Matthew 10: Jesus and His Disciples
Introduction: Our current series of studies on the great missionaries is focused on the life and actions of these missionaries. Our goal? To deduce how their lives and actions apply to ours. Our lesson this week starts out much differently. Instead of trying to deduce the specific principles from our missionary examples, Jesus just states the principles to His disciples. Our only question is whether these same principles apply to our missionary efforts? Let's dive into the Bible and consider this!
- The Call
- Read Matthew 10:1. Notice that the twelve are both called and authorized. Are you called by Jesus? (Read Romans 8:28-30. Do you want to advance the Kingdom of God? Do you respond in love to the love Jesus first showed you when He died for your sins? If so, you are called.)
- When you are called are you also automatically authorized to drive out evil spirits and heal disease and sickness? (The text makes it appear that authorization to do these things is a separate matter.)
- Who is authorized to do these things? I've spent years praying for various people and their various medical problems. But I've never driven out an evil spirit or had someone who was obviously and instantly healed by my prayers alone. Am I just not authorized for those things? (Read John 14:11-14. These verses say that if I have faith, I am authorized to do these miracles. I do not know if it is a matter of a lack of faith on my part or if it was not God's will to heal a sickness at that moment. Perhaps I'm not paying close enough attention to what God is doing in response to my prayers. For example, in the last month I was in the hospital praying for an 85 year-old man who was a life-long smoker and who was going in for a heart procedure that might end his life. It turned out his arteries were clear. Did my prayers clear his arteries, or were the already clear?)
- The Instructions
- Read Matthew 10:5-6. Do these instructions apply to us? (Read Acts 1:8. We see that with time the target audience has expanded.)
- Read Matthew 10:7. Is this our message? Or, was this a message directed only to a Jewish audience? (If you look at Acts 1:4-7, the discussion that Jesus had with His disciples just before He left for heaven, it was about the restoration of the kingdom. Jesus did not say that they had a new message to go along with the broader audience.)
- What is the "Kingdom of Heaven?" What do you think the disciples thought it meant when they referred to the "kingdom" in Acts 1:6? (The disciples quite clearly thought that Jesus was going to establish a kingdom on earth. The language in Acts 1:6 about "restoring" the kingdom "to Israel" leaves little doubt. Jesus refers to the heavenly kingdom - that is something else - at least in the short run.)
- Read Luke 17:20-24. This coming of the kingdom was obviously a hot topic in Jesus' day. How does Jesus describe the Kingdom of God? (He describes it two ways. First, He says it is "within you." Second, He describes it as coming like lightening that lights up the entire sky. Jesus was not only with them (He brought in the coming kingdom), but He was imparting kingdom knowledge to the disciples. However, ultimately Jesus will come again and usher in the physical Kingdom of Heaven.)
- What, then, should you be talking to others about to fulfill the command to tell others ( Matthew 10:7) "The Kingdom of Heaven is near?" (Both. The kingdom within us and the Second Coming.)
- Read Matthew 10:8. How does this instruction about healing the sick, raising the dead, and curing medical problems relate to the message that the Kingdom of Heaven is near? (Are these not all "kingdom" solutions? In the elimination of death, sickness, mourning and pain we see the Kingdom of God. Revelation 21:3-4.)
- What is Matthew 10:8 talking about when it says what has been freely received should be freely given to others? (The message of salvation and the availability of the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not pay for these things, so why not share them freely with others?)
- Read Matthew 10:9-10. How should a missionary's efforts be financed? Should you pay for your own expenses? (No. You should be paid to do this.)
- What if you have the money, and can afford to pay for your own expenses? (The text seems to assume that the disciple could bring his own money and extra clothes.)
- What do you say about Paul, who in 1 Corinthians 9 says that he has the right to be paid to do his missionary work, but that he boasts (1 Corinthians 9:15) about earning his own way? If Jesus tells us not to pay our own way, how can Paul boast about paying his own way? (If you look at the 1 Corinthians 9, you will see that Paul considers support from others a right which he has waived.)
- Read Matthew 10:11-13. What benefit can we obtain by giving lodging to a missionary? (Peace will rest on your home.)
- What do you think it means to have "peace" resting on your home? (Adam Clarke's Commentary on this text reveals that among the Hebrews this term had a very "extensive meaning: it comprehended all blessings, spiritual and temporal.")
- If the missionary had this peace to give (or take back), what does this suggest about the life of the missionary? (These blessings were part of the missionary's life!)
- Read Matthew 10:14-15. What lesson do we learn about the times when others reject our missionary message?
- How do we distinguish between wasting our time and giving others a second chance?
- Is giving others a second chance a waste of our time - in the sense that we could be presenting the gospel to someone else? (For me, building a relationship is important for sharing the gospel. If I have been building a relationship and get a neutral reaction, I need to be sure that my message will not ultimately be accepted before I turn away.)
- Read Matthew 10:16. What role does the Holy Spirit play in this process of converting others? ( John 16:7-9 tells us that the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment.)
- Can we confuse our role with that of the Holy Spirit?
- Is the reverse possible? (Our efforts need to be bathed in prayer and we need to ask for the direction, aid and blessing of the Holy Spirit. But, that is not where things end. Jesus tells us to use our brains when working to convert others.)
- The Warning
- Read Matthew 10:21-22 and Romans 2:9-10. How can you reconcile these two texts? How can "all men" hate us when at least some are being converted? (I think that Jesus was warning His disciples (and us, as a secondary matter), that just because we are doing "God's work," it does not mean that all will be peaceful and calm.)
- Read Matthew 10:23. Was Jesus just giving them false hope about His Second Coming? If I heard this, I would think that if I spread the message throughout my country, that Jesus would come back during my lifetime! (There are at least a couple of theories on this. One is that the "Son of Man comes" refers to the destruction of Jerusalem which took place about 40 years later. Another is that the text would be better translated as saying the cities will be "perfectly instructed." Israel is not yet perfectly instructed. My thought is that Jesus is sending the disciples out on a practice run. Jesus came to them in power when He died, was resurrected and spent time with them. This all happened before they had finished their work in Israel.)
- Read Matthew 10:32-33. Are you embarrassed about witnessing? About being a missionary? What promise and warning are we given if we refuse this mission?
- Friend, how about you? Are you willing to be a missionary? How about just witnessing to your neighbors? If you are embarrassed about standing for Jesus, think about the idea of Jesus being embarrassed about standing up for you!
- Next week: The Compassionate Savior.