Mission of the Twelve Apostles. ( =
Mr 6:7-13; Lu 9:1-6).
The last three verses of the ninth chapter form the
proper introduction to the Mission of the Twelve, as is evident from
the remarkable fact that the Mission of the Seventy was prefaced by the
very same words. (See on Lu 10:2).
1. And when he had called unto him his twelve
disciples, he gave them power—The word signifies both
"power," and "authority" or "right." Even if it were not evident that
here both ideas are included, we find both words expressly used in the
parallel passage of Luke (Lu 9:1)—"He gave them power and
authority"—in other words, He both qualified and
2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are
these—The other Evangelists enumerate the twelve in immediate
connection with their appointment (Mr 3:13-19; Lu 6:13-16). But our Evangelist, not
intending to record the appointment, but only the Mission of the
Twelve, gives their names here. And as in the Acts (Ac 1:13) we have a list of the Eleven who met
daily in the upper room with the other disciples after their Master's
ascension until the day of Pentecost, we have four catalogues in all
The first, Simon, who is called
Peter—(See on Joh 1:42).
and Andrew his brother; James the son of
Zebedee, and John his brother—named after James, as the
younger of the two.
3. Philip and Bartholomew—That this
person is the same with "Nathanael of Cana in Galilee" is justly
concluded for the three following reasons: First, because Bartholomew
is not so properly an individual's name as a family surname; next,
because not only in this list, but in Mark's and Luke's (Mr 3:18; Lu
6:14), he follows the name of
"Philip," who was the instrument of bringing Nathanael first to Jesus
1:45); and again, when our
Lord, after His resurrection, appeared at the Sea of Tiberias,
"Nathanael of Cana in Galilee" is mentioned along with six others, all
of them apostles, as being present (Joh 21:2).
Matthew the publican—In none of the
four lists of the Twelve is this apostle so branded but in his own, as
if he would have all to know how deep a debtor he had been to his Lord.
(See on Mt 1:3, 5, 6; 9:9).
James the son of Alphaeus—the same
person apparently who is called Cleopas or Clopas (Lu
24:18; Joh 19:25); and, as he
was the husband of Mary, sister to the Virgin, James the Less must have
been our Lord's cousin.
and Lebbaeus, whose surname was
Thaddaeus—the same, without doubt, as "Judas the brother of
James," mentioned in both the lists of Luke (Lu 6:16; Ac
1:13), while no one of the
name of Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus is so. It is he who in John (Joh 14:22) is sweetly called "Judas, not
Iscariot." That he was the author of the Catholic Epistle of "Jude,"
and not "the Lord's brother" (Mt 13:55), unless these be the same, is most
4. Simon the Canaanite—rather
"Kananite," but better still, "the Zealot," as he is called in Lu 6:15, where the original term should
not have been retained as in our version ("Simon, called Zelotes"), but
rendered "Simon, called the Zealot." The word "Kananite" is just the
Aramaic, or Syro-Chaldaic, term for "Zealot." Probably
before his acquaintance with Jesus, he belonged to the sect of the
Zealots, who bound themselves, as a sort of voluntary ecclesiastical
police, to see that the law was not broken with impunity.
and Judas Iscariot—that is, Judas of
Kerioth, a town of Judah (Jos 15:25);
so called to distinguish him from "Judas the brother of James" (Lu 6:16).
who also betrayed him—a note of infamy
attached to his name in all the catalogues of the Twelve.
Mt 10:5-42. The Twelve
Receive Their Instructions.
This directory divides itself into three distinct
parts. The first part (Mt 10:5-15) contains directions for the brief and
temporary mission on which they were now going forth, with respect to
the places they were to go to, the works they were to do, the message
they were to bear, and the manner in which they were to conduct
themselves. The second part (Mt 10:16-23) contains directions of no such limited
and temporary nature, but opens out into the permanent exercise of the
Gospel ministry. The third part (Mt 10:24-42) is of wider application still, reaching
not only to the ministry of the Gospel in every age, but to the service
of Christ in the widest sense. It is a strong confirmation of this
threefold division, that each part closes with the words, "Verily I SAY UNTO YOU" (Mt 10:15, 23,
Directions for the Present Mission (Mt 10:5-15).
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—The Samaritans were Gentiles by
blood; but being the descendants of those whom the king of Assyria had
transported from the East to supply the place of the ten tribes carried
captive, they had adopted the religion of the Jews, though with
admixtures of their own: and, as the nearest neighbors of the Jews,
they occupied a place intermediate between them and the Gentiles.
Accordingly, when this prohibition was to be taken off, on the effusion
of the Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles were told that they should be
Christ's witnesses first "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea," then "in
Samaria," and lastly, "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Ac 1:8).
6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel—Until Christ's death, which broke down the middle wall
of partition (Eph 2:14),
the Gospel commission was to the Jews only, who, though the visible
people of God, were "lost sheep," not merely in the sense which all
sinners are (Isa 53:6; 1Pe 2:25; compare with Lu 19:10), but as abandoned and left to wander
from the right way by faithless shepherds (Jer 50:6,
17; Eze 34:2-6, &c.).
7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of
heaven is at hand—(See on Mt 3:2).
8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the
dead, cast out devils—(The italicized
clause—"raise the dead"—is wanting in many
manuscripts). Here we have the first communication of supernatural
power by Christ Himself to His followers—thus anticipating the
gifts of Pentecost. And right royally does He dispense it.
freely ye have received, freely
give—Divine saying, divinely said! (Compare De 15:10, 11;
Ac 3:6)—an apple of
gold in a setting of silver (Pr 25:11).
It reminds us of that other golden saying of our Lord, rescued from
oblivion by Paul, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Ac 20:35). Who can estimate what the world
owes to such sayings, and with what beautiful foliage and rich fruit
such seeds have covered, and will yet cover, this earth!
9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in
your purses—"for" your purses; literally, "your belts," in
which they kept their money.
10. Nor scrip for your journey—the bag
used by travellers for holding provisions.
neither two coats—or tunics, worn next
the skin. The meaning is, Take no change of dress, no additional
neither shoes—that is, change of
nor yet staves—The received text here
has "a staff," but our version follows another reading, "staves," which
is found in the received text of Luke (Lu 9:3). The true reading, however, evidently
is "a staff"—meaning, that they were not to procure even that
much expressly for this missionary journey, but to go with what they
had. No doubt it was the misunderstanding of this that gave rise to the
reading "staves" in so many manuscripts Even if this reading were
genuine, it could not mean "more than one"; for who, as Alford well asks, would think of taking a spare
for the workman is worthy of his
meat—his "food" or "maintenance"; a principle which, being
universally recognized in secular affairs, is here authoritatively
applied to the services of the Lord's workmen, and by Paul repeatedly
and touchingly employed in his appeals to the churches (Ro
15:27; 1Co 9:11; Ga 6:6), and
once as "scripture" (1Ti 5:18).
11. And into whatsoever city or
town—town or village.
ye shall enter inquire—carefully.
who in it is worthy—or "meet" to
entertain such messengers; not in point of rank, of course, but of
and there abide till ye go thence—not
shifting about, as if discontented, but returning the welcome given
with a courteous, contented, accommodating disposition.
12. And when ye come into an house—or
"the house," but it means not the worthy house, but the house ye first
enter, to try if it be worthy.
salute it—show it the usual
13. And if the house be worthy—showing
this by giving you a welcome.
let your peace come upon it—This is
best explained by the injunction to the Seventy, "And into whatsoever
house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house" (Lu 10:5). This was the ancient salutation of the
East, and it prevails to this day. But from the lips of Christ and His
messengers, it means something far higher, both in the gift and the
giving of it, than in the current salutation. (See on Joh 14:27).
but if it be not worthy, let your peace return
to you—If your peace finds a shut, instead of an open, door
in the heart of any household, take it back to yourselves, who know how
to value it; and it will taste the sweeter to you for having been
offered, even though rejected.
14. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear
your words, when ye depart out of that house or city—for
possibly a whole town might not furnish one "worthy."
shake off the dust of your feet—"for a
testimony against them," as Mark and Luke add (Mr 6:11; Lu
10:11). By this symbolical
action they vividly shook themselves from all connection with
such, and all responsibility for the guilt of rejecting them and
their message. Such symbolical actions were common in ancient times,
even among others than the Jews, as strikingly appears in Pilate (Mt 27:24). And even to this day it prevails
in the East.
15. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more
for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment,
than for that city—Those Cities of the Plain, which were
given to the flames for their loathsome impurities, shall be treated as
less criminal, we are here taught, than those places which, though
morally respectable, reject the Gospel message and affront those that
Directions for the Future and Permanent Exercise
of the Christian Ministry (Mt 10:16-23).
16. Behold, I send you forth—The "I"
here is emphatic, holding up Himself as the Fountain of the Gospel
ministry, as He is also the Great Burden of it.
in the midst of wolves—ready to make a
prey of you (Joh 10:12).
To be left exposed, as sheep to wolves, would have been startling
enough; but that the sheep should be sent among the wolves would
sound strange indeed. No wonder this announcement begins with the
be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless
as doves—Wonderful combination this! Alone, the wisdom of the
serpent is mere cunning, and the harmlessness of the dove little better
than weakness: but in combination, the wisdom of the serpent would save
them from unnecessary exposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove,
from sinful expedients to escape it. In the apostolic age of
Christianity, how harmoniously were these qualities displayed! Instead
of the fanatical thirst for martyrdom, to which a later age gave birth,
there was a manly combination of unflinching zeal and calm discretion,
before which nothing was able to stand.
17. But beware of men; for they will deliver you
up to the councils—the local courts, used here for civil
magistrates in general.
and they will scourge you in their
synagogues—By this is meant persecution at the hands of the
18. And ye shall be brought before
and kings—the highest tribunals.
for my sake, for a testimony against
them—rather, "to them," in order to bear testimony to the
truth and its glorious effects.
and the Gentiles—"to the Gentiles"; a
hint that their message would not long be confined to the lost sheep of
the house of Israel. The Acts of the Apostles are the best commentary
on these warnings.
19. But when they deliver you up, take no
thought—be not solicitous or anxious. (See on Mt 6:25).
how or what ye shall speak—that is,
either in what manner ye shall make your defense, or of what
matter it shall consist.
for it shall be given you in that same hour what
ye shall speak—(See Ex 4:12; Jer 1:7).
20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of
your Father which speaketh in you—How remarkably this has
been verified, the whole history of persecution thrillingly
proclaims—from the Acts of the Apostles to the latest
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—for
example, by lodging information against them with the authorities. The
deep and virulent hostility of the old nature and life to the
new—as of Belial to Christ—was to issue in awful wrenches
of the dearest ties; and the disciples, in the prospect of their cause
and themselves being launched upon society, are here prepared for the
22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's
sake—The universality of this hatred would make it evident to
them, that since it would not be owing to any temporary excitement,
local virulence, or personal prejudice, on the part of their enemies,
so no amount of discretion on their part, consistent with entire
fidelity to the truth, would avail to stifle that enmity—though
it might soften its violence, and in some cases avert the outward
manifestations of it.
but he that endureth to the end shall be
saved—a great saying, repeated, in connection with similar
warnings, in the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem (Mt 24:13); and often reiterated by the apostle as
a warning against "drawing back unto perdition" (Heb 3:6, 13; 6:4-6; 10:23,
26-29, 38, 39, &c.). As
"drawing back unto perdition" is merely the palpable evidence of the
want of "root" from the first in the Christian profession (Lu 8:13), so "enduring to the end" is just the
proper evidence of its reality and solidity.
23. But when they persecute you in this city, flee
ye into another—"into the other." This, though applicable to
all time, and exemplified by our Lord Himself once and again, had
special reference to the brief opportunities which Israel was to have
of "knowing the time of His visitations."
for verily I say unto you—what will
startle you, but at the same time show you the solemnity of your
mission, and the need of economizing the time for it.
Ye shall not have gone over—Ye shall
in nowise have completed.
the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be
come—To understand this—as Lange and others do—in the first instance, of
Christ's own peregrinations, as if He had said, "Waste not your time
upon hostile places, for I Myself will be after you ere your work be
over"—seems almost trifling. "The coming of the Son of man" has a
fixed doctrinal sense, here referring immediately to the crisis of
Israel's history as the visible kingdom of God, when Christ was to come
and judge it; when "the wrath would come upon it to the uttermost"; and
when, on the ruins of Jerusalem and the old economy, He would establish
His own kingdom. This, in the uniform language of Scripture, is more
immediately "the coming of the Son of man," "the day of vengeance of
our God" (Mt 16:28; 24:27, 34; compare with Heb 10:25;
Jas 5:7-9)—but only as
being such a lively anticipation of His second coming for vengeance and
deliverance. So understood, it is parallel with Mt 24:14 (on which see).
Directions for the Service of Christ in Its Widest
Sense (Mt 10:24-42).
24. The disciple is not above his
nor the servant above his lord—another
maxim which our Lord repeats in various connections (Lu 6:40;
Joh 13:16; 15:20).
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—All the Greek manuscripts,
write "Beelzebul," which undoubtedly is the right form of this word.
The other reading came in no doubt from the Old Testament "Baalzebub,"
the god of Ekron (2Ki 1:2),
which it was designed to express. As all idolatry was regarded as devil
worship (Le 17:7; De 32:17; Ps 106:37; 1Co
10:20), so there seems to
have been something peculiarly satanic about the worship of this
hateful god, which caused his name to be a synonym of Satan. Though we
nowhere read that our Lord was actually called "Beelzebul," He was
charged with being in league with Satan under that hateful name (Mt 12:24,
26), and more than once
Himself was charged with "having a devil" or "demon" (Mr 3:30;
Joh 7:20; 8:48). Here it is
used to denote the most opprobrious language which could be applied by
one to another.
how much more shall they call them of his
household—"the inmates." Three relations in which Christ
stands to His people are here mentioned: He is their Teacher—they
His disciples; He is their Lord—they His servants; He is the
Master of the household—they its inmates. In all these relations,
He says here, He and they are so bound up together that they cannot
look to fare better than He, and should think it enough if they fare no
26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing
covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be
known—that is, There is no use, and no need, of concealing
anything; right and wrong, truth and error, are about to come into open
and deadly collision; and the day is coming when all hidden things
shall be disclosed, everything seen as it is, and every one have his
27. What I tell you in darkness—in the
privacy of a teaching for which men are not yet ripe.
that speak ye in the light—for when ye
go forth all will be ready.
and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon
the housetops—Give free and fearless utterance to all that I
have taught you while yet with you. Objection: But this may cost
us our life? Answer: It may, but there their power ends:
28. And fear not them which kill the body, but are
not able to kill the soul—In Lu 12:4, "and after that have no more that they
but rather fear him—In Luke (Lu 12:5) this is peculiarly solemn, "I
will forewarn you whom ye shall fear," even Him
which is able to destroy both soul and body in
hell—A decisive proof this that there is a hell for the body
as well as the soul in the eternal world; in other words, that the
torment that awaits the lost will have elements of suffering adapted to
the material as well as the spiritual part of our nature, both
of which, we are assured, will exist for ever. In the corresponding
warning contained in Luke (Lu 12:4),
Jesus calls His disciples "My friends," as if He had felt that such
sufferings constituted a bond of peculiar tenderness between Him and
29. Are not two sparrows sold for a
farthing?—In Luke (Lu 12:6) it
is "five sparrows for two farthings"; so that, if the purchaser took
two farthings' worth, he got one in addition—of such small value
and one of them shall not fall on the
ground—exhausted or killed
without your Father—"Not one of them
is forgotten before God," as it is in Luke (Lu 12:6).
30. But the very hairs of your head are all
numbered—See Lu 21:18
(and compare for the language 1Sa 14:45; Ac 27:34).
31. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value
than many sparrows—Was ever language of such simplicity felt
to carry such weight as this does? But here lies much of the charm and
power of our Lord's teaching.
32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before
men—despising the shame.
him will I confess also before my Father which
is in heaven—I will not be ashamed of him, but will own him
before the most august of all assemblies.
33. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him
will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven—before
that same assembly: "He shall have from Me his own treatment of Me on
the earth." (But see on Mt 16:27).
34. Think not that I am come to send peace on
earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword—strife, discord,
conflict; deadly opposition between eternally hostile principles,
penetrating into and rending asunder the dearest ties.
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—(See on Lu 12:51-53).
36. And a man's foes shall be they of his own
household—This saying, which is quoted, as is the whole
verse, from Mic 7:6, is
but an extension of the Psalmist's complaint (Ps 41:9;
55:12-14), which had its most
affecting illustration in the treason of Judas against our Lord Himself
(Joh 13:18; Mt 26:48-50). Hence would arise the necessity of a
choice between Christ and the nearest relations, which would put them
to the severest test.
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—(Compare De 33:9). As the preference of the one would, in
the case supposed, necessitate the abandonment of the other, our Lord
here, with a sublime, yet awful self-respect, asserts His own claims to
38. And he that taketh not his cross, and
followeth after me, is not worthy of me—a saying which our
Lord once and again emphatically reiterates (Mt 16:24;
Lu 9:23; 14:27). We have
become so accustomed to this expression—"taking up one's
cross"—in the sense of "being prepared for trials in general for
Christ's sake," that we are apt to lose sight of its primary and proper
sense here—"a preparedness to go forth even to crucifixion," as
when our Lord had to bear His own cross on His way to Calvary—a
saying the more remarkable as our Lord had not as yet given a hint that
He would die this death, nor was crucifixion a Jewish mode of capital
39. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he
that loseth his life for my sake shall find it—another of
those pregnant sayings which our Lord so often reiterates (Mt
16:25; Lu 17:33; Joh 12:25).
The pith of such paradoxical maxims depends on the double sense
attached to the word "life"—a lower and a higher, the natural and
the spiritual, the temporal and eternal. An entire sacrifice of the
lower, with all its relationships and interests—or, a willingness
to make it which is the same thing—is indispensable to the
preservation of the higher life; and he who cannot bring himself to
surrender the one for the sake of the other shall eventually lose
40. He that receiveth you—entertaineth
receiveth me; and he that receiveth me,
receiveth him that sent me—As the treatment which an
ambassador receives is understood and regarded as expressing the light
in which he that sends him is viewed, so, says our Lord here, "Your
authority is Mine, as Mine is My Father's."
41. He that receiveth a prophet—one
divinely commissioned to deliver a message from heaven. Predicting
future events was no necessary part of a prophet's office, especially
as the word is used in the New Testament.
in the name of a prophet—for his
office's sake and love to his master. (See 2Ki 4:9 and see on 2Ki
shall receive a prophet's reward—What
an encouragement to those who are not prophets! (See Joh 3:5-8).
and he that receiveth a righteous man in the
name of a righteous man—from sympathy with his character and
esteem for himself as such
shall receive a righteous man's
reward—for he must himself have the seed of righteousness who
has any real sympathy with it and complacency in him who possesses
42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of
these little ones—Beautiful epithet! Originally taken from
13:7. The reference is to
their lowliness in spirit, their littleness in the eyes of an
undiscerning world, while high in Heaven's esteem.
a cup of cold water only—meaning, the
in the name of a disciple—or, as it is
in Mark (Mr
9:41), because ye are
Christ's: from love to Me, and to him from his connection with Me.
verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose
his reward—There is here a descending climax—"a
prophet," "a righteous man," "a little one"; signifying that however
low we come down in our services to those that are Christ's, all that
is done for His sake, and that bears the stamp of love to His blessed
name, shall be divinely appreciated and owned and rewarded.