Prepping disciples for a mission trip
Jesus gives disciples power to heal1Jesus met with his 12 disciples. He gave them the ability to perform exorcisms and to heal every kind of sickness and disease. 2Here are the 12 he appointed: First, there was Simon, also known as Peter. Then there was Peter’s brother, Andrew, along with James and John, the sons of Zebedee, 3Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, 4Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
Disciples on a road trip5Jesus gave his disciples these instructions before sending them out on a mission trip. “Stay away from people who aren’t Jews. Don’t go into any Samaritan towns. 6I want you to focus on the lost sheep among the Jewish people.
7“Wherever you go, I want you to deliver this message: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven has come, and it’s near us now.’ 8Make sick people well again. Bring the dead back to life. Heal the lepers. Drive demons out of the demon-possessed. Do all of this for free. You didn’t pay for the ability to do this. So don’t accept money for doing it.
9“Don’t take any money with you. No gold. No silver. No copper. 10Don’t take any travel bag. Don’t take an extra pair of clothes or extra sandals. Don’t even take a walking stick. When you’re doing work like this, people should take care of you and give you whatever you need.
11“Whenever you go into a city or a small village, check around and find out who would be worthy of having you stay with them as a guest. Then stay there until it’s time for you to move on to another town. 12Whenever you visit someone and you go inside that person’s house, offer a greeting. 13Greet them with a blessing of peace if they deserve it. But if it turns out they don’t deserve it, take back that blessing of peace.
14“If anyone refuses to welcome you or to listen to what you have to say—whether it’s a city or a household—shake that person’s dirt off your feet and leave. 15I’m telling you, come Judgment Day, the people of any town that rejected you will be worse off than the people of Sodom.
Warning: trouble ahead16“Listen carefully. Here’s what I’m doing to you. I’m sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So stay sharp as a snake and innocent as a dove. 17Be careful around people. Some of them will take you to court. Others will beat you in the synagogues.
18“Because of me, you’ll be arrested and brought to trial in front of governors and kings. They’ll order you to testify about me. You’ll do it in front of them and people who aren’t Jews. 19When you get arrested, don’t worry about what to say when it’s time to defend yourself. The words will come when you need them. 20You won’t be the one doing the talking. Your Father’s Spirit will be talking through you.
21“Family members will report each other to the authorities for execution. Brother against brother. Father against child. Children against parents. Each one betrayed will die. 22People everywhere will hate you because you associate yourself with my name.  But those of you who keep the faith to the very end will be the ones who are saved.
23“When people in a town start targeting you with their attacks, get out of town fast. Move on to another town. Now listen up, because I’m telling you the truth. Before you’re done taking your message to all the towns in Israel, the Son of Humans will come.
Calling Christians bad names24“A student isn't thought of as more important than a teacher. And a slave isn’t more important than a master. 25It’s hard enough for a student to aspire to be like the teacher and for the slave to be like the master. If people have called the head of a family Satan, they’re going to slander the rest of the family too. Count on it.
Enemies can’t hurt your soul26“Don’t be afraid of the people who attack you. Everything that’s currently hidden is going to get found. 27What I have said to you privately, in the shadows, you need to declare to everyone in the light of day. What you have heard me whisper into your ears is what you need to yell from the housetops. 28Don’t be afraid of anyone who can kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the one who can destroy both the body and the soul in judgment.
29“Can’t you buy two sparrows for one copper coin? Yet when one sparrow dies and falls to the ground, your Father knows it. 30Even the hairs of your head have been counted. 31So don’t be afraid. You’re more important to God than a sky full of sparrows.
Take a stand for Jesus32“If you take a stand for me in front of the people in this world, I’ll take a stand for you in front of my Father in heaven. 33But if you turn your back on me while people in this world are watching, I’ll turn my back on you when my Father in heaven is watching.
Families will split34“Don’t get the idea I came here to bring peace. I didn’t bring peace. I brought fighting.
35Because of me, a son will turn against his dad,
a daughter against her mom,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36If people want to find their own worst enemies,
they won’t have to look any further than their own family. 37“You can’t be my disciple if you love your dad or mom or son or daughter more than you love me. 38If you can’t carry your cross of suffering as you follow me, you can’t follow me. 39People who try to save themselves will die because of it. People who lose their lives for my sake will live.
Where there’s a welcome, there’s a reward40“If someone welcomes you, as far as I’m concerned, they’re welcoming me. And anyone who welcomes me is welcoming my Father, who sent me. 41Here’s how you get a reward fit for a prophet. Welcome a prophet just because that person is a prophet. Here’s how you get a reward fit for a good-hearted person whom God loves. Welcome a good-heartedperson only because that person has a good heart.
42“Let me tell you something about people who welcome these disciples of mine only because these messengers are my disciples. Anyone who gives them so much as a cup of cold water to drink is going to get rewarded for it. That’s the truth.”
Thaddaeus shows up in only Matthew’s list. Scholars generally guess this was another name for Judas, the son of James (Luke 6:16).
“Zealot” is more literally “Cananaean.” Scholars say this word has nothing to do with the land of Canaan, which is now the nation of Israel and Palestinian territories. It’s a Greek word that some Bible experts trace back to an Aramaic word meaning “zealous.” Scholars say it likely refers to a Jewish rebel movement known as the Zealots. They used guerrilla warfare and terror tactics in an attempt to drive out the Roman-occupying forces from the Jewish homeland. Zealots wanted to restore Israel as an independent nation.
This message is the same one John the Baptist delivered. See 3:2.
A blessing like this one could have been a short prayer asking God to shower the household with his kindness and give them happiness. The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, is a bit like saying, “May everything go well for you, and may you feel fulfilled and comfortable in God’s care.”
Ancient Jewish writings report that Jews would shake the dust off their sandals when they got back home after traveling in Gentile territory. Many Jews considered non-Jewish people as ritually unclean. After coming into contact with them, those Jews went through cleansing rituals before they would worship at the Jerusalem Temple. Shaking the dirt off sandals at someone was a way of saying, “I’m done with you and delighted to give you back your space and the dirt that goes with it.”
This quote refers to Old Testament passages that talk about Judgment Day, including Zechariah 12:3-4 and Jeremiah 30:8.
For people to be worse off than the victims of Sodom and Gomorrah, that’s saying a lot. Those cities got scorched off the planet in a firestorm, with no trace of them left behind (Genesis 19:24).
Followers of Jesus became known as Christians, taking their name from “Christ,” a title that identified Jesus as the Messiah, the Anointed One promised by the prophets. First-century Roman historian Tacitus (about AD 56-120) described Christians as “a class hated for their abominations. . . . Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate.”
Bible experts offer many theories about how to explain the apparent mistake Jesus made when he seemed to say the Second Coming would take place during the generation in which the disciples lived. Perhaps the most popular theory among scholars is that the humanity of Jesus was showing and he got the timing wrong. He admitted elsewhere that he didn’t know when the Second Coming would take place (Matthew 24:36). Another theory is that he was talking about some big event, such as the arrival of the Holy Spirit during the Jewish festival of Pentecost a couple of months after his crucifixion (Acts 2). Yet another theory is that he may have been talking about the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple about 40 years later in AD 70.
The word for Satan is “Beelzebub.” Jewish leaders said Jesus could do miracles because “he’s possessed by Beelzebub. He uses the power of the prince of demons to drive out the demons” (Mark 3:22). Many Bible experts say the word Beelzebub comes from a Hebrew expression meaning “master of the home,” though some suggest “master of the poop.” Well, okay, they say “dung.” The word seemed to have become a title for Satan.
Some Bible experts say Matthew was referring to the message of the good news about the Kingdom of Heaven, which many people didn’t know anything about. It was a message hidden from them, but would one day be revealed to them by the preaching of the disciples and other Christians. Luke, however, uses a similar quote to show Jesus warning the disciples about their own behavior: “Everything you said under the cover of night is going to get repeated in the light of day. And everything you whispered in the privacy of a room is going to get broadcast everywhere” (Luke 12:3).
The phrase is more literally “destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Many Bibles translate Gehenna as “hell.” Gehenna, also known as the Valley of Hinnom, was located on the southwest side of Jerusalem. Jews offered human sacrifices there (2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31). Later, the people used it as a city dump, with a fire that was constantly smoldering. The name became a metaphor describing God’s judgment. That’s because after the Jews started worshiping idols and sacrificing their own children in Gehenna, the Bible says God sent invaders from the Babylonian Empire in what is now Iraq. The Babylonians temporarily wiped the Jewish nation off the political map, destroying Jerusalem and leveling the Temple.
The copper coin was a Roman assarion. Sixteen of these coins would have equaled one denarius, which was considered one day’s wage for a hired worker (Matthew 20:2; John 12:5).
Literally, “a sword.”
Jesus borrows the words of a prophet, Micah 7:6, and uses them to describe how his ministry will split families.
Context clues from the previous verses suggest Jesus was talking about people who turn their backs on him because that’s what their families want them to do.
Jesus may be saying that anyone who tries to escape danger by publicly rejecting him will not get to live in the Kingdom of Heaven. But those people who die, rather than reject Jesus, will live on in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Greek word is dikaios, often translated as “righteous.” It can also mean innocent, just, acceptable to God.
Jesus picked a motley crew of disciples, a dirty dozen: fishermen, a tax collector, and who knows what else. Why do you think he would entrust the Christian movement to workaday grunts like this instead of to the scholarly minded or to movers and shakers?
Jesus gave his disciples “the ability to perform exorcisms” (10:1). Do you think there’s a place for that kind of ministry in the church today? Or do you think the “demons” that were exorcised were more likely physical or mental problems, such as epilepsy or multiple personality disorders?
Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission assignment. They were apparently to tell people about the teachings of Jesus. He gave them strange instructions. “Don’t take any travel bag. Don’t take an extra pair of clothes or extra sandals. Don’t even take a walking stick” (10:10). Matthew doesn’t say why Jesus did that. Why do you think he might have done that?
Jesus seems to call down fire on anyone who refuses the messengers he is sending out on this mission trip. “I’m telling you, come Judgment Day, the people in any town that rejected you will be worse off than the people of Sodom” (10:15). Luke has Jesus saying much the same to the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Bible scholars call these cities the “evangelical triangle.” This was the epicenter of Jesus’s ministry; it’s where he probably spent most of his time. He could have covered that entire triangle in a single day—starting at Capernaum in the morning and returning to Capernaum that evening. Why do you think Jesus had such searing criticism for anyone who refused to welcome the messengers he was sending out? Could he have been exaggerating to make a point?
Jesus tells the crowds that one day “Everything that’s currently hidden is going to get found” (10:26). What do you think he means by that?
Jesus tells the people not to worry about what to say when they are put on trial because of him. He says “The words will come when you need them. You won’t be the one doing the talking. Your Father’s Spirit will be talking through you” (10:19-20). Do you think advice like that is for us today, or just for the people in that generation?
Jesus says, “Before you’re done taking you’re message to all the towns in Israel, the Son of Humans will come” (10:23). But in Luke 13:10, he seems to put it the opposite way. Before he comes back, “the good news needs to be preached to people everywhere.” Two questions. How do you react to the Matthew quote that seems to suggest Jesus is about 2,000 years late in coming back? As for the quote in Mark, are we there yet? There are a lot of people who have never heard anything about Jesus.
Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid of anyone who can kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the one who can destroy both the body and the soul in judgment” (10:28). Is he talking about God? And if so, how comfortable do you feel about the God of love doing something like that?
What cross do you think Jesus is talking about when he says “If you can’t carry your cross of suffering as you follow me, you can’t follow me” (10:38)?
LIFE APPLICATION. Jesus warned the disciples he was sending out on a mission trip, “I’m sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So stay sharp as a snake and innocent as a dove. Be careful around people” (10:16-17). Do you think that advice is relevant today for anyone who wants to talk about religion?
LIFE APPLICATION. Jesus said he did not come to bring peace on earth. He said, “I brought fighting” (10:34). Luke quoted Jesus this way: “My being here is going to have the opposite effect. I’m going to cause divisions” (Luke 12:51). How have you seen that happen?