93. Jesus sends out the twelve disciples: Matthew 10:1-15, Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6
During this time, His ministry focus shifted more toward the disciples as He sent them out (the Greek word apostellō means "sent away") two by two as His authorized representatives to preach repentance, drive out demons, and heal the sick. This was their "practical training" time! They were to go to "worthy" houses, and we will talk more about that when we get to Luke 10 when Jesus sends out the 72 messengers. Stay tuned!
94. Jesus prepares the disciples for persecution: Matthew 10:16-42
The message of the kingdom would not be well-received by all, and Jesus was preparing His disciples for the hard road ahead of them. They would be like sheep among wolves. He has already referred to the false prophets as "ravenous wolves" in Matthew 7:5 (Event #66).
They were to be wise, prudent, and thoughtful like snakes. The Greek word used here for wise, phrónimos, is the same word used for the serpent in Genesis 3:1 in the Greek version of the Old Testament called the Septuagint! The serpent used his thoughtfulness for evil whereas Jesus wants us to harness thoughtfulness for good! Be wise in the midst of danger.
They were also to be as innocent which in the Greek is a "purity of mind without a mixture of evil" (Strong's Greek #185) as doves. They were not to be aggressive toward the enemies that would oppose them. When you read the book of Acts, you will see that much of this is true.
They might even be hated by their own family, but they were to love Jesus more than their family and remain fearless, resolute, and strong because they were cared for by their Father in heaven who would bring everything to light in the end. Jesus implied that it was a privilege to suffer, and we will see that the disciples did count it a privilege later on (Acts 5:41).
Jesus tells His disciples not to fear three times in this section of Scripture (Matthew 10:26, 28, 31)
Martin Luther wrote this wonderful hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," in response to this section of the gospels:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.
Are you prepared to face persecution when proclaiming the kingdom? Read about modern day persecution at the Voice of the Martyrs website:
We pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are facing persecution for their faith. Lord, give them strength this day. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus. Amen.