The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Matthew 10

Mat 10:1

Mat 10: "The selection of twelve men as apostles of the Lord Yahshua, reflects the tribal structure of Israel, the sons of Jacob. But these twelve men were not only to be involved in the Lord's ministry; they were to manifest his teachings and principles to the 'whole house of Israel. The Master sent them forth with power to testify to his teaching, and to reveal the means to ultimate redemption. The 'power over unclean spirits' and the 'healing of all sickness' were but a token of the real redemption of the body through the development of the spiritual qualities of the Master. Thus, ultimately this corruptible will put on incorruption. So the twelve men were instructed in the way by which their preaching should be undertaken. The record reveals: (1) The apostles selected: vv 1-4. (2) Christ instructs his apostles on the mission: vv 5-15. (3) Their attitudes amidst enemies: vv 16-18. (4) Their defence to be in God: vv 19-22. (5) Their reception would be hostile: vv 23-25. (6) Their preaching to be fearless: vv 26-31. (7) Their pleasure is in doing God's will: vv 32,33. (8) Their life to be a dedicated sacrifice: vv 34-39. (9) Their reward is assured: vv 40-42. These instructions provide the platform for successful witnessing to the world. Such should be based upon a clear, comprehensive explanation of the Word, accompanied by prayer, trust in Yahweh, and a full commitment. In that spirit, the true believer must continue to reflect this chapter in the work of the Truth today" (GEM).

Mat 10:2

Joshua had taken 12 stones out of Jordan, as a token of Israel's dedication to turn the Land of Promise into God's Kingdom. Jesus ("Joshua") now selects 12 men (the first, Peter, a "stone"), baptized in Jordan, to become foundation stones of a new Jerusalem (Rev 21:14). Cp Num 11:25: Moses delegates 70 elders to assist him.

Mat 10:3

MATTHEW THE TAX COLLECTOR: Only Matthew, of the 3 synoptic gospels, mentions his odious profession.

Mat 10:4

SIMON THE ZEALOT: Simon the "tax-hater" (being a Zealot!) joined Matthew the "tax collector". "Strange bed-fellows!"

ISCARIOT: Prob "Man of Kerioth", town in south Judea (Jos 15;25). If so, the only non-Galilean (Act 2:7). His father is mentioned (Joh 6:71) -- thus prob a well-known (and rich?) family.

Mat 10:5

TWELVE: Cp 12 springs at Marah (Exo 15:27). Cp Luk 10:1,2: another "12" and "70"!

DO NOT GO AMONG THE GENTILES OR ENTER ANY TOWN OF THE SAMARITANS: Many of Samaria had accepted Christ (Joh 4), but the time had not yet come to continue preaching to them (Acts 1:8; 8:25).

Mat 10:7

"In what way had the kingdom come near? To the eastern mind a kingdom is not a kind of constitutional pyramid with a king at its decorative apex; the kingdom emanates from the king, it is the extension of his kingly power" (SMk 21).

Mat 10:8

FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE: Generally cited Act 20:35. See Lesson, Giving (IC).

Mat 10:9

Not so unusual in the Mideast (LB 345). Hospitality was expected.
Similar provisions (no extra money, no shoes, no staff, etc) were enjoined upon temple worshipers (Temple 65). The disciples were now engaged in the service of the true "temple", Christ!

Mat 10:10

OR EXTRA TUNIC: Not necessary at all in the ANE. Merely ostentatious.

Mat 10:11

"Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house" (Luk 10:7).

Mat 10:14

SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET: The practice of pious Jews before entering the Holy Land after a journey abroad. Used in Act 13:51.

Or, because their feet had not been washed as was custom.

Mat 10:17

LOCAL COUNCILS: Small courts attached to local synagogues.

Mat 10:22

What saves us? Grace (Eph 2:8,9). Hope (Rom 8:24). Belief (Mar 16:15). Baptism (1Pe 3:21). Gospel, and its memory (1Co 15:1,2). Blood of Christ (1Jo 1:7). Faith (Rom 5:1). Works (Jam 2:24). Ourselves (Act 2:40). Endurance (Mat 10:22). What saved the "drowning man"? The rock, the rope, another man, himself... or all of them?

Mat 10:23

YOU WILL NOT FINISH: Or, poss, 'you MAY not finish'. At this time, even Jesus did not have perfect knowledge of the future: Mar 13:32; Act 1:7.

BEFORE: See Lesson, AN, Conditional deferment.

Mat 10:24

And so, if the master suffers, the disciples should expect no less.

Mat 10:25

IT IS ENOUGH FOR THE STUDENT TO BE LIKE HIS TEACHER, AND THE SERVANT LIKE HIS MASTER: "No one will dispute this statement, for it would be unseemly for the servant to be exalted above his Master. When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment he received? Were his claims acknowledged, his instructions followed, his perfections worshipped, by those whom he came to bless? No; 'he was despised and rejected of men.' Outside the camp was his place: cross-bearing was his occupation. Did the world yield him solace and rest? 'Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.' This inhospitable country afforded him no shelter: it cast him out and crucified him. Such -- if you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation -- you must expect to be the lot of that part of your spiritual life which, in its outward development, comes under the observation of men. They will treat it as they treated the Saviour -- they will despise it. Dream not that worldlings will admire you, or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you. They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough? 'If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?' If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by his enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world's favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout 'Well done' to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation. Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects Him. Far be it from us to seek a crown of honour where our Lord found a crown of thorns" (CHS).

BEELZEBUB: Sig "lord of the house".

Mat 10:27

FROM THE ROOFS: To neighbors, gathered together in the evenings upon the cool roofs. Lit, "on the housetops". (Christ's example: "I spoke openly": Joh 18:20.) Cp 1Sa 9:15,25 -- God speaks in Samuel's ear, and Samuel speaks to Saul on the housetop.

Mat 10:28

SOUL: "Soul" = Gr "psuche" = life, ie, the future life: Joh 12:25; life hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3,4). None can prevent its being granted by Christ (Joh 10:27-29; cp Luk 12:4,5). Soul sometimes means the mind or innermost feelings, disposition.

DESTROY: "Apollumi": to annihilate.

HELL: "Gehenna": judicial punishment: Mar 9:43-47; Luk 12:5; Jam 3:6.

Mat 10:30

EVEN THE VERY HAIRS OF YOUR HEAD ARE ALL NUMBERED: A phrase descriptive of long life: Luk 12:7; 21:18; Mat 10:30; Acts 27:34; 1Sa 14:45; 2Sa 14:11.

Mat 10:31

YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN MANY SPARROWS: One day some workers on a British railroad found a thrush's nest under a rail. The mother bird was sitting peacefully on her eggs, undisturbed by the roar of the fast trains above and all around her.

"Said the robin to the sparrow,
'I should really like to know,
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.'
Said the sparrow to the robin,
'Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me."

Jesus used the carefree life of birds to show that worrying is unnatural. In our own lives day by day we are learning to keep our minds centered on Christ so that the worries and concerns of the world will pass, leaving nothing but a "perfect peace" in our hearts. God has taken the responsibility for our care and worry. Let us trust Him to do it, do our best each day, and be grateful for Him.

Mat 10:34

I DID NOT COME TO BRING PEACE, BUT A SWORD: "The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal himself to him more graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up his cross, know ye not what your Master said? 'I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household.' Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, he brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities. Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. Follow right manfully in your Master's steps, for he has traversed this rough way before you" (CHS).

A SWORD: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Heb 4:12).

Mat 10:36

The preaching of gospel from house to house will create antagonisms (cp vv 13,14).

Mat 10:38

Vv 38-40: Note Jesus' constant repetition of these themes: Mat 16:25; Mar 8:34,35; Luk 9:23,24; 10:16; 14:27; 17:33; Joh 13:20.

Mat 10:40

RECEIVES: Prob in the sense of "support or provide for". The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike" (1Sa 30:24).

Mat 10:41

A RIGHTEOUS MAN: Some prophets were NOT righteous men!

Mat 10:42

A CUP OF COLD WATER: "We have heard of young sisters banding together for quiet, unobtrusive labours in rendering occasional help to overloaded mothers; cheerful, friendly visitors who would call on older sisters, not to waste time where it was already too scarce but to render help where it was needed. Such work required tact, of course. It would never be easy and certainly not attractive to the flesh, but it might easily prove a most blessed form of giving. In such everyday matters opportunities for giving can be found without any need for searching and often it is in such prosaic matters that hearts are most touched as well as hands being eased. The cup of cold water is an expansive symbol" (PrPr).

"So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD" (2Sa 23:16).

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