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Matthew gives a summary of what Jesus has done—teaching, preaching, and healing—and why He has done it—because of His compassion. Jesus then calls His disciples to this same type of ministry. The following sermon that Jesus gives to His disciples is the second of the five main sermons in Matthew.

10 Jesus called His twelve disciples to Him. He endowed them with the authority to heal sickness and disease and to drive demons out of those who were possessed.

Up to this point, the disciples have been, mostly, following Jesus around, listening to Him teach, watching Him heal. And so now we call these twelve beloved men not merely “disciples,” or “apprentices,” but “apostles,” which means “those who are sent as representatives, emissaries.” Jesus is preparing to send them into the harvest field to do His Father’s work.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: Simon (who is called Peter, which means “the rock”) and his brother Andrew; James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew (the tax collector); James, son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot (who would betray Him).

Jesus sent out these twelve with clear instructions.

Jesus: Don’t go to the outsiders or to the towns inhabited by Samaritans, a people whose Jewish ancestors married Gentiles. Go instead to find and heal the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse those who have leprosy. Drive out demons from the possessed. You received these gifts freely, so you should give them to others freely. Do not take money with you: don’t take gold, silver, or even small, worthless change. 10 Do not pack a bag with clothes. Do not take sandals or a walking stick. Be fed and sheltered by those who show you hospitality. 11 When you enter a town or village, look for someone who is trustworthy and stay at his house as long as you are visiting that town. 12 When you enter this home, greet the household kindly. 13 And if the home is indeed trustworthy, let your blessing of peace rest upon it; if not, keep your blessing to yourself. 14 If someone is inhospitable to you or refuses to listen to your testimony, leave that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. 15 This is the truth: Sodom and Gomorrah, those ancient pits of inhospitality, will fare better on judgment day than towns who ignore you tomorrow or next week.

16 Listen: I am sending you out to be sheep among wolves. You must be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves. 17 You must be careful. You must be discerning. You must be on your guard. There will be men who try to hand you over to their town councils and have you flogged in their synagogues. 18 Because of Me, naysayers and doubters will try to make an example out of you by trying you before rulers and kings. 19 When this happens—when you are arrested, dragged to court—don’t worry about what to say or how to say it. The words you should speak will be given to you. For at that moment, 20 it will not be you speaking; it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 Your task will be fraught with betrayal: brother will betray brother, even to the point of death; fathers will betray their children, and children will rebel against their fathers, even to the point of death. 22-23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next town. This is the truth: you will not be able to witness to every town in Israel before the Son of Man comes. Everyone will hate you because of Me. But remember: the one who stays on the narrow path until the end will be saved.

24 A student is no greater than his teacher, and a servant is never greater than his master. 25 It is sufficient if the student is like his teacher and the servant like his master. If people call the head of a house “Beelzebul,” which means “devil,” just imagine what they’re calling the members of his household.

26 Do not be afraid of those who may taunt or persecute you. Everything they do—even if they think they are hiding behind closed doors—will come to light. All their secrets will eventually be made known. 27 And you should proclaim in the bright light of day everything that I have whispered to you in the dark. Whatever whispers you hear—shout them from the rooftops of houses.

28 Don’t fear those who aim to kill just the body but are unable to touch the soul. The One to fear is He who can destroy you, soul and body, in the fires of hell. 29 Look, if you sold a few sparrows, how much money would you get? A copper coin apiece, perhaps? And yet your Father in heaven knows when those small sparrows fall to the ground. 30-31 You, beloved, are worth so much more than a whole flock of sparrows. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. So do not fear.

32 Whoever knows Me here on earth, I will know him in heaven. And whoever proclaims faith in Me here on earth, I will proclaim faith in him before My Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns Me here, I will disown before My Father in heaven.

34 Do not imagine that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 I have come to turn men against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. 36 You will find you have enemies even in your own household.[a] 37 If you love your father or mother more than you love Me, then you are not worthy of Me. If you love your son or daughter more than you love Me, then you are not worthy of Me. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow Me on the narrow road, then you are not worthy of Me. 39 To find your life, you must lose your life—and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Jesus calls His disciples to a radical commitment. Those who truly follow Jesus must be willing to follow Him to the point of death, just as He will later die for His commitment to God and others. Thus, whether they die literally or figuratively, His followers give up their lives for Him.

Jesus: 40 Anyone who welcomes you welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me. 41 Anyone who welcomes a prophet and surrenders to his prophecy will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who welcomes a righteous person and conforms to the righteousness that surrounds him and proceeds from him will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And anyone who has given so much as a cup of cold water to one of the little ones, because he is My disciple, I tell you, that person will be well rewarded.

Footnotes

  1. 10:36 Micah 7:6

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