Day 29: Sunday, May 3
Jesus called his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness. Now these are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (called Peter), and Andrew his brother; James son of Zebedee and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Jesus sent out these twelve, instructing them as follows: “Do not go on a road that leads to Gentile regions and do not enter any Samaritan town. Go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near!’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. Do not take gold, silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for the journey, or an extra tunic, or sandals or staff, for the worker deserves his provisions.
Whenever you enter a town or village, find out who is worthy there and stay with them until you leave. As you enter the house, greet those within it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your message, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or that town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town!
“I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of people, because they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues. And you will be brought before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them and to the Gentiles. Whenever they hand you over for trial, do not worry about how to speak or what to say, for what you should say will be given to you at that time. For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved! Whenever they persecute you in one town, flee to another!
I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
The Scriptures quoted are from the NET Bible® http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.
COMMENT & QUESTIONS
This week we will be reading about the next section in the life of Jesus. He has begun His ministry in Galilee (Ch 1-4). He has taught the message of the Kingdom (Ch 5-7). He has had responses from all of the crowds (Ch 8-9). This week will cover Him sending out the Apostles on a mission trip (Sunday-Monday), more negative responses by the people (Tuesday-Thursday) and then finish with a number of parables about the Kingdom (Friday-Saturday)
In today’s reading, Jesus sends out His twelve apostles. The word ‘apostle’ means ‘sent out’. The Apostles were given special gifts – miraculous power and the Holy Spirit speaking for them. What was the central message that Jesus instructed them to preach?
The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. This is the same key message of John the baptist in Matthew 3:2, and of Jesus in Matthew 4:17.
What response did Jesus expect His apostles to receive?
Mixed. Just like Jesus, there would be some who were receptive to the message. However there would be some people and even some towns who would reject their message and mission. He even warns them that they may face persecutions from the government because of the message they preached.
What do you think it means to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves?
Serpents represent cunning, and cleverness. The disciples were not to be foolish in who they preached to and how they were received.
Doves represent peacefulness and innocence. The disciples were not to retaliate or show any violence, but their message and demeanour was to be delivered peacefully.
Note: The coming of the Son of Man is a theme which comes up in other parts of Matthew. We will discuss it more in our Wednesday classes.
Pray for missionaries in the world today – especially ones that you know of Pray for those who suffer persecution for the sake of Christ Pray for families who are torn apart because of the faith