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Matthew 10:1-8 by Robert Dean
The King has come! Accept him as your Messiah and He will establish His kingdom on earth! Listen to this lesson to learn that when Jesus was on earth He offered His Kingdom to the Jews but the religious leaders rejected Him as their Messiah. Hear about the 12 men first called disciples and later apostles who were sent out to proclaim His message. Understand the deep compassion Jesus felt, showing His mercy and grace for the undeserving. Accept that this grace is extended to all of us.
Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:43 mins 31 secs

Sending the Twelve
Matthew 10:1-8
Matthew Lesson #057
November 2, 2014

Matthew chapter ten begins a new section in the Gospel of Matthew. This chapter and chapter eleven are going to lead and build up to the ultimate rejection of Jesus by the religious leaders of Israel, which comes in chapter twelve. We see this gradual foreshadowing that began in the previous section as we see this opposition begin to grow here. We see references here that they are beginning to think that He performed His miracles and cast out demons by the power of Satan. In Matthew chapter twelve Satan is called Beelzebul, and that name is first used in chapter ten.

So Matthew 10 sets a stage; it is an important transition to the lead-up to chapter twelve and the rejection of the Messiah. It is after that that things change in terms of Christ's ministry and it becomes clearer that He is headed to the cross. But we see before that that Jesus has a unique and distinct ministry that is to Israel. We have studied in the past that Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, was sent by the Father to enter into human history through the process we call the incarnation, which means to take on flesh, to take on humanity; the eternal God became a man. He added humanity to His nature so that He was undiminished deity and true humanity. This is clearly indicated through a number of prophecies in the Old Testament–messianic prophecies like Isaiah 9:6, that He would be called Mighty God, the Father of Eternity; this One who would be born of a virgin. So it indicates both humanity and deity.

There are other passages such as Micah 5:2, which indicated that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. In that verse it talks about the One who was born in Bethlehem, who was the One whose goings forth were from eternity. That indicates that He has to be God. Throughout these prophecies of the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures there is a clear indication that the One who would come, the expected One, would not only be a unique human being, but part of Him being a unique human being was that He was also undiminished deity. So Christ is sent; He comes from the throne of God; He comes into human history, and He has a primary mission, and that is to bring the kingdom to Israel.

The kingdom had a rich historical tradition going back to the time of Moses, and even before that. We are told in the New Testament that Abraham trusted God, and even though he never owned anything more that a grave site in Israel, he looked forward to that city of God in the future. He had an understanding of the ultimate direction of human history in terms of God's established kingdom on the earth. This was further developed through the additional covenants that were given in the Old Testament, grounded on that initial covenant with Abraham; covenants with Moses in relation to the land, called the Land covenant, described in Deuteronomy 28 & 29; the covenant with David, that a descendant of his would sit forever on the David's throne. This again indicates this idea of deity. There is eternity in relation to a physical, biological descendant of David; both humanity and deity are relevant in that passage. Then there is the New covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-33 indicating the spiritual transformation that would come as a result of the ultimate penalty payment for sin. All of these are going to culminate in a kingdom that was prophesied, that was expected.

So when we come to the New Testament and open those passages of the Gospels, the first message we hear is the good news of the kingdom–the gospel of the kingdom. We use that term "gospel" so much that it muddies the water a little bit, because we always think first and foremost of the gospel in terms of the good news that our sins are paid for; that we have forgiveness of sins because Christ died on the cross. But in the Gospels there is also the talk of the gospel of the kingdom, and sometimes we get wrapped around the axle trying to understand the two different gospels. The Greek word there is EUANGELION, the "good news" of the kingdom, and the good news of the kingdom was that it was being offered, that the King who would reign and the kingdom was present. There is this urgent message that now that the King is here you need to respond to the message, you need to repent, change your mind with reference to the King, accept the Messiah, and then the kingdom would come in. That was the message and that is the background.

Christ comes first and foremost to offer the kingdom in fulfillment of these prophecies. There is this continuity between what Jesus is teaching in the first part of the Gospels to everything that preceded that from Genesis to Malachi in the Old Testament.

The first time we really see this emphasized in Jesus' ministry is in Matthew 4. In chapter three John the Baptist appeared in the scene saying, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". In chapter four Jesus is for the first time is proclaiming that same message, and that is when He calls His disciples. There are certain parallels between what we saw in Matthew chapter four and what we see now in Matthew 10.

Jesus has been involved in a ministry around the Sea of Galilee. In chapter four He calls His disciples and He travels throughout Galilee proclaiming His message. In chapter ten we are going to see a second Galilee tour, so we begin with a comparison between Matthew 4 and Matthew 10. The event of chapter four transpired at the very beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry and they describe that first tour through Galilee, offering the kingdom to the Jews in Galilee again and again from village to village. And it is being authenticated by the miracles. As we saw, the miracles that He performed were the miracles that were prophesied, especially by Isaiah, that this is what would characterize the ministry of the Messiah. This is what would characterize the rule of the messianic King, the descendant of David who would sit upon the throne of David. His kingdom would be marked by righteousness, by healing of disease, by His dominion over the evil powers of Satan and the fallen angels. So this is what He is announcing on the first tour around.

The point here is that this wasn't just something that Jesus mentioned once or twice, but that this offer was made continuously through various different tours through the different parts of Galilee and Judea at that time.

The events in Matthew 10 describe a second tour through Galilee. In the first tour it is just Jesus going and in the second tour He is ending with His disciples as His representatives.

The initial calling of the disciples in chapter four was then followed by specific instruction to those disciples in what has been called the Sermon on the Mount, described in Matthew 5-7. Jesus first identifies these twelve and He invites them to be His students, His disciples; and then in chapters 5-7 He instructs them. Then we see that those miracles authenticated His message and His legal rights to the throne, and His righteousness. In chapters 5-7 He is explaining the nature of that righteousness that should characterize those who have repented or who have turned to God in light of the offer of the kingdom. So chapter four describes the miracles, chapters five through seven describe the kind of righteousness, and then we see that chapter ten is preceded by a series of messianic miracles that lead up to the ministry of the twelve in chapter ten.

In Matthew 10 we see that the disciples are first called apostles. In chapter four Jesus invites them to be disciples. Now they are disciples and He sends them out as apostles. The word to send out is APOSTELLO, the Greek word for sending out. It really has a Hebrew background, a Hebrew word which means to send someone out on a task or a mission. Jesus is sending them out on a mission but then Matthew will identify them in verse 2 as apostles. This is the only use of that noun in the Gospel. He has invited them to be disciples and now He elevates them to those who have been given a specific mission to carry the gospel out to the Jewish people. Jesus delegates His authority to the disciples.

This section in chapter ten is preceded by Matthew 9:35-38, which is really the introduction to chapter ten. What we see in Matthew 9:35 is a summary description of that second tour of Jesus through Galilee: NASB "Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness." Also what we see here is an emphasis on Christ's compassion for the people during this time, verse 36 NASB "Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." He looks upon the masses of the Jewish people there and realizes that they are without leaders, without shepherds. The leaders they have had misled them and were emphasizing false doctrine, had departed from the teaching of the Torah in the Old Testament. This goes back to what Jeremiah had predicted in Jeremiah 50:6 NASB "My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside {on} the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill And have forgotten their resting place." Their resting place is God. The picture in Jeremiah 50 is of the terrible condition of the Jewish people and the prediction of the fact that they would be shepherd-less. This is what Jesus is alluding to in Matthew 9:36.

He felt compassion for them. The verb there is SPLANCHNIZOMAI, a word that means to have compassion, but what is interesting is this word is only used in the Bible of Jesus. It is also used three times to describe figures in the parables. The idea of compassion is often misunderstood; often a concept that is driven by sentimentality or emotion; whereas what we see here is that this is something that is driven by a true understanding of the condition of the people. Jesus is concerned about the fact that they are spiritually lost and there is no one to guide and direct them. Their leaders, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, have deceived them. The Pharisees basically said that they were to follow their traditions and to lead an upright life according to all of their additional rules and regulations which they had tacked on to the Torah so that the last thing they could understand was the compassionate nature of God.

This word SPLANCHNIZOMAI and the noun SPLANCHNON are often related to mercy. Mercy is grace in action. The people lost the concept of God's grace due to the teaching of the Pharisees as well as the Sadducees.

So Jesus sees that the people are desperately in need of help. This is why He says in Matthew 9:37 NASB "É The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." The people are ready to respond to the grace of God but the workers that were there have violated their trust and are not shepherding or leading any more, and there is a need for more workers. He tells His disciples at that point that they are to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out more workers. In chapter ten we see that the twelve disciples will fulfill this.

Matthew 10:1 NASB "Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness."

Here we see the identification of this group who represent the new workers, the new shepherds, that God has provided who will lead and direct the people of God, the Jewish people. The Messiah here in the first verse is going to delegate authority to these twelve, and He is going to demonstrate His power and authority to the disciples. They have already been called as disciples; now He is going to give them an additional mission.

Just as was predicted, the Messiah would rule and have control over the forces of evil, the fallen angels and Satan. He is going to show that not only does He have that power, but also He is going to delegate that power to His disciples. Not only that, but they would be able to heal all kinds of sickness and disease. The act of calling them indicated that He has authority. It was implicit within His act of calling them that He had the authority to do that and that He had the ability to delegate power to them. We also see here that the delegation of His authority power to heal and the power over demons is a clear indication of His unique person, His unique identity and position. No Old Testament prophet ever delegated his power to others. This shows that Jesus is more than just a prophet; He is unique in His person. Because He is the second Person of the Trinity, because He is God Himself, He can delegate His power to those who follow Him. He is the only One in Scripture who does that, indicating His unique identity. It is His power that is delegated and so when they go out and heal those whom are sick and they cast out demons it is the sign that the kingdom is near and that the offer is indeed valid.

The next thing that we see in this opening part of the chapter is that the twelve are identified. This is the first mention of the twelve by name in Matthew and it is directly related to their mission to Israel. It is important to understand that they are prohibited from going to the way of the Gentiles–the highways and the roads that lead to the Gentile cities–and they are also prohibited from going to the cities of the Samaritans. There is a mission to the house of Israel that is distinct to this particular situation. That reality has bothered a lot of people but we have to understand that this mission is in fulfillment of His mandate as the Messiah to offer the kingdom to the Jewish people. He picks twelve disciples, and for anyone who was Jewish it would immediately remind them of the twelve tribes of Israel. No Jewish person would ever miss that significance.

It is also here that we see them called apostles. Matthew 10:2 NASB "Now the names of the twelve apostles are these." This is the first and only use of the noun apostle in the Gospel of Matthew. Also, Matthew is the only Gospel writer that uses the term "church." This reveals something about the focus of the Gospel of Matthew. Remember, Matthew was written fifteen to twenty years after the cross. He is writing to a group of Jewish Christians who are wondering why the kingdom that was offered hasn't come in. He is reminding them of Jesus' mission to offer the kingdom, why it was postponed–because He was rejected by the religious leadership of Israel–and what Jesus did on going to the cross to pay the penalty for sin. So he is writing during the beginning of what is now known as the Church Age, and he is giving some hints as to what has transpired and what would come to pass in terms of the beginning of the church. He is making a connection by using the terms apostle and church in his Gospel that God has by then been raising up a new people of God in a new dispensation.

Now God has not forgotten the Jewish people. There are some Christians who have taught a heretical doctrine called replacement theology, which says that God has completely forgotten the Jewish people, has forgotten His covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David, and the promise of the New Covenant, that that is no longer for the Jewish people because they rejected the Messiah. That is not what the New Testament teaches. It is a pernicious doctrine that has been used to be the foundation of what has been called Christian anti-Semitism. It first began to rear its ugly head in the early part of the second century AD, but that is not a biblical notion. The Bible clearly teaches that God is raising up a new people during this dispensation but that God will once again engage the Jewish people in His plan and purposes, and this comes at the end of the present Church Age when God's time clock for Israel will once again be engaged as a lead up to the establishment of the kingdom when Jesus Christ returns at the Second Advent.

The listing of these twelve names, therefore, indicates and is a reminder of the twelve tribes of Israel and the emphasis and focus upon this ministry to the Jewish people.

Now here is a list of the disciples. The first four are typically at the beginning of every list of the apostles. "... The first, Simon, who is called Peter ..." Notice he has two names mentioned here. He is also called Cephas, an Aramaic term which is the counterpart to Peter. Often people had two or three names by which they were identified. "... and Andrew his brother." So they are from one family. "... and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

[3] Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector [otherwise known as Levi]; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus ..." This is the only time this last set of names is used. Matthew 10:4 NASB "Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him."

Peter is listed first. There is an emphasis on his priority. This will be emphasized again in Matthew chapter sixteen where Jesus says: "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal {this} to you, but My Father who is in heaven." What was revealed is that Jesus is the Messiah. This took place at a location called Caesarea Philippi, which is located in the north of Israel. Verse 18, "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." The phrase "this rock" probably refers to his affirmation that Jesus is the Messiah. It is that principle, the fact that Jesus is the Messiah, which means that He is the chief cornerstone, and upon that Christ will build His church. Notice it is in the future tense. The church was not in existence at the time of the first advent, it came into existence only on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the death of Christ.

Matthew 16:19 NASB "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." This isn't about him being pope, the keys to the kingdom are faith in Christ. It is the message, not the man.

The point is that Peter is identified first. And remember, Matthew is writing to a Jewish audience and Peter was the apostle to the Jews. They knew Peter. Peter initially in Acts is headquartered in Jerusalem; later he would go to Babylon, which was the largest Jewish community outside of Judea in the world.

As we look at the list I want to bring up the parallels. In Luke 6:14 the list is basically the same until verse 15 where Simon is called the zealot. In the Acts parallel (Luke and Acts were both written by Luke) he is also identified as Simon the zealot. The Old King James, going back to the influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury during the English Reformation, Thomas Cramner, misidentified this term. Actually, canaan, is an Aramaic word meaning a zealot. Then there is another difference in Luke 6:16. There is the identification of Judas the son of James. In Matthew 10:3 [NKJV] is Lebbaeus who is Thaddaeus. It is clear from a number of comparisons that this was another name for the same person. So Judas the son of James always appears in the same place in the list. In Matthew's list he is called by a different name.

This brings us to the mission that Jesus gives to the disciples. The Messiah commissions the twelve to a specific mission among God's chosen people, the Jewish people, with reference to fulfilling the eternal promises in the covenants from the Old Testament. The Old Testament specifically predicted the conclusion of the Gentiles as part of God's plan for the future. But blessing to the Gentiles flowed out of God's promises to Abraham. So Jesus is going first to offer the kingdom to the Jewish people because it is a Jewish kingdom. It was rejected but it will eventually be fulfilled.

The twelve are sent out and the word that is used there is APOSTELLO, which means to send.

Matthew 10:5 NASB "These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: 'Do not go in {the} way of {the} Gentiles, and do not enter {any} city of the Samaritans; [6] but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

The lost sheep are lost sheep because the shepherds have abandoned them and are not leading them in the right direction. There is no indication that Jesus is hostile to the Jewish people in any way at all. He comes to provide salvation for them. This is the offer of the kingdom, the same message that characterized the message of John the Baptist and His message early on. This is the third time around. First time, Jesus' ministry through Galilee in Matthew chapter four; second time, the summary at the end of chapter nine; and now the disciples are going to go out in a third round of preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 10:7 "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' " This is very similar to the great commission at the end of the Gospel" "When you go, baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach all men to be my disciples." This indicates the fact that as they go through the course of life they are to be involved–and we are to be involved in those two things, so this is a similar type situation. It means while you are going, as you are travelling through Galilee, preach–KERUSSO, which means simply to proclaim something. It is not a term indicating a kind of oratory or a specific form of rhetoric, it is simply the process of proclaiming something that is true. And what they are proclaiming is the urgent message that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The words "at hand" is the word ENGIZO, which means that something is near, close by; it's about to happen. John uses the word in Matthew 3:1; Jesus uses it in Matthew 4:17, 23; 9:35. But here it is now going to be the message of the disciples. The idea of this word is seen in Matthew 26:45, 46 NASB "Then He came to the disciples and said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!' " This is in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is almost here, talking about something in close proximity. "My betrayer is at hand", i.e., Judas is here, indicating how close the kingdom was and that if the Jewish people had accepted Him as Messiah the kingdom would have come in at that particular time. But because they rejected Him another plan went into effect.

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

Remember, healing lepers was a specific sign of the Messiah. Again, the rabbis understood that only the Messiah could raise the dead. Only the Messiah could cast out demons. This isn't the word EXORKIZO, He is not performing some magical, mystical rite of exorcism; it is the word EKBALLO, which is quite different. Only Jesus could EKBALLO demons.

Then, "Freely you received, freely give." This is an emphasis on grace. This is something that is at the core of the message of the gospel of the kingdom and the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what has characterized God's dealings with the human race ever since the fall of Adam; that He freely offers salvation, because there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve salvation, nothing we can do to gain righteousness or to be righteous. We can't do it on our own. Scripture says there is none righteous; no, not one. Isaiah says that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. So how do we get righteousness? Only through someone who has that righteousness and the abundance needed to give righteousness to everyone. That means that that person must not only be humanity in order to die as our substitute, but He must also be infinite in His capacity. Jesus as the God-Man is both infinite in His deity and, as a man is able to substitute for humanity and pay the penalty for sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB "He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Ephesians 2:8, 9 NASB "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

The mistake of the Pharisees and many other religious leaders down through the ages have made is that somehow we have to be good enough to merit God's favor. The Bible teaches that we can't ever do it. Jesus did it all. All we have to do is accept what He has done for us, and then we have eternal life.