Matthew 10

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The Twelve Apostles

1 1And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.
2 2The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, 3who is called Peter, and 4Andrew his brother; 5James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and 6Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;[a]
4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

5 7These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of 8the Samaritans,
6 9but go rather to 10the lost sheep of 11the house of Israel.
7 And proclaim as you go, saying, 12'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
8 13Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers,[b] cast out demons. 14You received without paying; give without pay.
9 15Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts,
10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics[c] nor sandals nor a staff, for 16the laborer deserves his food.
11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart.
12 As you enter the house, 17greet it.
13 And if the house is 18worthy, let 19your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let 20your peace return to you.
14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, 21shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.
15 Truly, I say to you, 22it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for 23the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Persecution Will Come

16 24"Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be 25wise as serpents and 26innocent as doves.
17 Beware of men, for 27they will deliver you over to courts and flog you 28in their synagogues,
18 29and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, 30to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
19 31When 32they deliver you over, 33do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for 34what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.
20 35For it is not you who speak, but 36the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 37Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,
22 38and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. 39But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
23 When they 40persecute you in one town, 41flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel 42before the Son of Man comes.
24 43"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant[d] above his master.
25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. 44If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign[e] those of his household.

Have No Fear

26 "So have no fear of them, 45for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on 46the housetops.
28 And 47do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him 48who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[f]
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[g] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
30 But 49even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear not, therefore; 50you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 51So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,
33 but 52whoever denies me before men, 53I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword

34 54"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. 55I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 56For I have come 57to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 58And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.
37 59Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And 60whoever does not take his cross and 61follow me is not worthy of me.
39 62Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.


40 63"Whoever receives you receives me, and 64whoever receives me receives him who sent me.
41 65The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward.
42 And 66whoever gives one of 67these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward."

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Matthew 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

The apostles called. (1-4) The apostles instructed and sent forth. (5-15) Directions to the apostles. (16-42)

Verses 1-4 The word "apostle" signifies messenger; they were Christ's messengers, sent forth to proclaim his kingdom. Christ gave them power to heal all manner of sickness. In the grace of the gospel there is a slave for every sore, a remedy for every malady. There is no spiritual disease, but there is power in Christ for the cure of it. There names are recorded, and it is their honour; yet they had more reason to rejoice that their names were written in heaven, while the high and mighty names of the great ones of the earth are buried in the dust.

Verses 5-15 The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, till the Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles was only in their first mission. Wherever they went they must proclaim, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. They preached, to establish the faith; the kingdom, to animate the hope; of heaven, to inspire the love of heavenly things, and the contempt of earthly; which is at hand, that men may prepare for it without delay. Christ gave power to work miracles for the confirming of their doctrine. This is not necessary now that the kingdom of God is come. It showed that the intent of the doctrine they preached, was to heal sick souls, and to raise those that were dead in sin. In proclaiming the gospel of free grace for the healing and saving of men's souls, we must above all avoid the appearance of the spirit of an hireling. They are directed what to do in strange towns and cities. The servant of Christ is the ambassador of peace to whatever place he is sent. His message is even to the vilest sinners, yet it behoves him to find out the best persons in every place. It becomes us to pray heartily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to all. They are directed how to act as to those that refused them. The whole counsel of God must be declared, and those who will not attend to the gracious message, must be shown that their state is dangerous. This should be seriously laid to heart by all that hear the gospel, lest their privileges only serve to increase their condemnation.

Verses 16-42 Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent's wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God's opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God's love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, ( Acts 20:27 ) . Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God's people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ's disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.

Cross References 67

  • 1. Mark 3:13-15; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 6:13; Luke 9:1, 2
  • 2. For ver. 2-4, see Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13
  • 3. Matthew 16:18; John 1:42
  • 4. Matthew 4:18, 21
  • 5. Matthew 4:18, 21
  • 6. Matthew 9:9
  • 7. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 8. 2 Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:10; Luke 9:52; Luke 10:33; Luke 17:16; John 4:9, 39, 40; John 8:48; Acts 8:25; [Acts 1:8]
  • 9. Matthew 15:24; [Acts 3:25, 26; Acts 13:46]
  • 10. Psalms 119:176; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 50:6; [Matthew 9:36; Matthew 18:12]
  • 11. Acts 2:36; Acts 7:42; Hebrews 8:8, 10
  • 12. Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Luke 10:9
  • 13. [Matthew 11:5]
  • 14. [Isaiah 55:1; Acts 3:6; Acts 20:33, 35]
  • 15. For ver. 9-15, see Mark 6:8-11; Luke 9:3-5; [Luke 10:4-12; Luke 22:35]
  • 16. 1 Timothy 5:18; [1 Cor. 9:4, 7-14]
  • 17. [1 Samuel 25:6; 1 Chronicles 12:18]
  • 18. [Matthew 8:8; Acts 16:15]
  • 19. [See ver. 12 above]
  • 20. [See ver. 12 above]
  • 21. Acts 13:51; [Nehemiah 5:13; Acts 18:6]
  • 22. Matthew 11:24
  • 23. Genesis 18:20; Genesis 19:28; 2 Peter 2:6
  • 24. Luke 10:3; [John 17:18]
  • 25. Genesis 3:1
  • 26. Romans 16:19(Gk.); Philippians 2:15; [1 Corinthians 14:20]
  • 27. See Mark 13:9, 11; Luke 12:11, 12
  • 28. See Matthew 23:34
  • 29. [See ver. 17 above]
  • 30. See Matthew 8:4
  • 31. [See ver. 17 above]
  • 32. For ver. 19-22, [Mark 13:11-13; Luke 21:12-19; 2 Timothy 4:16, 17]
  • 33. See Matthew 6:25
  • 34. Deuteronomy 18:18; [Numbers 23:5]; See Exodus 4:12
  • 35. Luke 12:12; Acts 4:8; Acts 6:10; Acts 13:9; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 13:3; [ver. 40; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 1:1]
  • 36. [John 15:26]
  • 37. ver. 35, 36
  • 38. Matthew 24:9; John 15:18-21
  • 39. Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13; [Daniel 12:12, 13; James 5:11; Revelation 2:10]; See Hebrews 3:6
  • 40. Matthew 23:34
  • 41. [Matthew 12:15; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:25, 30; Acts 14:6; Acts 17:10, 14]
  • 42. Matthew 16:28
  • 43. Luke 6:40; John 13:16; John 15:20; [Hebrews 12:3]
  • 44. Matthew 9:34; Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15; See John 7:20
  • 45. Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; [1 Timothy 5:25]; For ver. 26-33, see Luke 12:2-9
  • 46. See Luke 5:19
  • 47. Isaiah 8:12, 13; Isaiah 51:12, 13; Jeremiah 1:8; 1 Peter 3:14
  • 48. James 4:12
  • 49. See 1 Samuel 14:45
  • 50. Matthew 6:26; Matthew 12:12
  • 51. [Romans 10:9, 10; Hebrews 10:35; Revelation 3:5]
  • 52. 2 Timothy 2:12; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:23; [Mark 8:38]
  • 53. Matthew 7:23; Matthew 25:12; Luke 13:25
  • 54. See Luke 12:51-53
  • 55. [Revelation 6:4]
  • 56. [See ver. 34 above]
  • 57. ver. 21; [Micah 7:6]
  • 58. Cited from Micah 7:6; [Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:12, 13; John 13:18]
  • 59. Luke 14:26
  • 60. Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27
  • 61. Matthew 9:9; John 8:12; John 12:26; John 21:19
  • 62. Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; John 12:25
  • 63. Luke 10:16; John 13:20; Galatians 4:14; [ver. 20; Matthew 18:5; Matthew 25:40]
  • 64. Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48; [John 12:44, 45]
  • 65. 1 Kings 17:10-15; 1 Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 4:8; [3 John 5-8]
  • 66. Matthew 25:35, 40; Mark 9:41; Hebrews 6:10
  • 67. Matthew 18:10

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Some manuscripts Lebbaeus, or Lebbaeus called Thaddaeus
  • [b]. Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13
  • [c]. Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin
  • [d]. Greek bondservant; also verse 25
  • [e]. Greek lacks will they malign
  • [f]. Greek Gehenna
  • [g]. Greek assarion, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/16 of a denarius (which was a day's wage for a laborer)

Matthew 10 Commentaries