Read: Matthew 10
As we enter into Matthew 10, we see Jesus calling the twelve apostles. Although the apostles were a special group and there are none today, we can relate to some of their experiences, which stand out in this passage.
First, the apostles were sent out to proclaim the “kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Likewise, we have the Great Commission (Matt 28:19) to be sent out ones. The circumstances of the apostles were different. Our message isn’t exclusively to the Jewish people, however, as Paul illustrates in Romans 1:16, there was a Jewish priority for the gospel message. Now that message is available to all people in all places, and it is our divine obligation to take it, or help others take it, to the furthest corners—which considering this was written around Jerusalem—also includes your work and neighborhood.
Second, Jesus tells them, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” I love the phrase, “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” It’s such a vivid picture of how we are to move about this world. Although Jesus told the apostles their fates specifically in this passage, we too face danger in proclaiming Christ. People lose jobs, family members, children, and much more when they live sold out for Jesus. The key to navigating in the Enemy’s territory is both wisdom and innocence.
Third, Jesus said, “Have no fear of them.” One of the main reasons people don’t share is because they're afraid. They’re afraid of what others will think. They’re afraid the other person will think they’re judgey. They’re afraid they won’t know the right answers and will look dumb. Jesus warns us not to fear people at all—“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” You think that got the apostles’ attention? Death is not the worst fate of a person, there is much much worse.
Fourth, Jesus said, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Hopefully, it’s sinking in that what Jesus was asking of His apostles, what He asks of you and me, is far more D-Day than Woodstock. As I heard a former ministry leader say several times of his missionaries, “I want them to run at Hell with a squirt gun.”
Finally, Jesus said to the apostles, “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” I hate to bust your bubble, but we don’t have any words written by Jesus Himself. What we have in the pages of Scripture is the testimony of the very men standing before Jesus in Matthew 10. In receiving the message of the apostles, we receive Christ Himself—and through that we receive an imperishable reward.
What stands out to you in this passage? What challenges you, frightens or sobers you, as you think about living out your Christian faith publicly?
By: Tyler Short
Thanks for the commentary Tyler! It is a sobering reminder that following Jesus is not a promise of an easy life-one that I am accustomed to and expect. Jesus is very honest with his disciples-they persecuted me and they will persecute you. This is a spiritual war. Here in America the lines are blurred because Christians can follow Jesus and live a comfortable life, but it’s not that way in most of the world. With more freedom there should be more boldness, but sadly that it often not the case. I see this in myself and am asking Jesus to change me.
Great word Jordan. Super challenging.
Jesus warns us not to fear people at all—“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” You think that got the apostles’ attention? Death is not the worst fate of a person, there is much much worse.
Good word today Tyler! I have loved old cowboy movies since my childhood in the 60s & 70s. I used to watch them with my father & grandfather on Sunday afternoons after church and lunch. In 2003 a movie called Open Range was released starring Robert Duval & Kevin Costner. It was a throw back to the old westerns where Duval & Costner were the good guy cowboys fighting an evil cattleman and his henchmen who had taken over a town. As the plot unfolds and the going gets tough, Costner's character, Charlie Wade, says "there are things that gnaw at a man worse than dyin".
As followers of Christ we should expect to face adversity & evil as we share the gospel. Jesus clearly tells His followers there are things worse than dying. I pray the church will boldly share Jesus as our culture grows increasingly hostile to the gospel. Paul says in Philippians 1:21 & 22, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!
Few, if any, of us have faced physical persecution or death for following Jesus like Paul and many of the believers in the first century church. I pray we will be prepared and fight the good fight when that day comes. Thanks again Tyler for the commentary today.
Thanks Mike. I appreciate you.
Good word Tyler. The way of God often conflicts with the way of culture, doesn't it? Thanks for the encouragement to move forward in our faith without fear.
Awesome. Thanks Mike.
The biggest thing that stands out to me is in verses 9-11, which is right after God calling and sending the apostles. He is telling them to go, but don’t bring any resources with you, only rely on what God will provide. How hard would this have been? They were going to new places, doing uncomfortable things, and God says to rely on Him for everything. God provided the right people and resources for His work then, so we can fully rely on Him to do the same today. Great encouragement!
Good word Scottie.
Over and over I keep seeing the cost of discipleship highlighted in my reading, especially so from Matthew 10 today. I believe we all, especially in the American church, have so much room to grow in taking the call to take up our crosses and deny self as we follow Jesus. My prayer is that the Lord would start a great work in all of us to show us where we lack in these areas.