Saturday, January 28, 2023

Handout - Matthew Chapter 10:1-15 - The 12, the Lost Sheep, Guidelines

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 10:1-04 - The Twelve Identified

The "calling"of the 12 was a formal, official gathering preceding a new level of ministry for the disciples. The calling is best seen as the result of prayers that God would send workers into the harvest (Mat 9:36-38). At this event the 12 were first called "apostles", meaning "one who is sent on a mission for another", a delegation, envoy or messenger (Joh 5:19).

The 12 were given the authority over impure spirits and to heal disease and sickness. They had an extraordinary level of authority and power. Believers in general are never given this authority. The apostles, as they are now called, were commissioned and sent out in pairs (Mar 6:7), allowing for mutual support. They were to continue to proclaim the message of the Kingdom (Mat 10:7), to the believing remnant (Jewish believers) (Mat 10:11-14).

Matthew 10:5-7 - The 12 Sent to the Lost Sheep of Israel

Jesus told the 12 to go only to the "lost sheep of Israel" on 2 different occasions Mat 10:5-6, Mat 15:22-24). Jeremiah and Ezekiel both considered "lost sheep" to be ethnic Israelites who have strayed from Yahweh Jer 50:6, Eze 34:11-13). Jeremiah tells us who he is talking about in vs 4, it is the people of both, Israel and Judah together (Jer 50:4). Ezekiel indicates that the sheep in question were scattered (Eze 34:12). Gentiles were never scattered. Ezekiel indicates that the sheep in question will be brought out from the nations and into their own land (Eze 34:13). The Gentile people were never brought out from the nations and placed in "their own land" (Eze 36:24-28).

So Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom, and set about the task of regathering His lost sheep, specifically the people of Israel. The leadership had already rejected Jesus, but the people were not yet following their leaders. They were confused about who to follow, and were like sheep without a shepherd. The harvest was indeed plentiful, and so the ministry continued specifically for the believing remnant, who needed to learn about the King and His Kingdom.

It is to be noted that the Great Commission, the sending of evangelist to the nations, was not put into place until after the death and resurrection of the King, and the Kingdom was postponed.

Matthew 10:8-15 - Guidelines for the 12

The apostles were to given the authority to authenticate their message of the kingdom with healing and miracles like Jesus did. The Kingdom was still available should the Jewish people and leadership receive their Messiah. They were to trust God for necessities of life, packing lite so to speak. God would provide for their needs through the believers that they came in contact with. Their provisions would come from people in the crowds that had followed Jesus and had been receptive to Him and His Kingdom gospel. The principle behind this is that the laborers are worthy of their food (Mat 9:10), see also: (Deu 25:4; 1Co 9:4-18; 1Ti 5:17-18).

The focus of ministry would turn to individuals instead of the nation. They were to preach to only worthy believers (Mat 10:11-14). If they came to a town or a household where they were rejected, then they were to "shake the dust off your feet", indicating that the very dirt in the town and / or household was dirty and polluted. It was to be left behind. These Jewish homes were to be considered pagan, polluted and subject to judgment. A judgment worse than that experienced by Sodom and Gomorrah will befall those who reject Jesus and His Kingdom(Rev 20:11-15.).


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