Now there were lots of folks following Jesus. Some of them were following him because they believed who he was and others were probably just there for the spectacle. But Jesus summons the 12. These are the guys we know. The famous, or infamous disciples (later apostles) of Jesus. They had all left their lives behind and started following Jesus. They had proved obedience and belief. Now Jesus was sending them out on their own for a bit. This is their ordination if you will. Matthew Henry said, “The best preparation for the work of the ministry is friendship and fellowship with Jesus Christ.” Step one done. They were leveling up for sure. They had been the inner circle, but now they were being set apart for a special assignment and they were given a new tool.
Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and sickness. Matthew 10:1
That authority is the Holy Spirit. We understand that because we know or have experienced the Holy Spirit. But that was not a part of the believers’ lives yet. Holy Spirit did not come until Jesus had hung on the cross, died, was buried, rose from the grave, and ascended to heaven. (Pentecost Acts 2) He will later explain that he is leaving but that a Helper would come. (John 14:16) The disciples did not know any of this yet. Sure they knew of the Spirit of God, but they didn’t have him indwelling like believers today have. For them this gift was a verified authentication of not only who they were, but also who Jesus was.
Freely you received, freely give. Matthew 10:8
The Spiritual implication here. Foreshadowing even, of all Jesus would give. The grace and mercy shown. And the power they were being given. For free. They had to share it in the same way. But it also meant that they could not charge for their services. Rest assured they could have made a fortune. They were to go and do with nothing for nothing. They were told that their needs would be met along the way.
The faith this took. Going, hoping, believing they would be taken care of. And doing these miraculous things. That first healing or cast out was scary I am sure. Then easier to believe and keep on. Finding that right balance of believing and knowing you could do something without the pride and puffed up chest being able to do miracles.
That part was going to be so amazing and uplifting…but Jesus then reminds them of some hard truths. Remember the end of the beatitudes? The ones about blessed are those who are persecuted and blessed are you when people insult you? (Matthew 5:10-11) The disciples were about to see what that looked like. Jesus tells them that not everyone is going to be nice. Not everyone will receive you. And that’s ok. Don’t worry. The spirit will take care of you. Shake the dust from your feet kind of like what we talked about with the pearls before the swine. Regardless of the reception they were to keep confessing Jesus.
Therefore, everyone who confesses Me before men, I will confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before Men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33
You claim Jesus. Jesus claims you. (You want to be claimed, by the way.)
Then a surprising statement: I did not come to bring peace on earth.
Wait, what? Wasn’t Jesus called the Prince of Peace? Doesn’t he give peace that surpasses all understanding? See, Jesus is peace for his believers. Jehovah-Shalom. He is the God of Peace. Here’s the thing, following Jesus, living a life that is set apart will not be easy. Living in a way that contradicts society is sure to cause some problems. Let’s face it calling folks out for sin will bring some hurtful things. Right? No one likes to hear they are wrong.
Do you want peace?
Because even with the trials and insults, maybe persecution, you will have peace if you claim him. Are you a true believer or just following the spectacle?
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