Matthew 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.
They were first Christ’s disciples, and then he sent them forth as his
apostles, clothed with power and authority very similar to his own.
Matthew 10:2-4. 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; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and
Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose
surname was Thaddeu;, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also
The twelve apostles linked the spiritual Israel with the twelve tribes
of the literal Israel which had typified it. They are mentioned in
pairs, but this last couple is not a pair, for Simon the Zealot had
little in common with the cool, cunning, calculating Judas Iscariot.
There were only twelve apostles, yet one of them was a traitor; among
the leaders of the nominal Christian Church today, is it possible that
there is one traitor in every twelve?
Matthew 10:5-6. 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: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house
This was “a mission to the Jews” only, meant for the general arousing
of the chosen nation. It was a mission from Israel to Israel; not to
the Gentiles, and not even to the people who were most like the Jews:
“Into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.” After our Lord’s
resurrection he gave the wider commission, “Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Matthew 10:7-8. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at
hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out
devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
They were to be medical missionaries, preaching the gospel, and healing the sick, and it was all to be done “freely.”
Matthew 10:9-10. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your
purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes,
nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
The people at that time were favourably disposed to our Lord, and thus
his apostles might expect treatment of a more generous kind than can be
looked for in these times. Certain of these regulations were altered on
a subsequent mission, when the people were less favourably disposed.
Matthew 10:11-15. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire
who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye
come into an house, salute it. 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 whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye
depart out of that house or city, shake of the dust of your feet.
Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom
and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Disclaim all fellowship with those who will not have fellowship with
your Lord; let them know that you quit them because they refuse to
receive your Master’s message. If they continue to reject the Saviour,
their doom will be even more terrible than that of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:
“Behold, I send you forth.” What power there is in the word of the King
of kings! “’I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.’ You are
like sheep, helpless and defenseless; yet ‘I send you forth,’ and
therefore it is right for you to go even into ‘the midst of wolves.’”
We might have imagined that the wolves would have devoured the sheep
yet, at the present time, there are a great many more sheep in the
world than there are wolves. Sheep have always been weak and helpless,
yet they have multiplied, wolves have always been strong and savage,
yet they have diminished until there is not one of them left in this
land, and in many other countries the same thing has happened. So, the
weak, the helpless, who come under the care of “our Lord Jesus, that
great Shepherd of the sheep,” shall be preserved from all the wolves
that would devour them, and even from the devil, who, “as a roaring
lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Matthew 10:16. Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
“Be ye harmless because ye are like sheep, but be ye wise as serpents
because you have to dwell with wolves.” You, too, beloved, ought to be
very wise because of the wisdom which has been imparted to you by the
Master who has sent you forth, and you ought to use your best wits in
his service, yet never use that wisdom with any ill intent, for the
Christ who sends you does no harm to men, but only good.
Matthew 10:17-18. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the
councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall
be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony
against them and the Gentiles.
“Do not try to live on popular applause, ‘but beware of men.’ Expect
ill treatment from them; if they can persecute you with the scourge,
they will do so, but if that is out of their power, they will persecute
you with their tongues. You will be misunderstood, misrepresented,
maligned; expect such treatment for I, your Lord and Master, have had
it before you.”
Matthew 10:19-20. 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. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father
which speaketh in you.
It is very remarkable what wise answers many of the martyrs often gave.
Illiterate men, when confronted by the learned ones of the earth,
completely baffled them; and weak women nonplused their assailants and
judges. A notable instance of that is recorded in the history of the
brave Anne Askew. After they had tortured her upon the rack, and her
poor body was full of pain, she sat upon the cold slabs of her prison,
and put such questions to the popish bishops and inquisitors as utterly
confounded them: and Christ still, by his Holy Spirit, enables his
faithful followers to triumph over all the graft and malice of men.
Matthew 10:21-22. 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 ye shall be hated of
all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be
When we give ourselves to Christ, we must do it without any reserve and
be prepared to follow him even to the bitter end if necessary. If all
men should forsake us, if death should be our portion because of our
allegiance to Christ, we dare not draw back. To do that, would lead to
our destination; but to endure unto the end, this is eternal salvation.
Matthew 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.
I suppose Christ here alludes to that wondrous coming of his in the
destruction of Jerusalem. They had but a short time in which to
evangelize that land, so they had to be quick in gathering out the
Lord’s elect ere he came in that terrible judgment. This same truth
ought to quicken the action of every servant of Christ today. Be quick
about your work, for your Master is on the road, and will soon be here.
You may almost hear the rattling of his chariot wheels, for long ago he
said “Surely I come quickly.” The trumpets are beginning to sound, and
you will scarcely have gone over all the cities of the world before the
Son of man shall come unless you hasten with the great task which he
has entrusted to you.
Matthew 10:24-25. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant
above his lord. 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?
I do not know what worse names they might give to us than they gave to
our master, but, no doubt, they might do so; for, as the servants are
worse and less than their master, the world might, if it acted upon the
rule of proportion, apply much worse names to us than it has ever done
to our blessed Lord and Master. Are we to be esteemed and reverenced in
a world that persecuted and crucified Christ our Lord and Saviour? Be
not so foolish as to think so; and when you receive scorn and
contumely, accept it as being the lot of follower of Christ.
Matthew 10:26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
When men slander you, they cannot take away your good name before God.
There will be a resurrection of reputations as well as a resurrection
of bodies; and good men, though their good names lie deeply buried,
will certainly have a resurrection. There is Wycliffe, how little,
comparatively, has ever been said about probably the greatest man since
the time of the apostle Paul; but his name and fame will yet arise, and
all history will ring with the praise of it. Depend upon it, no man,
who has faithfully served his Saviour, shall miss the honour which he
has truly deserved. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in
the kingdom of their Father,” so be content to wait.
Matthew 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.
There must first he that quiet lonely hearing,-that calm still sitting
at the Master’s feet to learn the lesson; and then afterwards must come
the brave telling of it out,-speaking out though kings should hear, and
never being silenced because of sinful shame.
Matthew 10:28-31. 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. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and
one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the
very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are
of more value than many sparrows.
Do you not see the force of this argument? These little creatures, that
are of so little account among men, are watched over by your Heavenly
Father. They cannot die, nay they cannot even light upon the ground,
without your Father noting it; can he then forget you, who are worth so
much more than many sparrows? Will he not deal very gently, and
tenderly, and considerately with you?
Matthew 10:32-33. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will
I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall
deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in
You own Christ here, and Christ will own you there. Dare to bear
reproach for him, and you shall be glorified together with him
by-and-by, but if the tenor of your life be that you do not own Christ,
if you practically live as if there were no Saviour, ignoring him,
depriving him of the trust which he deserves, and the honour which he
has earned, then, when he comes in the glory of the Father, he will
say, “You never knew me, and I never knew you. Depart!”
Matthew 10:34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
That is to say, the first consequence of Christ’s coming will not be
that we shall lead easy and comfortable lives, but, on the contrary, he
comes to enlist us in his army, and to make soldiers of us, and
soldiers have to endure many hardships.
Matthew 10:35-36. 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. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own
Many of the children of God have found this to be true, greatly to
their sorrow. No foes can wound us so sorely as those of our own
household. They get at our hearts, and cut us to the very quick, while
others can only give us flesh wounds. Well, it must be so. Wherever
light comes, darkness will be opposed to it. Truth will always find
error ready to devour it if it can. Expect this, and half the
bitterness of it will be gone when it comes because you did expect it.
“To be forewarned” here “is to be forearmed.”
Matthew 10:37-42. 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. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me,
is not worthy of me.
He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for
my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that
receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 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. 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. God’s great
reward for little service are given, not of debt, but of grace,
“according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 80; and Matthew 9:36-38; Matthew , 10.