Jesus Sends Out The Twelve

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.

“Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” — Matthew 10:5-15.

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel

The kingdom of heaven is being offered to Israel first. The focus of this first mission of the disciples, like that of Jesus before His suffering, death, and resurrection (15:24), was to the natural heirs of the kingdom. Jesus does not prohibit preaching to Gentiles encountered during the mission to Israel, but He did not send the disciples at this point into Gentile areas.

Preach . . . heal . . . raise — Jesus is authorizing/enabling the disciples to do the same signs of the kingdom that He performed in chapters 8 and 9.

Freely you have received, freely give. — The Gospel is free

The kingdom was given to the disciples freely; to peddle the message would insult God and obscure the nature of the gospel as a free gift. Nevertheless they will be sustained; they do not need extra travel money and provisions (vvs. 9, 10). This is a model for Christian life in general. Jesus is warning against the temptation to be consumed with materialism, so He says to not take anything along for the journey. He wants them to learn that everything they need comes from Him.

1. The gospel should ALWAYS be offered free of charge.
2. They are not to charge money for their ministry.
3. People should never confuse money with the gospel.
4. It is always a privilege to preach the gospel.

The Disciples are to expect mixed reactions (vss.10-13) — Some will receive them and their message and others would not. They are to stay in a worthy household that is above reproach, during the course of their stay at a particular place.

Shake off the dust from your feet. That is, the dust on one’s garment (lengthy clothing they wore) kicked up by the sandals on the feet. Jews sometimes shook the dust off their clothing when returning from Gentile lands as a sign of contempt; Jesus uses it here as a sign of judgment. A town that did not receive the disciples did not receive Jesus, and became subject to a worse judgment than Sodom and Gomorrah.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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