Matthew – God’s Purposes
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. 2 Here are the names of the twelve apostles:
first, Simon (also called Peter),
then Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee),
John (James’s brother),
Matthew (the tax collector),
James (son of Alphaeus),
4 Simon (the zealot),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
THINK ABOUT IT…
Jesus gathered the Twelve, (even the one who would betray Him), and gave them authority to do what He was doing. This multiplied the efforts to do the will of the Father. (Duh, we are still not great at doing this in God’s church as well as we should.)
Note the order of the list of names with their former life descriptions of who they were before Jesus brought them into His work. First, Simon Peter “upon whom I will build my church” says Jesus later. It is interesting to see how Matthew lists them in what seems to be a priority order according to what Jesus asks them to do. All will contribute to the Kingdom work in some way. Some are given much to do and some not as much. Some are mentioned more than others in God’s Word, but all are equal and are with Him now….except Judas who betrayed Jesus for a few coins. Keep an eye on Judas as we precede and we will learn what is more important to him than life eternal with Jesus.
LEADERSHIP 101 – READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY!
I know we humans would rather put something together with only looking at the pictures and assuming how it might be, but to read the instructions carefully is the bigger picture of what God wants. If we follow the instructions and lay down our self righteous attitudes thinking we can be better than the instructions (or the Instructor), our reward will be great. There is MUCH to be learned here. Read slowly, thoughtfully, carefully, gleaning insights from God’s Holy Spirit that maybe you haven’t thought of before.
Matthew 10, NLT
Let us continue…
5 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, 6 but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. 7 Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!
9 “Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. 10 Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.
11 “Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. 12 When you enter the home, give it your blessing. 13 If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. 14 If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. 15 I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.
16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.
24 “Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. 25 Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!
26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’
37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
40 “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. 42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT:
Wow. What encouragement along with extreme challenges! “If you cling…”
What am I clinging to that I need to let go of in my walk with God doing what He has invited me to do?
What did you learn? What is applicable to what you are going through right now on your journey in God’s work?
Dear Heavenly Father,
You encourage and challenge us at the same time. We have a healthy fear and respect for You, our God. We want to be what YOU want us to be. We want Your desires for us to be YOUR desires. Call, prep then send is your method of operation. Help us to not skip over directions or any of these steps on our journey to doing all that pleases you while helping others find and follow you, too! Thank you for teaching us through your disciples through the ages. Help us to be those who pass on to others what you have given to us. Freely received. Freely give. Yes, I get it!
In Jesus Name, Amen