Mt 10:1-5. Mission of the Twelve Apostles. ( = Mr 6:7-13; Lu 9:1-6).
The last three verses of the ninth chapter form the proper introduction to the Mission of the Twelve, as is evident from the remarkable fact that the Mission of the Seventy was prefaced by the very same words. (See on Lu 10:2).
34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword—strife, discord, conflict; deadly opposition between eternally hostile principles, penetrating into and rending asunder the dearest ties.
35. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—(See on Lu 12:51-53).
36. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household—This saying, which is quoted, as is the whole verse, from Mic 7:6, is but an extension of the Psalmist's complaint (Ps 41:9; 55:12-14), which had its most affecting illustration in the treason of Judas against our Lord Himself (Joh 13:18; Mt 26:48-50). Hence would arise the necessity of a choice between Christ and the nearest relations, which would put them to the severest test.
37. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me—(Compare De 33:9). As the preference of the one would, in the case supposed, necessitate the abandonment of the other, our Lord here, with a sublime, yet awful self-respect, asserts His own claims to supreme affection.
38. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me—a saying which our Lord once and again emphatically reiterates (Mt 16:24; Lu 9:23; 14:27). We have become so accustomed to this expression—"taking up one's cross"—in the sense of "being prepared for trials in general for Christ's sake," that we are apt to lose sight of its primary and proper sense here—"a preparedness to go forth even to crucifixion," as when our Lord had to bear His own cross on His way to Calvary—a saying the more remarkable as our Lord had not as yet given a hint that He would die this death, nor was crucifixion a Jewish mode of capital punishment.
39. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it—another of those pregnant sayings which our Lord so often reiterates (Mt 16:25; Lu 17:33; Joh 12:25). The pith of such paradoxical maxims depends on the double sense attached to the word "life"—a lower and a higher, the natural and the spiritual, the temporal and eternal. An entire sacrifice of the lower, with all its relationships and interests—or, a willingness to make it which is the same thing—is indispensable to the preservation of the higher life; and he who cannot bring himself to surrender the one for the sake of the other shall eventually lose both.
40. He that receiveth you—entertaineth you,
receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me—As the treatment which an ambassador receives is understood and regarded as expressing the light in which he that sends him is viewed, so, says our Lord here, "Your authority is Mine, as Mine is My Father's."
41. He that receiveth a prophet—one divinely commissioned to deliver a message from heaven. Predicting future events was no necessary part of a prophet's office, especially as the word is used in the New Testament.
in the name of a prophet—for his office's sake and love to his master. (See 2Ki 4:9 and see on 2Ki 4:10).
shall receive a prophet's reward—What an encouragement to those who are not prophets! (See Joh 3:5-8).
and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man—from sympathy with his character and esteem for himself as such
shall receive a righteous man's reward—for he must himself have the seed of righteousness who has any real sympathy with it and complacency in him who possesses it.
42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones—Beautiful epithet! Originally taken from Zec 13:7. The reference is to their lowliness in spirit, their littleness in the eyes of an undiscerning world, while high in Heaven's esteem.
a cup of cold water only—meaning, the smallest service.
in the name of a disciple—or, as it is in Mark (Mr 9:41), because ye are Christ's: from love to Me, and to him from his connection with Me.
verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward—There is here a descending climax—"a prophet," "a righteous man," "a little one"; signifying that however low we come down in our services to those that are Christ's, all that is done for His sake, and that bears the stamp of love to His blessed name, shall be divinely appreciated and owned and rewarded.
1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciple—rather, "the twelve disciples,"
he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities—This was scarcely a fourth circuit—if we may judge from the less formal way in which it was expressed—but, perhaps, a set of visits paid to certain places, either not reached at all before, or too rapidly passed through, in order to fill up the time till the return of the Twelve. As to their labors, nothing is said of them by our Evangelist. But Luke (Lu 9:6) says, "They departed, and went through, the towns," or "villages," "preaching the Gospel, and healing everywhere." Mark (Mr 6:12, 13), as usual, is more explicit: "And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils (demons) and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." Though this "anointing with oil" was not mentioned in our Lord's instructions—at least in any of the records of them—we know it to have been practiced long after this in the apostolic Church (see Jas 5:14, and compare Mr 6:12, 13)—not medicinally, but as a sign of the healing virtue which was communicated by their hands, and a symbol of something still more precious. It was unction, indeed, but, as Bengel remarks, it was something very different from what Romanists call extreme unction. He adds, what is very probable, that they do not appear to have carried the oil about with them, but, as the Jews used oil as a medicine, to have employed it just as they found it with the sick, in their own higher way.
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