v.1 This verse marks a transition from the previous discourse where Jesus is instructing his disciples (on their missionary work) to a new section with Jesus teaching others and doing mighty works. Jesus is said to go about preaching (see also 9:35).
Jesus and John the Baptist (11:2-19)
Parallel passage in Lk 7:18-35.
v.2-3 John was imprisoned by Herod Antipas for denouncing Herod’s immoral marriage to his brother’s wife (14:1-12). While awaiting death in prison, he hears about the things Jesus (the Christ) is doing. John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah or should they look for another. John is expecting the the Messiah to usher in a messianic kingdom in which those who repent are rewarded and the evil punished (see 3:1-12).
v.4-6 Jesus points out his deeds that prove that he is the long awaited Messiah (Jn 5:36) and that the prophesied time of salvation had indeed come (the year of the Lord’s favor, Is 61:1-3). The blind see (Is 35:5), the lame walk (Is 35:6), lepers are cleansed (Is 53:4), the deaf hear (Is 29:18-19), the dead are raised (Is 26:18-19), and the poor hear the gospel preached to them (Is 61:1). While Jesus points to the old testament prophesies concerning the Messiah, he also recognizes that some aspect of his ministry is unexpected. But blessed is the one that believes anyway (lit. is not offended by me, Is 8:14-15). His own hometown toke offense at him (13:57), is this not the carpenter?
v.7-10 Jesus begins teaching the crowds about John as the disciples leave to report back to John what Jesus said and did. He asks several rhetorical questions. What did the people go out to the wilderness to see (in John), a reed shaken by the wind?, no!, a man dressed in nice clothing?, no!, a prophet? yes!, John is the one foretold by the prophet in Mal 3:1 (Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you). John is the very one who proceeds the Messiah. And Jesus is the Messiah/Christ/“Coming One”, Mt 16:16.
v.11 Jesus continues his praise of John. Of those born in the ordinary way, none has risen that is greater than John. BUT, the very least of those having received the new birth (born again), is greater still.
v.12 That the kingdom of God has suffered violence probably refers to the opposition by the religious establishment.
v.13-15 All the prophets and the law prophesied until John indicates a closing of the old age and the initiation of the church age. John was the coming of Elijah (Mt 17:10-13 and Mal 4:5). Take care to understand this (he who has ears to hear).
v.16-19 Wisdom is justified by her children. The people rejected Jesus because he did not conform to their expectations. They are like selfish children, always wanting things their own way.
Read Matthew 11:1-19
v.40 Receiving a disciple is like receiving Jesus because the disciple bears Christ’s message and authority (much like an ambassador). And receiving Jesus is like receiving the Father. See Mk 9:37, Lk 9:48, Jn 12:44-45 for similar statements.
v.41 A prophet is someone who speaks for God. If you receive a prophet and his message you will share in the prophets reward.
v.42 There is also a reward for receiving children because of their commitment to Christ. See for example Mt 18:10.
Read Matthew 10:40-42
Not peace, but a sword
v.34-36 Jesus says he came not to bring peace but rather a sword. Man against father, woman against mother. Christians will suffer persecutions from their own family. This was especially the case with Jewish Christians in the days this gospel is written. The Jews in those days expected the coming of the Messiah to be accompanied by peace and prosperity. Likewise in our day many in the church expect Jesus to bring peace (and/or prosperity). But we live in a world hostile to the true disciple of Jesus. There is untold suffering of Christians in the world today. See Lk 12:51-53 and Mi 7:6.
v.37 Jesus further explains that whoever loves father or mother (or son/daughter) more than him is not worthy of the kingdom. This is a hard teaching because we love our children. We must love our family and friends to be sure, but we must love Jesus supremely (Carson, Matthew).
v.38 We must follow Jesus in the face of possible rejection as when Jesus was rejected and carried his own cross. Mt 16:24 says we are to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Also Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23 and Lk 14:27. “Take up your cross” involves loving him and being willing to follow him no matter what the social or physical consequences.
v.39 As in Mt 16:25, Jesus here teaches that we find life (in the age to come) by losing our lives (perhaps disciplined self denial) for his sake. Here we are talking about discipleship and accepting or rejecting Jesus in this life has eternal consequences.
Read Matthew 10:34-39
Do not fear opposition
See parallel at Lk 12:2-9.
v.26-28 Do not fear (the opposition), for the truth will not always be hidden from view (it will be revealed by God). The day of judgment is coming when the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked punished. Fear rather God who can destroy the body and soul in hell (eternal suffering). Speak openly and from the housetops.
v.29-31 Did you know the hairs of your head are numbered by God. A small common bird may not be worth much in our standard, but not one will fall to the ground apart from God’s will. We can take great comfort in that because we are worth far more to God than the bird. If God cares so for the birds, he will care for his own people that much more (despite any present suffering). God cares for us because of his amazing grace not because we deserve it.
v.32-33 Acknowledge Christ before men and he will acknowledge you before the Father in heaven. Acknowledge means to confess him (before men) and trust in him (at all times). Remain faithful to Jesus even in the face of certain death. But even if we aren’t faithful, he is faithful.
Read Matthew 10:26-33
v.16 Jesus warns his disciples of persecutions that they must endure as missionaries to the world. They should be like (helpless) sheep amidst wolves (Pharisees/established religion). He instructs them to be shrewd (or astute) as serpents and innocent (or harmless) as doves (Phil 2:15). This calls for a careful balance between cunning and vulnerability when we spread the good news. “…Be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Rom 16:19). This section (16-25) applies to missionaries throughout the church age.
v.17-18 Jesus instructs them to beware, they will be handed over to courts and flogged in synagogues. This reflects persecution at the hands of government and at the hands of organized religion. Disciples will be dragged before the authorities, and this will be an opportunity to be a witness to them.
v.19-20 Don’t worry about what to say in that hour of trouble (parallel Lk 12:11-12) for the Spirit will give you the words to say when the time comes (e.g., Acts 4:8-13). This doesn’t mean to not prepare (Col 4:6), but rather to not worry. Be ready at all times to give a defense of your faith, 2 Tim 4:2. How many of us are ready today?
v.21-22 Here the evangelist alludes to Mi 7:6, brother will be against brother, children will rebel against parents. All (hyperbole) men will hate you (on account of Jesus) but stand firm to the end and you will be saved. That is, enduring persecution is evidence of a commitment to Jesus, it is not the means of salvation.
v.23 When persecuted in one town, flee to the next. The comes the difficult to interpret statement that they will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. The best interpretation seems to be that this refers to the second coming of Christ. A good alternative is his coming in Judgment on Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
v.24-25 The disciple is not above his teacher. If they called Jesus Beelzebul, how much more will they malign his disciples. Beelzebul is the prince of demons and referred to Satan.
Read Matthew 10:16-25
Jesus Sends Out The Twelve Apostles.
For Parallels see Mk 6:7-13 and Lk 9:1-6. See also Lk 10:1-12 (sending out the 72).
v.5-6 The disciples are instruction to go to the lost sheep of (Jer 50:6) Israel and not to the Gentiles or Samaritans. The mission was to Jewish Galilee, later the disciples would be sent to the whole world (Acts 1:8). Salvation is from the Jews (Jn 4:22, Rom 1:16). The sheep were lost due to neglect by their shepherds (or lack of a shepherd, Mt 9:36).
v.7-8 They were instructed to proclaim that the kingdom of God is at hand (this presumably included “repent”), heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely they received and freely then should they give (but see v.9-10 below). These were extensions of Jesus’ own ministry to the people.
v.9-10 They were to take no money, change of clothes, or even a walking stick. But they should accept hospitality because the worker deserves his wages (or food). The disciples were to trust God to supply their basic needs. We should not hesitate to give (1 Tim 5:18) to those God has sent to minister to us (i.e., a pastor, church, or missionaries).
v.11-13 Upon entering a village, the disciples were to seek out the worthy and stay with them while they ministered in that area. When they entered a home, they should give it a blessing. If it turns out not to be a worthy home, then they should take the blessing back. “Worthy” meant that the house or town accepted the disciples message.
v.14-15 If any town refuses to listen to their message the disciples were instructed to shake the dust off their feet when they leave. Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off at the judgment than that town. Shaking the dust off their feet indicated separating themselves from Jews who rejected the Messiah.
Read Matthew 10:5-15
The Twelve Apostles.
v.1 Jesus called his twelve chosen men to be apostles and to heal all diseases and illnesses and to cast out unclean spirits. This is perhaps the initial solution to the “workers are few” comments in 9:35-38. This begins the second major discourse of Jesus in Matthew. The number twelve reminds us of the twelve tribes of Israel and indicates the continuity of God’s plan of salvation. Theses are the new leaders of Israel (under the Messiah) and they are commissioned to do miracles the old leaders cannot perform (scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees). Apostle means one sent with a special commission.
v.2-4 The names of the twelve are Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. For parallels see Mk 3:16-19, Lk 6:14-16, Jn 1:40-49, and Acts 1:13. The inner circle consisted of Peter, James and his brother John.
Read Matthew 10:1-4
The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
v.35 Jesus went throughout their towns healing the sick of all manner of disease, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and teaching in their synagogues. This verse closely parallels 4:23.
v.36 He had compassion on the crowds because they were like sheep without a shepherd. But Jesus is shepherd to his people (Mi 5:4). Jesus perhaps refers to the Pharisees lack of pastoral care for the people of Israel.
v.37-38 He said to his disciples: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” The harvest is the multitudes of people in need of a savior.
Read Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus heals two blind men.
v.27-28 After healing the girl (18-26) two blind men followed him shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” (nlt) These men were faith in action, nothing was going to stop them from seeking Jesus. The title “Son of David” indicated the blind men believed Jesus to be the Messiah. The Messianic age was to be accompanied by the healing of the blind (Is 29:18-19, Is 35:5-6). Jesus asked them if they believed he could make them see and they replied “yes, Lord”.
v.29-31 Touching their eyes, Jesus said “According to your faith be it done to you.” They were immediately healed and went about that region telling what Jesus had done, despite his telling them to keep quiet about it (the healing occurred in the privacy of a house).
Jesus heals a mute, demon possessed man.
v.32-33 Next a mute demon-possessed man was brought to Jesus. He cast out the demon and the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed saying “nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!”
v.34 The Pharisees refused to believe and accused Jesus of being powered by the prince of demons. Jesus challenged their cherished traditions and exposed their insincere motives. See also 12:22-32.
Read Matthew 9:27-34
A girl restored to life and a healed woman.
For parallels see Mk 5:21-43 and Lk 8:40-56.
v.18 The synagogue leader was responsible for the administration of the synagogue and its building. The parallels in Mark and Luke name the leader as Jairus. His daughter has just died and he wants Jesus to bring her back to life by the laying on of hands.
v.19-21 Jesus and the disciples go with Jarius as requested. On the way, a woman suffering for twelve years with constant bleeding touch the fringe of his robe in order to receive healing.
v.22 Jesus turning around and seeing the woman tells her that “your faith has made you well.” She was healed at that moment. She wasn’t worried about the “correct” way to approach God, but instead just reached out to Jesus in faith. We would do well to do the same. God can change the unchangeable situation and bring healing to our lives.
v.23-24 Arriving at the ruler’s house, Jesus tells the crowd to go outside, for the girl is not dead but only asleep. The crowd laughed at Jesus.
v.25-26 After the crowd had been put out of the house, Jesus took the girl by the hand and she got up! The report of this miracle sweep through the area. Jesus can do the impossible. Whatever your situation, emotional pain, addiction, broken relationship, or whatever hopeless situation the plagues your life, come to Jesus.
Read Matthew 9:18-26