In today's study from Matthew 10:11-23, our Lord tells His disciples, a word of caution and encouragement as He sends them out to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Don’t Waste Your Time
vv.11-15 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. (12) And when ye come into an house, salute it. (13) And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. (14) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (15) Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
They were not to waste time on people who rejected their message. Some of the apostles did just that (cf. Acts 13:51, 18:6).
Word of Caution
v.16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
This is a word of caution. They were to keep their eyes and ears open. They were to be cautious because they were heading out completely penniless and would need to depend upon the graciousness of others.
Strength and Guidance
vv.17-20 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; (18) And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. (19) But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. (20) For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
This is not justification for poor study and preparation but a promise for strength and guidance when that time comes. Spurgeon used to say, “A call to ministry is a call to prepare.” We do our part and trust Jesus to do His part. Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Jesus said in John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
vv.21-23 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. (22) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (23) But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
The extent of their persecution would be not only from their families, but from city to city. Jesus knew that their preaching was going to be divisive.
Enduring to the End
Notice, “he that endureth to the end shall be saved” in v.22.
Many have looked at this as a verse to prove that you can lose your salvation. However, this verse has nothing to do with the issue of salvation. The gospel had even been preached yet! There was no church! It was a word of encouragement to those who would most likely pay the ultimate sacrifice for their obedience.
The Son of Man’s Return
Notice, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come” in v.23.
This statement has one of two meanings. Either, the Lord really meant that He would return to this earth before his disciples made it through all of the cities of Israel. That would make him a liar. Or it means that He will be bringing judgment against them before they were able to make it to every city in Israel. This judgment came in 70 A.D. at the hands of Titus.