Summary: After training and empowering His twelve Apostles, Jesus gives them some specific guidelines concerning this specific short term missionary assignment. This section closes with a declaration concerning the seriousness of their gospel message & ministry
MATTHEW 10: 7-15 [THE MESSIAH REVEALED SERIES]
KINGDOM WORKER'S MESSAGE, MINISTRY, AND METHOD
The King has trained and empowered His twelve Apostles to carry out His ministry. Now He gives them some specific guidelines concerning this specific short-term missionary assignment (CIT). The clarity and exactness of these instructions reveals the Messiah's expectations for their first non-supervised ministry experience. Later, when they have gained ministry experience and are sent out on long-term assignments, their directions will be different.
The overreaching ministry objective would be to preach that the kingdom is being set up and second to heal those oppressed by sickness or demons. The specifics as to how they are to carry out their charge are then given. This section closes with a declaration concerning the seriousness of their gospel message and ministry.
I. WORTHY WORK, 7-8.
II. WORTHY WORKERS, 9-10.
III. WORTHY WORDS, 11-15.
In verse 7 the rightful King of Israel sends His representatives to make the legitimate offer of the kingdom to the old covenant people. “And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The kingdom (3:2, 4:17,23), first proclaimed by John the Baptist (3:1), then by Jesus (4:17), is now to be proclaimed by His disciples. They are to preach, or as the present imperative indicates, to keep on preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand or has arrived, been brought near (9:35; 13:19). God's rightful reign in the hearts and lives of men is now being announced.
“The Jews were waiting for the Messiah to usher in His kingdom. They hoped for a political and military kingdom that would free them from Roman rule and bring back the days of glory under David and Solomon.” Jesus though was talking about a spiritual kingdom that begins when He is received as Lord in the hearts and lives of individuals. [Had Israel accepted her King, she would have had her long-awaited kingdom.]
The gospel offer through the sharing of Jesus Christ today still is that the kingdom is near you. Jesus, the Messiah, has begun His kingdom on earth in the hearts and lives of His followers. “One day the kingdom will be fully realized. Then evil will be destroyed and all people will live in peace with one another.” [Life Application Study Bible. NIV 1988. Zondervan. Grand Rapids, Mich. p. 1668.]
The ministry mentioned in verse 1 is restated in verse 8. “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.”
The twelve were instructed to conduct virtually the same ministry of healing and exorcism that Jesus had been conducting, even to the point of raising the dead and cleansing lepers. Their performance of this ministry is evidence that the kingdom of God has indeed arrived.
Certainly it was exciting to have authority to perform wonders with word and touch. Yet ministry is also hard and discouraging work. To keep them motivated and help them realize where the miracles come from, Jesus gave them the guiding principle “freely you have received, freely give.” They had not earned this enabling but freely received it from Jesus. "They had received their forgiveness, acceptance, position, and authority freely from Him. We today need to heed the same lesson. Believers today, in our comfortable lifestyles, tend to be hoarders of all we have received from the Lord- physical wealth, spiritual gifts for ministry, time, as well as the truth of the gospel and the authority to take it to others. We have earned none of this. It is all a gracious gift from the Father, given primarily so we might use it to further His kingdom. We must be” faithful stewards of what has been entrusted to us (1 Cor. 3:12-15; 9:24-27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Phil. 3:7-21). [Weber, Stuart. Holman NT Commentary. 2000. Broadman & Holman. Nashville, TN p. 142.] for our world needs to experience it’s love and power.