In today's study from Matthew 10:5-10, we see the calling of the twelve apostles, their mission, method, and ministry.
The Kingdom of Heaven
vv.1-4 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. (2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; (3) Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; (4) Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Here we see the selection of the twelve. The word “apostle” means “one sent forth.” Jesus was also called an apostle (Heb 3:1).
vv.5-7 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: (6) But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (7) And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Notice that their initial ministry was to the House of Israel only. Why? – Because it was the gospel of the Kingdom that was still being preached. Most will say that at Pentecost they were baptized by the Holy Spirit for a new purpose: to preach salvation to both the Jew and the Gentile (Acts 1:8).
However, others will contend that only the Apostle Paul was sent to the gentiles. This is called Mid-Acts Dispensationalism. They would contend that the original twelve only ministered to the House of Israel and that only the Pauline epistles were written to the church. E.g., the Gospels, some of Acts, and Hebrews through Revelation are to the Jew, and only the later part of Acts and Paul’s letters were written to the Church.
v.8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
They were given “sign gifts” and powers which served as their credentials such as the shadow of Peter in Acts 5:15-16 and Paul’s handkerchief in Acts 19:11-12.
Ministry of Faith
vv.9-10 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, (10) Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Theirs was to be a ministry of faith. They had to go out completely trusting in the Lord to provide for their every need. It wasn’t until later that Paul declared that the pastor should live “of the gospel.” Paul said in 1Ti 5:17-18 “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”
I’m amazed at how many people will pay a plumber to fix their pipes, a mechanic to fix their car, a doctor to fix their cold, a dentist to fix their teeth, but will pay nothing for a pastor to fix their lostness and carnality. I’m afraid that too many churches are not doing the right thing when it comes to their pastors. Listen to what Paul said in 1Co 9:1-12, “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, 4 Have we not power to eat and to drink? 5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? 7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.”