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The Twelve Are Sent Out

10 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal every disease and every sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles. First, Simon, who is called Peter (‘the rock’), and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector, James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean; and Judas Iscariot (who betrayed him).

Jesus sent these Twelve off with these instructions.

‘Don’t go into Gentile territory,’ he said, ‘and don’t go into a Samaritan town. Go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, declare publicly that the kingdom of heaven has arrived. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse people with skin diseases, cast out demons.

‘It was all free when you got it; make sure it’s free when you give it. Don’t take any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 no bag for the road, no second cloak, no sandals, no stick. Workers deserve their pay.

11 ‘When you go into a town or village, make careful enquiry for someone who is good and trustworthy, and stay there until you leave. 12 When you go into the house give a solemn greeting. 13 If the house is trustworthy, let your blessing of peace rest upon it, but if not, let it return to you. 14 If anyone won’t welcome you or listen to your message, go out of the house or the town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 I’m telling you the truth: it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.’

Sheep among Wolves

16 ‘See here,’ Jesus continued, ‘I’m sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes, and as innocent as doves.

17 ‘Watch out for danger from people around you. They will hand you over to councils, and flog you in their synagogues. 18 You will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as evidence to them and to the nations. 19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry how to speak or what to say. What you have to say will be given to you at that moment. 20 It won’t be you speaking, you see; it will be the spirit of your father speaking in you.

21 ‘One brother will betray another to death; fathers will betray children, and children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who holds out to the end will be delivered.

23 ‘When they persecute you in one town, run off to the next one. I’m telling you the truth: you won’t have gone through all the towns of Israel before the son of man comes.’

Warnings and Encouragements

24 ‘The disciple isn’t greater than the teacher; the slave isn’t greater than the master. 25 It’s quite enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave to be like the master. If they called the master of the house ‘Beelzebul’, think what they’re going to call his family!

26 ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Nothing is hidden, you see, that won’t come to light; nothing is secret that won’t be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light, and what you hear whispered in your ears, announce from the roofs of the houses.

28 ‘Don’t be afraid of people who can kill the body, but can’t kill the soul. The one you should be afraid of is the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna. 29 How much would you get for a couple of sparrows? A single copper coin if you’re lucky? And not one of them falls to the ground without your father knowing about it. 30 When it comes to you – why, every hair on your head is counted. 31 So don’t be afraid! You’re worth much more than a great many sparrows.’

Jesus Causes Division

32 ‘So: everyone who owns up in front of others to being on my side, I will own them before my father in heaven. 33 But anyone who disowns me in front of others, I will disown that person before my father in heaven.

34 ‘Don’t think it’s my job to bring peace on the earth. I didn’t come to bring peace – I came to bring a sword! 35 I came to divide a man from his father, a daughter from her mother, and a daughter-in-law from her mother-in-law. 36 Yes, you’ll find your enemies inside your own front door.

37 ‘If you love your father or mother more than me, you don’t deserve me. If you love your son or daughter more than me, you don’t deserve me. 38 Anyone who doesn’t pick up their cross and follow after me doesn’t deserve me. 39 If you find your life you’ll lose it, and if you lose your life because of me you’ll find it.

40 ‘Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and anyone who receives an upright person in the name of an upright person will receive an upright person’s reward. 42 Anyone who gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, in the name of a disciple – I’m telling you the truth, they won’t go short of their reward!’

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