Matthew 10

1 In this section, Jesus is about to send the twelve apostles ("sent ones") on their first mission. Their ministry was to be similar to Jesus' ministry. They were to preach and back up their words with miracles. The power to do these miracles came from Jesus, not from themselves.

This verse indicates that there was a known difference between demon possession, sickness, and diseases. Some would claim that "demon possession" is a superstitious misdiagnosis of psychological disorders. While modern psychology tries to relate all mental diseases with an organic or environmental source, there are admittedly cases where it is difficult to determine where the problem lies. On the Christian side it is difficult to demonstrate that demon possession may indeed be involved since it appears that few have been given the discernment to detect them or authority to drive them out that was given to the twelve apostles.

2 The other places where the apostles are listed are Mark 3:15-19, Luke 6:14-16, and Acts 1:13. The lists are comprised of three groups of four. Peter is always listed first. He was a natural leader and tended to be the spokesman for the group. John was apparently the closest to Jesus, being the disciple that "Jesus loved." Peter, James, and John were often given privileged witness to special events like certain miracles and the transformation.
3 Lebbaeus was another name for Judas, the son of James (Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13).
4 The Aramaic word "Cananaean" means "zealot." It appears that this Simon was once involved in the guerrilla militia group that fought against Roman rule. Judas Iscariot (which means, "man of Kerioth") is always listed last.
5 Jesus' ministry was to the Jews first. The ministry to the Gentiles would occur mostly after His resurrection. The disciples were supposed to begin their ministry within their own culture. If they were ineffective where they knew the language and customs, they would probably not be effective among foreigners.
6 Many Jews thought they were spiritually safe because of their family ties with Abraham. This was an incorrect notion since it is one's relationship with God that saves him, not his lineage.
7 Their message was an urgent alert. The disciples themselves did not understand what Jesus would do to bring about salvation, but the disciples did know that turning to God and away from sin were important principles. Preaching that Jesus was the Son of God was also something they could do. The kingdom of God starts within the heart with faith and repentance. Later the disciples would learn that the kingdom of God would be completed after the resurrection from the dead.
8 They were to back up their words with miraculous healings. They were not to worry about running out of power because God would give them as much as they needed to complete their assignments. This would take faith on their part. Jesus indicates that the disciples will be able to heal anyone from any disease, demon possession, and even death. Therefore, they would need to carry this out in confidence.
9 Their faith was to go beyond trusting God to provide words and power for their ministries. They were to trust God to provide food, clothing, and shelter through those to whom they ministered. This is truly trusting God with your whole life.
11 Hospitality was an honored tradition at this time. It was customary that people would bring travelers into their homes and provide for their needs while they were there.
13 "Worthiness" would start with hospitality and continue if the household accepted the disciples' message. Consequently, the household would be blessed by God.
14 There was the possibility that the disciples' message would be rejected. The disciples were to shake the dust off their feet to separate themselves symbolically from the household, even from that soil.
15 The household would bring a curse upon itself because it rejected the word of God. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they sinned against God. The household in question would learn about God's salvation, but reject it. It will be worse for them at the judgement because only then will they realize that salvation was offered to them, but they refused to accept it.
16 The disciples' mission would be dangerous. There would be some people, like the religious leaders that wanted to kill Jesus, who would want to kill the disciples because of their message. The disciples would need to be quick witted and clever to get out of bad situations. However, they were not to resort to doing anything sinful to protect themselves.
17 There are no recorded instances of persecution during this particular missionary trip. Jesus is speaking about what will happen on future missionary trips, especially what would happen after His death and resurrection.

It would be ironic, but the religious leaders would be the first to persecute the believers. Although they would be preaching to Jews about the Jewish Messiah, their testimony would be rejected and considered dangerous heresy.

18 Governing authorities would also become involved. The religious leaders would complain to them that followers of Jesus were worshiping God in an illegal manner that was subversive to government authority. Some governments would take note when they heard that groups of people were following a "king" besides the one in their region of authority. Governments which demand complete devotion to secular rulers punish those who refused to deny Jesus.
19 One's defense is not to be something he devised or planned himself. He is to rely on God to give him the rights words to say at the right time. This does not mean that God's words will convince the persecutors, but it does guarantee that they will hear the truth.
21 Persecution will also arise from within one's own family. Family members can feel threatened when they misunderstand or rebel against God's invitation to a relationship with Him. Family members may be religiously offended when one of their own tells them that God demands complete loyalty to Him and no other god, philosophy, or self. They may be personally offended when they hear that they are not good enough for heaven and that only through faith in Jesus can they enter. These offended family members need not directly persecute the believers among them. They can turn believers over to religious or governing authorities that persecute Christians.
22 Jesus' followers should be prepared to face the reality that there are those that want to kill Christians. However, we can not stop believing just to save our own lives. Can one abandon the truth simply because others hate him for believing it? No. Instead, God is pleased when we endure through good and bad times with our faith in tact.
23 Martyrdom is not something Christians are to seek. If a Christian is not truly trapped, he should escape life-threatening situations and hope that another region will be more tolerant of and receptive to the Good News of Jesus.

God wants His Good News to be preached among all people so that at least one person from every people group will believe Him and be present before His eternal throne. Although this worldwide ministry began in Israel, there will be people there who will not have heard the Good News, even up to Judgement Day.

24 By their very definitions, a disciple or servant can not be considered equal with their teacher or master. Considering that Jesus is God, one should realize that he would never be His equal.
25 However, a follower can be like his teacher. We can display many of the characteristics of Jesus: love, compassion, truth, etc. We can carry out the continuing ministry of Jesus to preach the Good News to all people.

It is important to note that the followers will often suffer the same persecution that their leader does. Some people incorrectly label Jesus as an evil phony. However, they can not persecute Him directly because He is in heaven waiting for the right time to reappear. Instead, unbelievers will persecute and accuse the followers of Jesus, whom they can see.

26 Just as we share in Jesus' persecutions, we will also share in His eternal kingdom. Therefore, we need to fear those who desire to harm us. Though it is not clear now, God's justice will be revealed on Judgement Day.
27 God speaks to people in various ways: through the Bible, dreams, visions, or words to the spirit. We should not hesitate to proclaim them no matter how the world might respond.
28 Each person's body will die. People can die from natural, supernatural, accidental, or murderous causes. We know that there is more to life than what we have and experience now. Christians look forward to that Day when all sin will be taken away from us and we will be physically and spiritually complete before God.

Those who rebel against God to their death will not only suffer physical death, but spiritual death as well. On Judgement Day, they will see God face to face, but will then be forever separated from Him when they are cast into hell. As Christians, we need to have reverence for God, since He is the judge over these matters.

29 When we suffer persecutions, we should never think that God has abandoned us or ceased to care about us. God knows every "insignificant" event that happens in the universe. God treasures people (including non-Christians) above all the rest of His creation. He knows each person intimately.
32 While God loves and values each person, He can only redeem those who decide to cease from rebelling against Him. Jesus' atoning death on the cross is sufficient to save all people. However, that atonement is only effective if a person accepts it by faith. Those who accept the Good News of God's forgiveness through Jesus, and are not ashamed to tell others, are pleasing to God.
33 Those who reject the Good News and those who never really put their trust in God will deny Jesus' ability to save people from eternal destruction. These people do not please God, and it will be this testimony that condemns them in the end.
34 Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), but His reign as Peacemaker will not be completely realized until Judgement day. In the present age, worldly people often respond in anger rather than repentance when they hear the Good News of Jesus. They lash out in a "self defense" response. They would rather defend their guilt than admit they have lived their lives wrongly by ignoring God.
35 Although the family is supposed to be bonded by love, the relationships can fall apart when some members put their loyalty to God above the family. Those who choose not to accept God's gift of salvation through Jesus will feel threatened and betrayed by those who do. Just as love can be very strong within a family, so can hatred and bitterness. This can be especially distressing for the Christian who simply wants the unsaved members of his household find the same hope and love in God that he has found.
37 Love for your family is good and is encouraged elsewhere (e.g., Exo 20:12, 1 Tim 5:4). However, family love must not overshadow one's love for God. What this means is that if a Christian is put in a position where he must choose between God and family, he must choose God. Neither parents nor children can serve as a substitute for God.
38 Following Jesus is difficult. The ungodly world will persecute Christians mentally and physically. The Christian is also subject to spiritual attacks and temptations to sin. "Carrying the cross" is symbolic of a Christian's "death" to the evil influences of the world. This does not make the world's attacks any less real or painful, but with God's help we can endure them and stay on track.
39 This verse contrasts the benefits of physical and spiritual lives. The one who feels he has successfully obtained a comfortable and self-sustained life without God will fail the test on Judgement Day. On the other hand, Christians who give up whatever it takes to nurture their relationship with God will please Him and He will reward them with eternal life with Him.
40 How one treats an ambassador is a reflection of how he would treat whomever the ambassador represents. The one who accepts the ambassadors' message will treat the ambassador well. Christians are God's ambassadors to the world (2 Cor 5:20). When an ungodly person accepts a Christian's testimony, he accepts Jesus' testimony. Anyone who agrees to the terms of God's "peace treaty" will be rewarded with eternal life.
42 Christians have needs as much as anyone else. Those who have devoted their full time to ministry often have more unmet needs than others. People can show their acceptance of the Christian message by meeting the needs of those Christians who share the message. In this way, God provides for the unmet needs of the Christians through those around them.