord because business was bad and they needed a change of career, but they followed Him despite their success. They were intent on laying up treasure in heaven. We should not take this as a precedent that everyday work should be abandoned. These were to be apostles, and were in a unique situation. Just as God gave Jacob twelve sons so that the nation could be built up quickly, so the Lord called twelve men to follow Him so that the work in hand could be accomplished speedily at the outset. The apostle Paul wrote, when he was dealing with these matters, “Or I only and Barnabas, have we not power to forbear working?” 1 Corinthians 9:6. So only Paul and Barnabas had permission to not engage in earthly callings, but concentrate on preaching. Despite this, Paul did not use this authority, but laboured with his own hands to supply his needs and those with him, Acts 20:34. The service of God is not a career opportunity, and believers should be dispersed amongst the people, earning a living, so they may witness in everyday circumstances and situations, and not be cut off from real life. This would release the not inconsiderable funds that are needed to finance professional preachers, so that it could be used for the doing of good and the remembering of the poor.

10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican- these men are named in pairs, suggesting that they are listed as those who were sent out two by two to preach, assuming they went forth in the same manner as the seventy did later on, Luke 10:1, who were sent out “two by two”.
Matthew’s list is the only one that describes him as a publican, for he must ever have been grateful to the Lord for rescuing from the service of an earthly emperor, to the much higher service of the King of kings. There is a contrast between Matthew and Simon the Canaanite, as we shall see in the next verse.
James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus- this latter man must have been the other Judas, who asked a question in the upper room, John 14:22. John is careful to distinguish him from Judas the betrayer, not least because he prefaced his question with the word “Lord”, and Judas Iscariot never addressed Jesus as Lord.

10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Simon the Canaanite- this does not mean he lived in Canaan, but rather that he had been a member of a nationalist party that sought the overthrow of the Romans, and the release of Israel from bondage to them. So the Lord called Matthew away from serving Rome, and Simon away from subverting Rome. His was not a political agenda, as He explained to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world”, John 18:36. This does not mean He will not have a kingdom on earth, (for He will), but that the authority and origin of that kingdom is heaven not earth. Believers should not be involved in the politics of this world, but rather concentrate on furthering Christ’s interests in spiritual activity. Messiah’s kingdom will not be brought in by the efforts of men, however sincere.
And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him- it is said that Judas was of Kerioth. If so, then he may have been the only man from Judea amongst the apostles, the others coming from Galilee. He may possibly have been very enthusiastic about the coming kingdom, (did his father name him Judas after the head of the kingly tribe?) and if so the pairing of him with Simon the Canaanite who had given up a political outlook may have been designed to curb his nationalistic tendencies. When Christ made no attempt to assert Himself as Israel’s king, Judas may have become disillusioned. His other failing was that he was a thief, John 12:6, so he turned to stealing what was in the apostolic bag of funds perhaps out of spite for what he thought was Christ letting him down.

(b) Verses 5-15 The commands to the apostles

10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

These twelve Jesus sent forth- they are not only apostles in name, but also in practice, for “sent forth” is the verbal form of “apostle”. Beware of those in Christendom who have high-sounding titles, yet have not been sent by the Lord. As the apostle Paul wrote, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”
And commanded them, saying- as apostles they will be foremost in the guidance of the people of God, yet they are men under authority, for the King has commanded them, and they are responsible to Him alone.
Go not into the way of the Gentiles- in the Old Testament, the way of blessing for the Gentiles was through Israel, for God’s promise to Abraham was that “in thy seed shall all nations be blessed”, Genesis 22:18. The same is true at this point in time, for Messiah shall reign over the house of Jacob, and from this centre all other nations shall be blessed. The time had not yet come for the gospel of the kingdom to be preached to the Gentiles: that will be in the Tribulation Period, for the Lord said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”, Matthew 24:14. That the Lord was not indifferent to the Gentiles is seen in the fact that He moved from living in Nazareth to Capernaum, and Matthew has told us that those places were in Galilee of the Gentiles, Matthew 4:13-15.
And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not- it was not that the Lord shared the general hatred of the Samaritans by the Jews, (and vice versa), for He did not, as is seen by the fact that He deliberately went through Samaria at one point, (“He must needs go through Samaria”), and the fact that He engaged in conversation with the woman of Samaria, much to her amazement. Then He preached to the men of the city as they came out to Him, John 4:1-10; 39-42. In fact, they gave Him the title of Saviour of the world, indicating that they realised they were not of Israel. John uses that title in his first epistle, showing he had learnt the lesson from his mistake in suggesting that fire should come down on the Samaritans, Luke 9:51-56.

10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel- these are the ones He referred to in 9:36 as those who “fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd”. He had come amongst them to gather them to Himself, and now He is sending under-shepherds into their midst, so that the work may be hastened. After His resurrection He would again command them, and this time bid them go, not just to Judea, but Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. That would be because at that point, (and the work is ongoing), God would be taking out of the Gentiles a people for His name, Acts 15:14. It is important to distinguish the varied dealings of God, so that we might be intelligent as to His purpose.

10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand- this is the same message as John the Baptist and Himself preached, the fact that, if they would have the King, then the kingdom of heaven was about to be set up on earth. This was a genuine offer of the kingdom, which they were responsible for accepting or rejecting.

10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils- the healing of the sick would indicate that the King had the power to deliver from the bondage of corruption. The cleansing of the lepers would show that God was at work amongst the nation. The raising of the dead would herald the day when the nation would be raised from its figurative grave, as the apostle Paul wrote, “what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” Romans 11:15. See also Isaiah 26:19, “Thy dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead”. The casting out of devils would show that superior power to the forces of evil was at work, even by the Kings humble followers. All these things are the “powers of the world to come”, and in themselves herald the king.

10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses- there are seven things that they must not take with them, and the first three have to do with money. The reason for this is found in verse 10. They will not need gold or silver because they will not need to buy luxuries, their preaching task is too urgent. But they will not even need “loose change” either, the brass, for the King undertakes to see to it that they are provided for as they have need. They will need purses, for their converts will supply their needs, as the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”, 1 Corinthians 9:11,14. It is the duty of converts to see that the evangelist who led them to the Lord is provided for.

10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves- they are not to take a scrip, meaning a bag or satchel, for they will only be needing the clothes they are wearing. Because they do not take two coats or two pairs of shoes, they will not need a bag to pack them in. Mark’s parallel account makes clear that “neither shoes, nor yet staves”, means “not two pairs of shoes or two staves”, for they will indeed wear sandals and take a stave to help them on their travels, for they will often be weary, Mark 6:8,9.
For the workman is worthy of his meat- the King will see to it that there are believers they come across who will provide them with their necessary food. They will not need to work in the ordinary sense, but they will still work, and be recompensed for it. Those who benefit from their preaching work should expect to give them the food they need, and not expect others to do so.

10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy- by “worthy” is meant those who are the blessed ones of chapter 5, who are worthy subjects of the King. He Himself had already visited many of the places they would go to, and His converts would be there to supply their need.
And there abide till ye go thence- they are not on a pleasure trip, but are to be content with the first place where they find a worthy one, and stay there until the time has come to move on.

10:12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.

And when ye come into an house, salute it- by house is meant the people in the house. By saluting it, the preachers recognise the occupants as subjects of the King, and honour them accordingly with a warm embrace as being of kindred spirit.

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

And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it- as those sent by the King, they had the authority to bless worthy subjects in His name, and their “shalom” of greeting, (which means “peace”), would have real meaning.
But if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you- in the event of them making a mistake as to the worthiness of the house, they were not, indeed, to curse it, but simply withdraw the blessing. In this way the attitude of the house-hold might change as they reflect upon what had happened. The apostles are to be very discerning, and not have fellowship with those persons who are potentially a shame to the name of the King.

10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet- this is a symbolic action, forcibly informing the house or city that the dust of their houses or their streets is no better than the dust of a Gentile place, not fit to be included in Immanuel’s land. It also made clear that to carry that dust to any city or house would defile it. Such is the effect of unbelief.

10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city- to reject the King and His kingdom is to be worse than the men of the cities of the plain, who were dramatically judged of God to make them an example. Note that the King knows what judgement will be meted out to the men of Sodom at the Great White Throne, for He shall be the one sitting on the throne.

(c) Verses 16-20 The conduct of the apostles

10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves- they are to be under no illusions. Just because they were preaching to Israelites of the seed of Abraham did not guarantee them a ready reception. They must expect a hostile reception from many as the claims of the King are set forth. The natural heart is not subject to the will of God, and hence many are likely to make clear their unwillingness to submit to the demands of the Divine King.
BAe ye therefore wise as serpents- in normal circumstances a serpent will quickly move away from danger, and these are to be the same. They are not to put God to the test to see if He will rescue them. They will have learnt that lesson from the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, for He refused to tempt God by deliberately putting Himself in danger, Matthew 4:5-7.
And harmless as doves- they are not to be provocative, but present the truth will calmness and confidence, which characteristics will be in evidence as they act by the power of the Spirit.

10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

But beware of men- they should not be naïve, and think that because they were sent only to Jews, then they would have a ready reception. They must remember that Jews, with all their privileges and advantages, are but men; their religion does not make them anything else, unless it has pointed them to the truth and they have believed it. It is often the case that religious men are the worst persecutors.
For they will deliver you up to the councils- they must expect to be betrayed, reported to the authorities, and then brought before the Sanhedrin for trial. This happened to Peter and John, Acts 4:1-7, and Stephen, Acts 6:9-12.
And they will scourge you in their synagogues- the very places where they might expect a ready response to the news that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, is where they may anticipate mob rule to prevail, and religious men will take the law into their own hands, and not go through right procedure.

10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake- not content with bringing them before Jewish courts, some will go further and take them to the courts of the Gentiles. This happened to Paul, for the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed Festus the governor against Paul, and he was brought before Festus’ judgement seat, Acts 25:2,6. When Paul appealed to Caesar, he was taken to Rome and appeared before Nero the emperor, 2 Timothy 4:16.
For a testimony against them and the Gentiles- note it is testimony against them, (the Jews), and the Gentiles. The way the law-authorities would treat them, and react to the message they brought, would be a condemnation of them. It would also warn them that the kingdom of Christ was a reality, and the removal of Gentile rule was inevitable. When Christ’s kingdom is set up, all forms of Gentile government shall be destroyed, Daniel 2:44,45. The testimony of the preachers would advance Christ’s cause, and thus be for His sake; they would not advance themselves.

10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak- they will not know beforehand how the trial will go. It seems they will have to speak for themselves, as Paul did before King Agrippa, Acts 26:1. The “how” of the approach to adopt, and the “what” of the words to use, are not to preoccupy them. Some at least of these twelve apostles are fishermen; they are not familiar with the procedures of the law-court. But that is not to cause them anxiety, for they will be specially helped at the time.
For it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak- since they are not lawyers, their best policy is to rely totally on the King who sent them. He will not let them down, but instil into their minds what is most appropriate at the time as the trial proceeds. The reason they may safely do this is given in the next verse.

10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you- one of the titles of the Holy Spirit is Comforter, John 16:8, and He convicts the world, verse 9, and the word convict is a law-court term. The word for Comforter is also used of the Lord Jesus as our advocate with the Father, 1 John 2:1, and this is another law-word. So we see why the apostles need not be anxious about what to say, for the heavenly lawyers are on their side, both the Spirit and the Lord Jesus. Furthermore, the Spirit is the advocate that their Father has provided for them in His care and concern. They need not fear, for He will instil into their minds the right words.

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW CHAPTER 10, VERSES 21 TO 42:

10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

10:27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.

10:33 But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.

10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.

10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.

10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent Me.

10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

(d) Verses 21-25 The continuance of the apostles

10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child- feelings will run high when the matter of Christ’s kingdom is raised. Some will resist the truth, not willing to submit to the rule of the King. Such will be their strong feelings that unbelieving brothers will betray believing brothers, and an unbelieving father will betray his believing child. And they will do this even though they know the result will be their death.
And the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death- whole families will be at war, and even the young will have such strong feelings against their believing parents that they will not stop at getting them condemned and killed. Jewish society is built upon the family, but normal behaviour will be abandoned in this context. Such is the result when men do not submit to the rule of the King.

10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake- they will be especially singled out for general hatred since they will be thought of as the cause of the strife. The truth always divides, and those who bring that truth must expect to be hated, for the One of whom the truth speaks was hated.
But he that endureth to the end shall be saved- this promise is also found in Matthew 24:13 in the same context of being betrayed and hated. It cannot mean that salvation of the soul depends upon a person enduring, for that would be salvation by works, which is contrary to the gospel. We should remember that the context of the preaching these apostles will engage in, and that which their counterparts will carry out during the Tribulation Period, will be in view of entry into the manifest kingdom of the Messiah. So in that setting salvation is participation in the kingdom. Confirmation of this is seen in the following scriptures:

1. When the Lord Jesus formally presented Himself to Israel at His entry into Jerusalem at Passover time, there was a fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah which said, “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation”, Zechariah 9:9.
2. When that scripture was fulfilled, the people shouted, “Hosanna”, which is a word which means “save now”, Matthew 21:9.
3. Having described the way in which the Son of God will take the throne of His kingdom and rule in righteousness, the writer speaks of the angels as being sent “to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation”, Hebrews 1:14.
4. In the next chapter reference is made to the word that was spoken by the Lord in His earthly ministry, and this is said to be a message about “great salvation”, Hebrews 2:3.
In His discourse on the Mount of Olives, the Lord spoke of being afflicted; of being killed; being hated; being offended; being betrayed; of the love of many waxing cold, Matthew 24:9-12. Then He said, “But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved”, verse 13. What is endured, therefore, is the opposition and hostility of unbelievers because of a stand taken for the truth. So we see that enduring and then being saved is the equivalent of suffering and then entering into glory. As far as the present age is concerned the word is “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him”, 2 Timothy 2:12, and this enduring and then being saved is a similar thought. Those who endure the afflictions of that time will thereby show themselves to be true believers, and will be suitable to go into the kingdom of the Messiah, saved from their foes and their trials.

10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another- we have noted that serpents try to escape from danger, and they are to be wise like that, verse 16. They have not unlimited time to announce the kingdom, so they are not to waste time on those who clearly show they are not interested by persecuting them. This is not cowardice, but realism, and the wise use of time.
For verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come- this statement shows that the commands of this chapter go beyond the twelve apostles, and extend to those who shall preach during the Tribulation Period as they warn men that the King is coming. The coming of the Son of man always refers to His coming to earth, either at His incarnation, or at His future appearing in glory. It is never used of His coming for the church, for the title “Son of man” links Him with earth and His future universal rule over the earth, whereas the church is a heavenly company.
So they are not to stay in a city where they are persecuted, for the task of evangelising all the cities will not be completed. This is not to say that the gospel of the kingdom will only be preached in Israel, for the Lord said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”, Matthew 24:14.

10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

The disciple is not above his master- that is, the learner is not above his teacher, so they must not question what He is saying to them, nor must they expect any other response to what they teach men than what the Lord received when He taught men.
Nor the servant above his lord- He is commanding them, and they, as servants, (even though apostles), are bound to obey; they must not seek to over-ride His commands when faced with difficult circumstances.

10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord- they must be content to receive the same treatment as He did when He preached. There is no reason why they should expect an easier time than He had.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? If the superior position of Christ, as master of the household of faith, did not prevent men ascribing His works to the power of Beelzebub, or Satan, Matthew 9:34; 12:24, then they will certainly not hesitate to say the same about them, who are just members of the household. They must not give up because such charges are made against them, but be fortified by the fact that He was accused likewise, yet pressed on in the doing of His Father’s will. He did not cease teaching the common people, even though the authorities were guilty of sin against the Holy Spirit, Matthew 12:31,32. So these apostles, and those like them during the Tribulation, shall be confronted with like blasphemy, but must persevere.

(e) Verses 26-31 The confidence of the apostles

10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

Fear them not therefore- whatever the enemies of the truth may say and do, they have no reason to fear, for he who is “master of the house” will ensure that the charges are rebutted in the courts of heaven. The “accuser of the brethren…which accused them before God day and night”, Revelation 12:10, is always unsuccessful, for believers have an “advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”, 1 John 2:1.
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known- all the plots and schemes of men will be exposed in due time, and those who have accused the servants of the King will be shown to be guilty, whilst those who have been faithful to the truth will be vindicated.

10:27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light- far from covering over their agenda, like the men who oppose the truth, the servants of the King are to be open about what they believe and teach. There is nothing sinister about the Lord telling them things in the darkness, for that simply means they are instructed “in the night seasons”, Psalm 16:7, so they may present the truth the next day.
And what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops- what has been communicated to them in private is to be fearlessly announced in public. As the Lord said to the High Priest when asked about His doctrine, “I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing”, John 18:20.

10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul- obeying the instructions of the previous verse will have its repercussions, even sometimes to the extent that the preachers will suffer martyrdom. The real person cannot be touched by man, and the soul, with all that it has animated the preacher to do, lives on.
But rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell- this reminds us that both body and soul will be reunited in resurrection. There is such a thing as the resurrection of damnation, John 5:29, and the soul and the body of the unbeliever will be brought together again. The reason this is called the resurrection of damnation is because immediately this happens the sinner will be brought before the great white throne of God’s judgement to hear his doom. He will stand before that throne in the body with which he sinned against God, and then that body shall go into the lake of fire. As the Lord Jesus put it, “For every one shall be salted with fire”, Mark 9:49. Just as salt preserves food, so the very fire of the lake of fire will preserve for more fire, and so on through the whole of eternity. All this being the case, the sinner would do well to consider carefully the consequence of persecuting believers, for the God who takes care of them shall recompense them.
Notice that man can only kill the body, whereas God is able to destroy it, so that it is under His judgement for all eternity, with no relief or end. “Destroy” does not mean loss of being, but loss of any sense of well-being.

10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? The sparrow was so common that there was an abundant supply of them, meaning their value was very small.
And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father- despite being so numerous and cheap, the Father takes care of each one, and notices if it falls down in death.

10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered- this being the case, not only does He know when a sparrow falls, He knows when a hair falls, such is His meticulous care of His own. The falling of a sparrow means it is dead, whereas the falling of a hair in no way affects our life. Yet God knows when it happens, and cares. If He cares for a hair, He will surely care for the believer whose hair it was. There is a great contrast between the body of the unbeliever being destroyed, and the body of the believer being watched over carefully by the Father.

10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows- this is the conclusion of the exhortation begun in verse 28 with the words, “Fear not”. Since God takes such care over sparrows and hairs, it stands to reason that He will care for His own, for they, each one, are valuable to Him on a different scale of reckoning than sparrows.

(f) Verses 32-39 The confession of the apostles

10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men- to confess means “to say the same thing”. It is to state in the ears of men what is believed in the heart, when what is believed in the heart is what the word of God has taught the heart about the person of Christ. There is a “therefore” in this verse, for the confession before men has a consequence, which is told us in the rest of the sentence.
Him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven- the context has been one of warning these men that they will face opposition to the truth they will preach, even to the extent of losing their lives. There is compensation, however, for if they confess Him before men, He promises to confess them in the very highest place, before His Father. If they confess who He truly is, the Son of God, He will confess who they are, the children of God.

10:33 But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.

But whosoever shall deny Me before men- this is the opposite of confessing Him. It is to deliberately assert that He is not who the word of God says Him to be. One who does this is an apostate. This is an early warning to Judas, one of many opportunities the Lord gave him to change the course that would eventually lead to him betraying his Master.
Him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven- this is a deeply solemn statement, for it means that the person who denies in this way has no place of favour with the Father, but is rejected, being an unbeliever. This is why, in the discourse on the Mount of Olives, the Lord warned of those who would be offended, of many being deceived by false prophets, of iniquity abounding, and the love of many waxing cold, Matthew 24:10-12. And in that context He speaks of those who endure to the end. It is only these latter who shall go into the kingdom, and the false brethren thrust out.
We may wonder how Peter’s denial of the Lord relates to this situation. It is important to notice what Peter said in his denials. When the first damsel said to him, “Thou also was with Jesus of Galilee”, we read “he denied before them all saying, “I know not what thou sayest”, Matthew 26:69,70. When another maid said “This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth”, he again denied, this time with an oath, and said, “I know not the man”, verses 71,72. The third time others said, “Surely thou art also one of them”, Peter replied, “I know not the man”, verses 73,74. The other gospels are to the same effect, (for Peter’s denial is recorded in all four gospels, such is its seriousness). It is important to notice that Peter does not deny who the Lord is, and fall away from his belief that He is the Son of God. That is not the question. The maids and others who confront him are only interested in the fact that he was a disciple, and he denies he is, and claims to not know Christ. When the Lord foretold Peter’s denial He said, “thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest Me”, Luke 22:34. And just previous to that He said to him, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not”, verse 32. So the denial is in connection with knowing Him, and Peter’s faith in Him as the Son of God did not fail, as would have been the case if He denied who He was. This is why he can charge the nation of Israel with the words, “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you”, Acts 3:14. The nation had rejected the truth of who Christ was, and Peter is not hypocritical in condemning them.

10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth- as the next statements show, this refers to the varied reactions of men to the truth He brought. It is not peace in the political sense, but in the reaction to the truth. He came not to compromise, for peace at any price is not really peace at all, and will not last.
I came not to send peace, but a sword- He did not come to incite war, but He did come to emphasise truth, and truth always creates division and conflict as men react unfavourably to it. If this is the case with Him, it will be the case with the apostles He is sending forth, and they must not be surprised that even Israelites will vehemently oppose the truth they bring. Believers are often accused of division-making when they present the truth to men, but the fact is that this is inevitable, for this world is under the sway of the arch-opposer of the truth, of whom the Lord Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it”, John 8:44. Those who walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”, will react to the truth as he does, namely, with hostility, Ephesians 2:2.

10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law- even in the context of a tightly-knit Jewish family, the apostles must expect that the truth they bring will cause strong feelings to be aroused. They must not draw back from setting out the truth because this is the result. So a man and his sister will be against their parents, and the man’s wife will join in.

10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household- these words, and those of the previous verse, are an allusion to the words of the prophet Micah when he said, “Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law: a man’s enemies are the men of his own house”, Micah 7:5,6. Micah 7:6. In the Tribulation Period in particular, there will be much betrayal, hate and deceit, as Matthew 24:10,11 warns.

10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me- the King gives His verdict on a situation where the children in a family are believers, and their parents are not. There is a conflict between their love for the parents, and their love for the truth that the preachers of the kingdom have brought. They must understand that love of the truth is really love of the One of whom the truth speaks. They must ensure that their love for Him is greater than their natural love for their parents. If this is not the case, they are not worthy of Him in the sense that they do not deserved to be counted among His subjects. He expects, and deserves, whole-hearted allegiance, for He is worthy of it.
And he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me- the same is true regarding parents of children who do not believe. This does not mean that the parents should abandon or reject their children, but that the proper priorities should be maintained in the matter of allegiance to the King.

10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me- here is the basic way in which a person may be worthy of Christ. Those who saw a person carrying a cross to the place of execution knew that he had come to the end of his life. So those who take up their cross and follow Christ have come to an end of themselves in favour of Him. These things are developed further in the New Testament epistles once the Lord had not only been crucified but raised from the dead. So Paul can write, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live”, Galatians 2:20. And to the Romans, “our old man is crucified with Him…we believe we shall also live with Him”, Romans 6:6,8. The one who follows Christ, carrying a cross to the place of execution, and then follows Him to resurrection ground, is counted worthy, but only because of association with Him who is supremely worthy. So the true follower of Christ not only loves Him more than parents or children, but more than his own self also.

10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.

He that findeth his life shall lose it- he finds his life who goes in for the things of time and sense. Such natural things are easily found if they are sought for, for they are near at hand in the world. But the believer whose priority is to go in for the things of this world, will find that when Christ assesses that life, there is very little for Him in it, and it will be lost as far as eternal reward is concerned. This is another warning to Judas Iscariot, who is about to be sent out with the others. Sadly, he did not heed the warning and not only lost his life in the sense that there was nothing for Christ in it, but he also took his own life. He died hanging on a tree, but it was not in association with Christ who was crucified and hung on a tree, Acts 5:30.
And he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it- he who finds his own life does so for his own sake and advantage, but he who loses his life in favour of advancing Christ’s interests does it for His sake. All that he has done for the sake of Christ will be carried over into eternity.

(g) Verses 40-42 The commendation of the apostles

10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.

He that receiveth you receiveth Me- such is the confidence the King has in His representatives that the reaction they receive is the same as if it were the King coming personally. This is not only a great encouragement to them as they go forth, but also a solemn warning to those who heard them preach, for their reaction to the preachers was their reaction to the King. And he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me- this is a reminder that Christ has the full confidence of His Father, and is working through His apostles to do the will of His Father.

10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward- these apostles will have the status of prophets, for they go forth from the King to unfold His mind to the people. Those who receive them, reckoning them to truly bear the name of a prophet, will receive the same reward as if they themselves were prophets. This might seem a generous reward, until we recall the hostility to the truth these preachers will face, especially during the Tribulation Period. To receive them is to invite the same hostility as they face, and therefore the reward will be the same.
And he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward- iniquity, or unrighteousness, will abound in Tribulation times, Matthew 24:12, so to be a righteous man in that situation is a difficult thing. Those who are sympathetic to the truth will recognise these righteous men for what they are, and receive them as those who have the name or reputation of righteous men, and so will receive the same reward as the righteous man they receive. These who receive Christ’s messengers are no doubt those who are rewarded at the judgement of the living nations, Matthew 25:31-46. They will be rewarded for feeding, clothing and visiting the King. When they ask when that was, He will say it was when they did it to His brethren, the preachers of the gospel of the kingdom. They had received prophets and righteous men, and in so doing had received Him, and were rewarded accordingly.

10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward the act of kindness that seems so insignificant, the giving of only a cup of water to a little child because he is a disciple of the King, shall not go unrewarded. It will not go unnoticed by the King.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.