Summary: God has always been on a mission. From Creation to Consumation God has been on a mission. From making us in His image to restoring us to that image, God works with missionary zeal. Matthew reveals how Jesus forms that missionary heart into the disciple
We have been studying the gospel of Matthew. Let me get a running start on today’s lesson in chapter 10 by reviewing briefly the message of Matthew thus far:
What is in the first chapter? The genealogy of Jesus and Joseph’s story. Verse 21 is the key verse: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
What’s in chapter two? The wise men who worship Jesus and the foolish king who tries to kill him. Jesus is an international figure from before birth, and a national threat from the start.
What’s in chapter three? John the Baptist preaches repentance and Christ’s coming, baptizing sinners in the Jordan river. Lo and behold, Jesus, the Christ, comes to John to be baptized! The Christ joins company with us sinners in his baptism.
What’s in chapter four? Jesus faces Satan and overcomes his temptations with the word of God. Then Jesus begins his ministry preaching the same message as John: “Repent! The Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Verse 25 says: “Great multitudes followed Him – from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and beyond the Jordan.”
Chapters 5-7 are the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus calls us the salt of the earth and the light of the world and challenges us to a righteousness that goes deep into the heart of God. Indeed, being like God is the sermon’s central theme. Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Do not store up treasures on earth, but store up treasures in heaven. You can not serve two masters!
Chapters 8-9 are snapshots of Jesus’ authority and ministry. In chapter 9 opposition arises from the Jewish religious leaders and we see how Jesus handles that.
The disciples have been taught by Jesus, trained under his ministry, and today we see how he sent them out.
There are at least 20 points in this amazing little instruction section by Jesus for the apostle’s first mission. This event is clearly not only a work of declaring the kingdom of God, but also a training experience to prepare them for the ultimate great commission to the whole world. Below are some of the things covered in this passage:
Here’s where you go. (5-6)
Here’s what you preach. (7)
Here’s what you do. (9-10 & following)
Here’s who you stay with. (11)
Here’s how you treat them. (12-15)
Here’s what you are to be like. (16)
Here’s what to watch out for. (17)
Here’s how the opposition will treat you. (17-18)
Here’s how to answer them. (19-20)
Here’s how bad it will get. (21-22)
Here’s how to respond when it gets bad. (23)
Here’s why they’ll treat you like this. (24-25)
Here’s what not to be afraid of. (26-28)
Here’s who to really be afraid of. (28)
Here’s why you have nothing to fear. (28-31)
Here’s what I’ll do for you. (32-33)
Here’s what I came for. (34-36)
Here’s how to be worthy of me, or not. (37-38)
Here’s how to find life by losing it. (39)
Here’s what will happen to those who receive you (or not). (40-42)
This discourse is very loaded and concise. In it Jesus shares with us tremendous insights into the first century efforts of spreading the kingdom of God. Here we see the apostle’s initiation into evangelistic ministry. Matthew chapter 10 has been dubbed “the limited commission” by commentators. What this means is that Jesus sent these 12 men on a short term mission trip that had clearly marked boundaries within the nation of Israel. This will just be the beginning for them. Jesus has not finished his own great work of salvation yet, therefore this is a preparatory mission. But, on the other hand, as the Lord continued to give instructions to them there is also an international scope that comes to light. In verses 18-19 Jesus describes testifying before governors and kings and even the Gentiles. Is this a foreshadowing of the conclusion of Matthew’s gospel? After Jesus finished the work of redemption by his death and resurrection, Jesus sends these same men (minus Judas who betrayed him) into all the world with the gospel, the great commission.
So, what’s in this for us?
We can learn a great deal by listening in on this earlier commission of Jesus to the twelve. God inspired this to be recorded not just so we could know that the apostles went on a mission trip before Jesus died and rose again, but to teach us things about God’s heart for us today. You see, God has always been a missionary God. As we read the entire story of scripture, God has been on a mission from the beginning! Creation itself reveals this about God. Why did God make this universe? What has God been doing throughout our history?