Jesus called His twelve disciples and sent them out with authority to drive out impure spirits and heal every disease and sickness, along with some instructions. This was similar to how a professor sends out students into the world to survive with the lessons they learnt and provide advice and guidance to face the world after finishing their college education.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.Matthew 10:5-6
Jesus specifically asked the disciples not to go among the gentiles but among the lost sheep of Israel. Though the Israelites knew who God was, they did not actually know Him from their hearts.
As John 4:22 says, salvation is from the Jews and these Jews were actually chosen to be the light to emit God’s bright love to the entire human race. In the book of Acts we see how the gospel was shared to the gentiles also. Jesus sent His disciples to freely share the love that they had received.
… Freely you have received; freely give.Matthew 10:8
Jesus asked them not to take anything valuable or any extra thing. Jesus was teaching them to be completely dependent on Him. He asked them to stay in the same town or village until they left for the next town. Jesus wanted them to focus on their work and not look for comfort and roam around.
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.Matthew 10:14
Seems a little harsh to say “shake the dust off your feet”, but what Jesus tells us here is to not waste our time in going to people who are not ready to listen. If the other person does not want to hear, we should not fight or argue but pray and leave it to God.
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.Matthew 10:16
Jesus told His disciples to be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves. This seems quite confusing, how can one be shrewd and innocent? Jesus wants us to be shrewd to seek His guidance and understand the ways of the evil one. We need to be innocent in this world by completely depending on God for everything and not taking anything in our own hands.
Jesus also told them that there will be persecution for His name’s sake and in such a situation, the Spirit of the Father will be speaking through us. When we are doing His work, troubles are bound to come. It could be even using the people close to us but God assures us that His Spirit will always be with us and will help us navigate those tough times.
The world never treated Jesus well and if He was not treated well, who are we? The pharisees even accused Jesus to be beelzebul. So Jesus tried to teach His disciples that even they would face the same accusations. Jesus never worried about trials and tribulations of this world because He was in constant communion with God. Jesus expects the same from us as He is ready to guide us and reveal everything to us.
So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.Matthew 10:26
Jesus asked His disciples not to worry about those who can harm just the outer body but to be afraid of the One who can harm the body and soul in hell. The worldly people can at most harm our outward self but we need to know that the eternal fire will be unbearable and God will throw us down there if we do not mend our ways. Jesus reassures our importance to Him and asks us not to worry and that He is in control.
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.Matthew 10:32-33
We need to remember and acknowledge Jesus as our savior and believe that He is from God and died and rose again to bring victory over sin. Unless we truly accept His love from our heart, we will not be able to acknowledge Him.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.Matthew 10:34
The above verse seems confusing. We equate Jesus to the Prince of Peace but Jesus is saying that He did not come to bring peace. Since childhood, we have been taught that family comes first.
Even in animal kingdom, the female kangaroo nourishes its joey for nine months in its pouch after birth. Similarly a male sea horse carries its babies for almost two weeks in its pouch. The attachment towards our families comes naturally for everybody but what does Jesus mean when He says “a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household”.
Whenever we try to come closer to God, satan gets worried and tries to distract us from God. When we keep our family, career or anything else on top then we would have a peaceful life as satan has nothing to worry about as we tend to forget God and move in the opposite direction in the ways of this world.
Jesus’ own family ridiculed Him and called Him “out of His mind” when He was gaining enemies in the form of the temple elders. Jesus came to bring peace between Him and us so that we can be in constant communion with Him.
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”Matthew 10:42
If we are welcomed by someone then they are welcoming Jesus and in turn welcoming God and the reward for that is in heaven.
A cup of cold water is perhaps the least we could do for our guests. Jesus calls even this as an act of hospitality one which is appreciated by God when shown to His disciples.
We are placed in this world with the purpose of spreading the Kingdom of God to others and God will help us in every way when we are on this mission. He will never leave us nor forsake us just as He taught His disciples while sending them out into the world. It is up to us if we are ready to depend on Him to carry out His mission.