Matthew 10 Commentary

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Source: Ryrie Study Bible

Matthew 10:1 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.  

  • Jesus summoned : Mt 19:28 26:20,47 Mk 3:13-14 Mk 6:7-13 Lu 6:13  Joh 6:70 Rev 12:1 Rev 21:12-14 
  • gave them authority: Mt 6:13 28:18,19 Mk 3:15 16:17,18 Lu 9:1-6 10:19 21:15 24:49 Joh 3:27,35 17:2 20:21-23 Ac 1:8 3:15,16 19:15 


Related Passages:

Mark 3:13-14+  And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. 14 And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach,

Mark 6:7-13+  And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; 8 and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff–no bread, no bag, no money in their belt– 9but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” 10 And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. 11 “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” 12 They went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.

Luke 6:13+  And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles:

Joh 6:70 Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?”

Jesus summoned His twelve disciples - Mark adds that "He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs." (Mk 6:7+), which makes one think of Dt 17:6+ which describes the "the evidence of two witnesses." 

Guzik points out that "The main feature of this list is its diversity. Jesus chose His disciples from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. About all they had in common was it seems that none of them were privileged or from backgrounds of high status. This is very much in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 1:26–29." I would add one other feature of the list is ironically its EXCLUSIVITY! That is to say, there is not a single priest, Sadducee, Pharisee, lawyer or scribe among the 12. Religious leaders were excluded! 

Disciples (3101)(mathetes from manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics") describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study) and thus mathetes is more than a mere pupil. A mathetes describes an adherent of a teacher. 

Mounce - Typically in the Jewish world, a disciple would voluntarily join a school or otherwise seek out a master rabbi; however, Jesus seeks out and chooses those whom he wants as his disciples (Mk 1:17; 2:14; Lk 5:1–11; cf. Mt 4:18–21). A dedicated disciple was generally expected someday to become a rabbi himself, yet Jesus teaches his disciples that he will always be their rabbi and they will have a lifetime of discipleship (Mt 23:8; cf. Mt 10:24–25, 37; Lk 14:26–27; Jn 11:16). Jesus’ disciples are bound to him and to God’s will (Mt 12:46–50; cf. Mk 3:31–45). They are called to a lifetime of work and service (Mt 16:15–19; Mk 1:17; Lk 5:10), (Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament words: Zondervan)

And gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness - Jesus called them and then empowered them, which is ever the principle of our Lord Jesus. Whatever He has called you to do for the Kingdom, He will give you the power of the King to accomplish. The corollary is that apart from Him and His power and authority we can do absolutely nothing of eternal value (Jn 15:5, 15:16). One other point, if you are sure that He has called you and yet you don't sense His equipping, you may need to walk out "on the water" so speak and even like Peter cry "Lord, save me." (Mt 14:30). 

Jesus' calling and enabling reminds us of the exhortation of Peter...

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11+).

Broadus says these spirits are called unclean "because of their own wickedness, and perhaps because their presence was a pollution to the person possessed (comp. on Mt 12:43 ff.); and this served to distinguish them from good or pure spirits."

Authority (1849)(exousia from éxesti = it is permitted, it is lawful) means the power to do something and was a technical term used in the law courts, of a legal right. "Authority or right is the dominant meaning (of exousia) in the New Testament." (Vincent) Exousía refers to delegated authority and combines the idea of the "right and the might", these attributes having been granted to someone. Broadus adds that exousia "signifies primarily, permission (license, privilege), then authority, (dominion, rule, etc.), and this sometimes suggests ability and power. The word very often conveys two of these ideas at once, as privilege and power (John: 1:12), authority and power (John 19:10.) Comp. on Mt 7:29; Mt 28:18." 

Unclean (169)(akathartos from a = without + kathaíro = cleanse from katharos = clean, pure, free from the adhesion of anything that soils, adulterates, corrupts, in an ethical sense, free from corrupt desire, sin, and guilt; See also akatharsia) in a moral sense refers to that which is unclean in thought, word, and deed. It can describe a state of moral impurity, especially sexual sin and the word foul is an excellent rendering. The idea is that which morally indecent or filthy. Given this definition, it is not surprising that akathartos is applied to filthy demonic spirits in the Gospels.  Matt. 10:1; Mk. 1:27; Mk. 3:11; Mk. 5:13; Mk. 6:7; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 6:18

Vine - "Demons" are the spiritual agents acting in all idolatry. The idol itself is nothing, but every idol has a "demon" associated with it who induces idolatry, with its worship and sacrifices,1Corinthians 10:20,21 ; Revelation 9:20 ; cp. Deuteronomy 32:17 ; Isaiah 13:21; 34:14; 65:3,11. They disseminate errors among men, and seek to seduce believers, 1Ti 4:1 . As seducing spirits they deceive men into the supposition that through mediums (those who have "familiar spirits," Leviticus 20:6,27 , e.g.) they can converse with deceased human beings. Hence the destructive deception of spiritism, forbidden in Scripture, Leviticus 19:31 ; Deuteronomy 18:11 ; Isaiah 8:19 . "Demons" tremble before God, James 2:19 ; they recognized Christ as Lord and as their future Judge, Matthew 8:29 ; Luke 4:41 . Christ cast them out of human beings by His own power. His disciples did so in His name, and by exercising faith, e.g., Matthew 17:20. Acting under Satan (cp. Revelation 16:13,14 ), "demons" are permitted to afflict with bodily disease, Luke 13:16 . Being unclean they tempt human beings with unclean thoughts, Matthew 10:1 ; Mark 5:2 ; 7:25 ; Luke 8:27-29 ; Revelation 16:13 ; 18:2 , e.g. They differ in degrees of wickedness, Matthew 12:45 . They will instigate the rulers of the nations at the end of this age to make war against God and His Christ, Revelation 16:14 . (Demon, Demoniac - Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)

THOUGHT -  As Kent Hughes says "Typically, those under the sway of demons descend to filthy living, both physically and morally. It is not at all incidental that the rise of occultism and Satanism in recent years has been accompanied by increasing drug abuse, pornography, and obscenity." (Preaching the Word – Luke) One does not have to be demon possessed to be in church dressed in your Sunday best, all the while hiding your moral worst! How many pastors have preached with filthy hearts! The number of pastors falling into immorality is just the tip of the "morally depraved iceberg" for the sheep are usually not following behind the shepherd! (See Tim Challies For the Pastor Knee-Deep in Immorality)

Henry Morris - The Lord Jesus, as Creator, has the authority and ability to give supernatural power to specially called men. They did not seek such power, but it was given to them for a special time and purpose. It is dangerous for others to seek it for themselves (Acts 8:18-20).

John Broadus - Having led the disciples to feel interest in perishing throngs of men, and encouraged them to pray for laborers, Jesus now bids them go forth to labor themselves. We ought carefully to observe the slow and gradual process by which our Lord prepared the Twelve for their great and important life-work. First, he called various individuals to be his disciples, as, for example, those in John 1:35–51; these went with him for a time, but afterwards returned to their homes and their secular employments. Next, he called some to attach themselves permanently to him, as above in 4:18–22, stating at the time his intention to make them fishers of men. After a while, he selected from the general mass of his followers the Twelve, who were to be specially near to him, and to be trained for special duties; delivering to them, immediately after their selection (see on 5:1), a great discourse on the true nature of that Messianic reign which they were to aid in bringing about. And now, at a still later period, when they have been long hearing his discourses to the people, talking with him familiarly in private, and witnessing his multiplied miracles, he sends them forth, two and two, to preach and heal; but not yet to work independently of him, for they are only to go before and prepare the way for his coming. After a season spent in such personal labors, they will return, and remain long with him, receiving further instruction, which they will more earnestly desire and more fully appreciate, from their attempts at actual preaching. And finally, after his ascension, they will be ready, with the Holy Spirit as their abiding Instructor, to go and disciple all nations. After all this training they could do nothing without the Spirit; yet, though they were to have the Spirit, they must also have this training—doing what they could, meanwhile, to reap the great and perishing harvest, but devoting themselves mainly to preparation for wider usefulness in the coming years.

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Question: What are unclean spirits? Are unclean spirits demons?

Answer: An unclean spirit is simply a New Testament synonym, a more descriptive Jewish term, for a demon. The terms unclean spirit and demon seem to be interchangeable in Scripture. There is no clear difference in their definitions. Some translations refer to them as “impure spirits.”

Throughout the New Testament, the term unclean spirits (akathartos in the Greek language) is mentioned over twenty times. Throughout those passages we read that unclean spirits can possess people and cause them sickness and harm (Matthew 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:26; Luke 4:36; 6:18; Acts 5:16; 8:7), that they are searching for someone to possess if they are not currently possessing someone (Matthew 12:43), that some are more unclean or evil than others (Luke 11:26), that unclean spirits can interact with one another (Mark 5:1–20; Matthew 12:45), and that unclean spirits are under God’s authority and must submit to Him (Mark 1:27; 3:11; 5:8, 13).

An unclean spirit or demon is “unclean” in that it is wicked. Evil spirits are not only wicked themselves, but they delight in wickedness and promote wickedness in humans. They are spiritually polluted and impure, and they seek to contaminate all of God’s creation with their filth. Their foul, putrid nature is in direct contrast to the purity and incorruption of the Holy Spirit’s nature. When a person is defiled by an unclean spirit, he takes pleasure in corrupt thoughts and actions; when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, his thoughts and actions are heavenly.

Some people hold the idea that unclean spirits or demons are deceased humans who may or may not have been evil while alive. However, we know the unclean spirits mentioned in the Bible are not referring to the dead, for several reasons. One, humans are never called “spirits” when the word spirit is used as a stand-alone term, without a possessive. In Scripture, men are said to have a spirit/soul (saying “his spirit” in Proverbs 25:28 and 1 Corinthians 5:5), but men are not called “spirits.” Another reason is that, once a person dies, he immediately goes either to eternal life with the Lord or to eternal darkness in hell (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:6–8; Matthew 25:46). Human spirits, therefore, do not and cannot wander on earth in their spirit bodies. Any unclean spirit that wanders around, taking up residence in places or people or interacting with people in any way, is a fallen angel—a demon (Matthew 12:44). All unclean spirits mentioned in Scripture are demons, and all demons are definitely unclean, unholy, impure, evil spirits doomed to an eternity in hell (Matthew 25:41). (Source:

Matthew 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

  • apostles: Lu 6:13 Lk 9:10 11:49 22:14 Ac 1:26 Eph 4:11 Heb 3:1 Rev 18:20 
  • Simon: Mt 4:18 16:16-18 Mk 1:16,17 3:16 Lu 6:14 Joh 1:40-42 Ac 1:13 1Pe 1:1 2Pe 1:1 
  • Andrew: Mk 1:29 3:18 13:3  Joh 6:8 12:22 
  • James: Mt 4:21 17:1 20:20 26:37 Mk 3:17 Lu 5:10 Joh 21:2 Ac 12:2 1Co 15:7 
  • John: Lu 22:8 Joh 13:23 20:2 21:20,24 Ac 3:1 1Jn 1:3,4 2Jn 1:1 3Jn 1:1 Rev 1:1,9 22:8 


Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother - These 4 are those present at the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13:3). It is notable that this is the only place Matthew calls these men apostles., similar to Mark (Mk 6:30), but in contrast to Luke's repeated mention of them as apostles (Lk. 6:13; Lk. 9:10; Lk. 11:49; Lk. 17:5; Lk. 22:14; Lk. 24:10). Note that in Luke 6:13+ "when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles." 

Apostles (652)(apostolos from apo = from + stello = send forth) means one sent forth from by another, often with a special commission to represent another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate, commissioner, ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission and with the authority of the one who sent him. 

Broadus - Matthew has not mentioned the selection of the Twelve, which took place before this. (Mark 3:13; Luke 6:13, comp. on Mt 5:1.)  At the time when he wrote, the twelve apostles were well known, and he speaks of them accordingly: ‘his twelve disciples,’ ‘the twelve apostles.’ The number twelve was probably chosen with reference to the number of tribes (see on 19:28).

Adam Clarke makes an interesting point that "“It is worthy of notice, that those who were Christ’s apostles were first his disciples; to intimate, that men must be first taught of God, before they be sent of God.”

The 12 were the foundation which were in turn on Jesus the Cornerstone, and were the men on which He would build his kingdom during the Church Age (Eph 2:20+). The 12 (minus Judas Iscariot) would have a future position of prominence in the coming Messianic Kingdom. In  Mt 19:28 "Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." And even after the 1000 year Kingdom, the role of the apostles would be honored throughout eternity John recording "And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Rev 21:14+).

Spurgeon - The apostolic number fitly represents the twelve tribes of Israel; and for practical purposes the twelve form a workable band of leaders, a sufficient jury, and a competent company of witnesses.”

Henry Morris - Note that the twelve are called both "disciples" ("learners," or "followers") and "apostles" (sent ones, possibly equivalent in essence to missionaries). Although all believers should be disciples of Christ, these are called the twelve disciples because they were taught directly by Him. They were also specially sent out by Him into all the world and so were also called His twelve "apostles" (Mark 16:14,15; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8). Later a few others (Paul), with similar special training and commissioning directly by Christ, were also recognized as apostles. This designation is not appropriate for other followers, especially anyone after the apostolic period. (Defender's Study Bible)

Criswell - In the early church an "apostle" (apostolos, Gk.) is a representative of the authority of the risen Lord. The term describes the function of the Twelve (cf. Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16; John 1:40-49) who are sent out by Jesus. The Twelve made up the body of authoritative leaders in the church. James, the brother of Jesus (Gal. 1:19), Silvanus (1 Thess. 1:1), Andronicus and Junia (Rom. 16:7), Barnabas and Paul (Acts 14:4, 14), and others are designated "apostles," though not in the same technical sense that the Twelve are. Peter specifies that an apostle must be an eyewitness of Jesus' life and activity from the time of His baptism to the resurrection/ascension (Acts 1:22).

Guzik -  There are four different lists of the twelve in the New Testament. Here in Matthew 10:2–4, and also in Mark 3:16–19, Luke 6:13–16, and Acts 1:13. In these lists, Peter is always listed first and Judas is always last. The two pairs of brothers (Peter and Andrew; James and John) are always listed first. In the lists they are arranged in a way that suggests that they were arranged in three groups of four, each with a leader.  In each list Peter is first mentioned, followed by Andrew, James, and John.  In each list Philip is fifth mentioned, followed by Bartholomew, Thomas, and Matthew. In each list James the son of Alphaeus is ninth mentioned, followed by Thaddaeus/Judas brother of James, Simon the Zealot, and Judas.

Question: Why is the order of Jesus’ calling His disciples different in some of the gospels?

Answer: Each of the four gospels includes the calling of Jesus’ first disciples; the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) also provide lists of the Twelve, whereas John simply mentions them as a group (Matthew 4:18–22; 10:2–4; Mark 1:16–20; 3:16–19; Luke 5:4–11; 6:13–16; John 1:35–51). The order in which the disciples were called and the order in which their names are given in the lists vary by account.

In Matthew 4:18–22+, the first disciples to be called are listed like this:

  1. Simon Peter and Andrew
  2. James and John

Mark 1:16–20+, lists the first disciples in the same order:

  1. Simon and Andrew
  2. James and John

Luke 5:4–11+ lists the first disciples as

  1. Simon Peter
  2. James and John

John 1:35–51+ relates Jesus’ early encounters with these men:

  1. Andrew and an unnamed man—almost certainly John, who never names himself in his own gospel
  2. Simon Peter
  3. Philip
  4. Nathanael (also called Bartholomew)

The first six disciples, then, were Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip and Bartholomew. The differences between John’s account and the Synoptics’ account are easily explained. John relates the first, introductory meeting of Jesus with Andrew, John, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. The Synoptics describe the actual calling of these men to follow Jesus. When Jesus told Peter in the fishing boat to “follow Me,” (Matthew 4:19+, Mark 1:17+) and Peter immediately left his nets and obeyed, Peter was not following a total stranger. He had met Jesus previously and had spent time with Him. The same is true for Andrew, James, and John.

Matthew (also called Levi) was called separately, sometime after the first six (Matthew 9:9–13; Mark 2:13–17; Luke 5:27–32).

The Bible does not describe the calling of the other five disciples. Jesus had many people following Him early on in His ministry. Luke 6:12–16 tells us that, after a night of solitary prayer, Jesus officially named His twelve disciples, whom He also called apostles:

  1. Simon Peter
  2. Andrew
  3. James
  4. John
  5. Philip
  6. Bartholomew (Nathanael)
  7. Matthew
  8. Thomas
  9. James son of Alphaeus
  10. Simon who was called the Zealot
  11. Judas son of James (elsewhere called Thaddaeus)
  12. Judas Iscariot

The order in which the apostles were called is not the primary focus in the accounts of their calling. Rather, the emphasis is on the fact that they were called at all. None of them were worthy of Jesus’ calling. Few, if any, were of noble background, and none of them had religious clout. At least four of the disciples were fishermen. Simon was a Zealot, part of a political group that sought to overthrow the Roman government. Matthew worked for the Roman government as a tax collector and would have been viewed essentially as a traitor to the Israelites. Judas Iscariot eventually betrayed Jesus.

Despite the diversity of backgrounds and education levels among these men, they had an important calling as the original twelve disciples of Jesus. Theirs was an honorable work. They became eyewitnesses of Jesus’ works on earth as well as His resurrection. It was these men (excluding Judas Iscariot) who laid the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20). It was through their Spirit-empowered witness that the church began (Acts 2). Their work helped provide the New Testament writings we have today. The twelve foundations of the wall of the future New Jerusalem will have engraved on them the names of the twelve apostles (Revelation 21:14).(Source:

Matthew 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

  • Philip: Mk 3:18 Lu 6:14 Joh 1:43-46 6:5-7 12:21,22 14:9 
  • Thomas: Lu 6:15 Joh 11:16 20:24-29 21:2 
  • Matthew: Mt 9:9 Mk 2:14 Lu 5:27, Levi, Lu 6:15 Ac 1:13 
  • James: Mt 27:56 Mk 3:18 Lu 6:15,16 Ac 1:13 12:17 15:13 21:18 Ga 1:19 2:9 Jas 1:1 
  • Thaddaeus: Mk 3:18 Lu 6:16, Judas the brother of James, Joh 14:22, Judas, not Iscariot, Ac 1:13 Jude 1:1 

Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and ThaddaeusNote that they are named in pairs and it may have been in these pairs that they were sent "out in pairs" (Mark 6:7) on their first missionary assignment. Thaddaeus is also called Judas (Luke 6:16), and Bartholomew is probably the same as Nathaniel (John 1:45-49)

Spurgeon comments that "“Bartholomew is never mentioned without an and: he was a kind of man to work with other people.” 

Simon the Canaanite is elsewhere called Simon the Zealot.

It is notable that Matthew still calls himself Matthew the tax collectowhich reflects his humility for tax collectors were greatly despised in his day. 

Matthew 10:4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.  

  • Simon: Mk 3:18 Lu 6:15, Ac 1:13 
  • and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him : Mt 26:14,47 27:3 Mk 3:19 14:10,43 Lu 6:16 22:3,47 Joh 6:71 Joh 13:2,26-30 18:2-5 Ac 1:16-20,25 

Simon the Zealot - Mentioned in Matt. 10:4; Mk. 3:18; Acts 1:13. The Greek for "Zealot" is kananaios which means Cananaean. BDAG says this is "Not a toponym from Cana (Jerome) nor Canaanite, but from Aram. qan'an meaning ‘enthusiast, zealot’ () (cp. Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13,  where he is called zelotes), prob. because he had formerly belonged to the party of the ‘Zealots’ or ‘Freedom Fighters’" Holman Bible Dictionary says "Cananaean is probably the Aramaic equivalent of Greek zealot." 

Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible on Cananaean - Cananaean kay′nuh-nee′uhn (Καναναῖος G2831; variant form Κανανίτης). Surname given to SIMON, one of Jesus’ disciples (NRSV and other versions at Matt. 10:4; Mk. 3:18; NIV, “Simon the Zealot”). This epithet served to distinguish him from Simon PETER. The KJV, following many Greek MSS, reads the incorrect form “Canaanite”; the latter is properly the rendering of a different Gk. term, Chananaios G5914, which occurs only in Matt. 15:22 with reference to the Syro-Phoenician woman (see CANAAN). The term “Cananaean” is rather a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic qanʾān, meaning “zealot, enthusiast.” Accordingly, the Lukan lists have “the Zealot” (Lk. 6:15 and Acts 1:13; these passages are the basis for the NIV rendering in Matt. 10:4 and Mk. 3:18). Thus the identification of this Simon is essentially the same in all four accounts. The surname presumably was given to him because he had been a member of the ZEALOTS, a religio-political party in 1st-cent. Palestine. Apart from the appearance in the list of the apostles, nothing more of this Simon is recorded in the NT.

And Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him - Judas is always last on the list. He will also likely inhabit one of the lowest depths in Hell in view of the incredible Light exposure he had in those 3 years. He had even "been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,  and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come." (Heb 6:5-6+) Judas the betrayer is often the way Judas is described, by what he did rather than "who" he was, because in fact what he did was a perfect reflection of who he was in his heart!  (See 11 occurrences of Judas + betray = Mt 10:4 Mt 26:25 Mt 27:3 Mk 3:19 Mk 14:10 Lk 22:48 Jn 6:71 Jn 12:4 Jn 13:2 Jn 18:2 Jn 18:5) The verb betrayed is in the active voice indicating this was a conscious, deliberate choice by Judas. It was a volitional choice, a choice of his will, and it was a costly choice! All of our choices have consequences! Choose wisely! Judas' betrayal was part of the "predetermined plan" of God (Acts 2:23+), indicating God's sovereign hand in the betrayal of His Son, and yet God would hold Judas fully responsible for his choice to betray Jesus -- this is the mystery of God's Sovereignty and man's responsibility. 

Betrayed (handed over) (3860)(paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another. All uses of paradidomi in Matthew - Matt. 4:12; Matt. 5:25; Matt. 10:4; Matt. 10:17; Matt. 10:19; Matt. 10:21; Matt. 11:27; Matt. 17:22; Matt. 18:34; Matt. 20:18; Matt. 20:19; Matt. 24:9; Matt. 24:10; Matt. 25:14; Matt. 25:20; Matt. 25:22; Matt. 26:2; Matt. 26:15; Matt. 26:16; Matt. 26:21; Matt. 26:23; Matt. 26:24; Matt. 26:25; Matt. 26:45; Matt. 26:46; Matt. 26:48; Matt. 27:2; Matt. 27:3; Matt. 27:4; Matt. 27:18; Matt. 27:26; 

Gotquestions - Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, was replaced in the twelve apostles by Matthias (see Acts 1:20–26+). Some Bible teachers view Matthias as an “invalid” apostle and believe that Paul was God’s choice to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle.

Related Resources:

Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;

  • sent: Mt 22:3 Lu 9:2 10:1  Joh 20:21 
  • Go: Mt 4:15 Joh 7:35 Ac 10:45-48 11:1-18 22:21-23 Ro 15:8,9 1Th 2:16 
  • of the Samaritans: 2Ki 17:24-41 Lu 9:52-54 Joh 4:5,9,20,22-24 Ac 1:8 8:1,5-25 


The remainder of Matthew 10:5-42 contains Jesus' instructions to the Twelve on sending them out. 

Broadus adds - The earlier portion of this (Mt 10:5–15), is also briefly reported by Mark (Mk 6:8–11), and Luke (Lk 9:3–5). The rest (Mt 10:16–42) is found in Matthew only. A charge closely resembling the earlier part of this discourse was also given to the Seventy, when sent out some time later. (Luke 10:1–16.)

These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them - Mk 6:7+ says He "began to send them out in pairs." Note this includes the betrayer! God's ways are so much higher than our ways! Can you imagine what went through the mind of the disciple who was partnered with him when the true identity was finally manifest in the Garden of Gethsemane! The Seventy also were sent forth two and two. (Luke 10:1+) We do not know how long either the 12 or the 70 ministered in this manner.  Instructing was a military term which represented the order of an officer to those under his command, an order that required unhesitating and unqualified obedience. Jesus gave his ''troops''  the ''military'' command because He knew (from His first encounter in Mt 4:1ff with Satan) that they would being waging a life and death struggle for the souls of men and the wiles of the Adversary were not to be underestimated.

Sent out (649)(apostello from apo = from, away from + stello = to withdraw from, avoid) means to send off, to send forth, to send out. To commission as a representative, ambassador or envoy. The idea was "to send off on a commission to do something as one’s personal representative, with credentials furnished" (Wuest) Jesus was expanding the impact of His ministry. 

Instructing (3853)(paraggello from para = beside, alongside, near by, at the side of + aggelos = messenger, aggello = to announce) means to hand on or pass on an announcement from one to another who is at one's side, such as to what must be done, usually with the idea of a command or charge.  It is like a mandate (an authoritative command) or a call to obedience from one in authority. This word in Greek has four special usages. (i) It is the regular word of military command … (ii) It is the word used of calling one’s friends to one’s help … (iii) It is the word which is used of a teacher giving rules and precepts to his students … (iv) It is the word which is regularly used for an imperial command.”

See list of the Twelve Disciples/Apostles. found in 4 lists -  Matthew 10:2f.  Mark 3:16f.  Luke 6:1 f.  Acts 1:13f. Peter always first, Judas Iscariot always last. 

Broadus on the lists of twelve - We observe at once that, with all the variety in the order of succession, Simon Peter is always first, and Judas Iscariot last. Again, the first six names in Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the five earliest known converts. (John 1:35–51), together with James, the brother of one of them; and the first four in all the lists are the two pairs of brothers whose call to follow Jesus is the earliest mentioned. (4:18–22.) Furthermore we note in each of the lists three groups of four, headed respectively in every list by Peter, Philip, and James, which groups contain always the same four persons, though within the limits of each group the order greatly varies, except as to Judas Iscariot. It seems a natural and unavoidable inference that the Twelve were in some sense divided into three companies of four, each having a recognized leader. The foremost in the first company, and at the head of all the Twelve, is Simon Peter.

Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans The way of the Gentiles was the road to Gentile countries. They’ were not at this time to proclaim the kingdom message of salvation to non-Jewish people. Yet at this particular time in Christ’s plan for proclaiming the gospel and for preparing the apostles. His objective was especially narrow and limited.  In the way of and any city of represent to Greek possessive genitives. The apostles were not to go into any way, or area, belonging to Gentiles or into any city that belonged to Samaritans. This was a temporary command which is clear from call in the Great Commission and also from the fact that Jesus had already ministered both to Gentiles and to Samaritans. He had healed the Gentile centurion’s servant (Mt. 8:5-13) and had first revealed Himself publicly as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman of Sychar, who believed in Him herself and led other Samaritans to saving faith (Jn 4:7-42)

The point is that Jesus’ own earthly ministry was limited. He did not travel outside Palestine, and His ministry to Gentiles and Samaritans was incidental when compared to His ministry to the Jews. He did not have preaching missions in Gentile territory, and He ministered to Samaritans only as He passed through their land while traveling between the Jewish regions of Judea and Galilee. All of His public teaching and preaching and the vast majority of His miraculous works were done among the Jews. To the Canaanite woman from the district of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt. 15:24). As already pointed out, His personal ministry to others besides Jews and His commands to take the gospel into all the world show that “only to ... Israel” referred to the primary objective of His work at that time. The gospel was not generally taken to non-Jews until it was first fully presented to God’s chosen people (cf. Ro 1:16). Jesus was now giving a limited command to His apostles that was valid only for that time and place in His divine plan of world redemption. But the command illustrates a principle that is valid for every ministry in every time and place-namely, that God gives His people clear, specific objectives for service and ministry.

D A Carson - “That Jesus felt it necessary to mention the Samaritans at all presupposes John 4. The disciples, happy in the exercise of their ability to perform miracles, might have been tempted to evangelize the Samaritans because they remembered Jesus’ success there.” 

John Broadus on Samaritans - SAMARIA was the district lying between Judea and Galilee. The dislike between the Jews and the Samaritans had its beginnings as far back as the earliest times of Israel in the jealousy existing between the tribes of Judah and Ephraim, which finally led to the division into two kingdoms. When the people of the Northern Kingdom (who came to be called Samaritans from the capital city, Samaria, 1 Kings 16:24), were carried into captivity by the Assyrians, the country was partly occupied by Mesopotamian colonists, who were idolaters. These gradually coalesced with the dregs of the Israelites who had been left in the land, and with the fugitives who returned from surrounding countries, into a half-heathen nation, attempting to unite idolatry with the worship of Jehovah. When the people of the Southern Kingdom, the Jews, returned from their captivity in Babylon, and undertook to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, the Samaritans proffered to help them; and being repulsed, as not of pure Israelitish descent, they then did all in their power to hinder the building of the temple, and the fortification of the city. A brother of the Jewish high-priest, having married a Samaritan woman, and being unwilling to put her away as required, went over to the Samaritans, and was made priest in a temple built for him on Mount Gerizim (Jos. “Ant.,” 11, 8, 2), which the Samaritans from that time began to contend was the proper place for the worship of Jehovah, rather than Jerusalem. (John 4:20.) These causes naturally led to bitter hatred between Jews and Samaritans, and they were constantly attempting to injure and insult each other, while under the dominion of the Greek kings of Syria. John Hyrcanus conquered the Samaritans, destroying their temple and capital (about B. C. 125). Pompey established their independence (B. C. 63). At the time of our Lord’s public ministry, Judea and Samaria were governed by the same Roman procurator, but as distinct administrative districts; and the hatred between the two nations, cherished through centuries, and combining all the elements of race jealousy, religious rivalry, political hostility, and numerous old grudges, had become so intense that the world has probably never seen its parallel. The theory of some writers that the Samaritans were of purely heathen origin, would suppose that the entire population of the Northern people was deported by the Assyrians—a thing extremely improbable; would render the frequent claim of the Samaritans to be Jews an absurdity; and would make it difficult to account for the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Samaritan expectation of Messiah. Fur the Samaritans, like the Jews, expected the Messiah (John 4:25, 29), and something like a year before this mission of the Twelve our Lords preaching among them at Sychar was warmly received, and many believed on him. (John 4:39–42.) Some time after this mission he also went twice through Samaria, and spoke and acted kindly towards them. (Luke 9:51 ff.; 17:11 ff.) Why, then, might not the Twelve go into their cities? It is enough to reply that the Twelve had not then such feelings towards that people as would qualify them to do good there. The proposal of James and John to call down fire from heaven upon a Samaritan village (Luke 9:52 ff.) shows that there would have been bitter controversies, with the old national hate ever ready to burst out (Comp. Bruce, “Training of the Twelve.”) In Acts 1:8, Samaria is expressly included in the field of their appointed labors after the ascension. (Comp. Acts 8:5.)

Matthew 10:6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

  • go: Mt 15:24-26 Lu 24:47 Ac 3:26 13:46 18:6 26:20 28:25-28 Ro 11:11-15 
  • lost: Mt 18:11 Ps 119:176 Isa 53:6 Jer 50:6,17 Eze 34:6,8,16 Lu 15:3-10 1Pe 2:25 


but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel - As Paul said "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Ro 1:16+; see also Lk 24:47+; Acts 13:46+) In Mt 15:24 Jesus describing His mission said "“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Of course this did not mean that Jesus came only to save Jews for John records our Lord saying "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd." (John. 10:16) 

Notice also that Jesus frequently intimated that the exclusive privileges to the lost house of Israel would not last always. For example Jesus declared "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;" (Mt 8:11+; see also Mt 10:18; Mt 21:43; Mt 22:9; Mt 24:14.)

Broadus explains part of the reason Jesus went to Israel first - By Confining his labors and those of the Twelve to them he avoided exciting their prejudices, and thus deprived them of even the poor excuse for rejecting him which they would have found in his preaching freely among the Gentiles and Samaritans."

John Trapp on sheep - “Like sheep, that silly creature, than the which as none is more apt to wander, so neither any more unable to return.” (Trapp)

Jesus description of the Jews recalls the famous passage in Isaiah where we see that we are ALL lost sheep in the eyes of God...

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.  (Isaiah 53:6+).

Sheep have shepherds and the "shepherds" of Israel were the Scribes and Pharisees who misled and neglected the "sheep" under their care. Jeremiah's description would be apropos for the religious leaders and the people of Israel - “My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill And have forgotten their resting place." (Jer 50:6). Similarly Ezekiel speaking of Israel's exile writes "“They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered." (Ezek 34:5) In Matthew 9:36+ we read "Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." The point is crystal clear that men need shepherds to lead them in spiritual matters. 

Guzik - Significantly, Jesus still called the Jewish people “the house of Israel” even though they had lost their Jewish state many decades before this time. God still saw them as “Israel,” even when there was not a political entity known as “Israel.”

Matthew Henry: The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, till the Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles was only in their first mission. 

Matthew 10:7 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

  • preach: Mt 4:17 11:1 Isa 61:1  Joh 3:2 Mk 6:12 Lu 9:60 16:16 Ac 4:2 
  • Kingdom of Heaven: Mt 3:2 11:11,12 21:31,43 23:13 Lu 9:2,6 10:9-11 Ac 10:25 28:31 


And as you go, preach, saying - Preach is present imperative calling for continual reliance upon the Holy Spirit to obey

Preach (proclaim) (2784kerusso  from kerux/keryx = a herald - one who acts as the medium of the authority of one who proclamation he makes; kerugma = the thing preached or the message) means to proclaim (publicly) or to herald or act as a public crier - the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. Kerusso was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of an earthly king, even as our gospel is to clearly announce the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16+)! The Imperial Herald would enter a town in behalf of the Emperor, and make a public proclamation of the message which his Sovereign ordered him to give, doing so with such formality, gravity, and authority as to emphasize that the message must be heeded! (Think about this in regard to the Gospel of God instead of the decree of a man! cf 1Th 2:13+). He gave the people exactly what the Emperor bade him give, nothing more, nothing less. He did not dare add to the message or take away from it. Should this not be the example and pattern every preacher and teacher of the holy gospel of God seeks and strives to emulate, yea, even doing so with fear and trembling! ("not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts" see 1Th 2:4+)

Kerusso in Matthew - Mt. 3:1; Mt. 4:17; Mt. 4:23; Mt. 9:35; Mt. 10:7; Mt. 10:27; Mt. 11:1; Mt. 24:14; Mt. 26:13; 

The kingdom of heaven is at hand - What are they to preach? The message is short and simple. Jewish people were acutely aware of the Kingdom and a message saying that the Kingdom is at hand would certainly get a Jewish person's attention! This message was virtually the same as that of Jesus Matthew writing that "From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17+) John the Baptist also preached this message  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 3:2+)

John MacArthur describes what the first century Jews (not just the Pharisees but the nation as a whole) were expecting in the future for the nation of Israel. It is especially notable that they were looking for and expecting a visible Kingdom of God. "And with Jesus' repeated mentions of the Kingdom and the phrase the Kingdom of God, the Jews were hoping that He would bring in the Kingdom. Notice how several times they try to crown Him king. Why did they do this? Because they thought from His words and actions that He was the King of the visible Kingdom they were looking for. And of course they were correct that Jesus was the King, but they did not understand that first He had to be received by faith as King of their hearts, King of an invisible, internal Kingdom. And recall His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on His last week of life. Because they expected the imminent establishment of the Kingdom of God, the Jewish crowds were shouting "BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD" (Lk 19:37+) The Jews thought that this was His coronation, and when they realized it was not, they called for His crucifixion (Lk 23:21+)." (Bolding added)

The phrase is at hand is one word in Greek, the verb  eggizo which means near in place, and in the present context, there is a sense in which the Kingdom is drawing near both in space and in time, in the sense that the King (Jesus) of the Kingdom is on the stage in this great drama of redemption. Is at hand is in the perfect tense which means it has drawn near and is now present. With the King now on the scene the day has arrived. Matthew's uses of eggizo - Matt. 3:2; Matt. 4:17; Matt. 10:7; Matt. 21:1; Matt. 21:34; Matt. 26:45; Matt. 26:46;

Kingdom of Heaven can be a somewhat complex subject but suffice it to say that it has a PRESENT REALITY which awaits a FUTURE REVELATION. The PRESENT REALITY is that the King is reigning in the hearts of those who have repented and believed in Him. The FUTURE REVELATION is the return of the King of kings to defeat His enemies and establish His Messianic rule on Earth (Millennium). It is predominantly this latter aspect of the Kingdom of God the nation was expecting and hoping for (cf (2 Sa 7:8-17; Isa. 11:1-9+Isa 24:23; Jer. 23:5-6; Mic 4:6-7+; Zech 9:9-10; Zech 14:9+; cf. Mt. 20:21; Mk 10:37; Mk 11:10; Mk 12:35-37; Mk 15:43; Luke 1:31-33+; Lk 2:25+, Lk 2:38+; Acts 1:6+)

Kingdom (932)(basileia from basileus = a sovereign, king, monarch) denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion. Basileia can also refer to the territory or people over whom a king rules. Matthew used the synonymous phrase the Kingdom of Heaven (32x) probably to appeal to the Jews who refused to say the Name of God, as an way to convey their sense of unworthiness. 

THOUGHT - All who live in the PRESENT REALITY are eagerly, expectantly looking for the FUTURE REVELATION, a mindset that motivates us to order our steps in a manner which is pleasing to the Lord. What (Who) you are looking for will (should) impact what (Who) you are living for beloved! That is why the Spirit inspired the writers of the NT to pen 1 in 30 verses either directly or indirectly describing the Second Coming o f the King! The first century church is said to have greeted one another with the watch word Maranatha. God grant that the church in these last days would do the same, and live accordingly. In Jesus' Name.  Amen

Related Resource:

Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

  • Heal: Mt 10:1 Mk 16:18 Lu 10:9 Ac 4:9,10,30 5:12-15 
  • freely: 2Ki 5:15,16,20-27 Ac 3:6 8:18-23 20:33-35 


Gratis describes the quality of an action where the action is willingly provided without any requirement by the provider for compensation or monetary remuneration. It's often referred to in English as free of charge, complimentary, or on the house. 

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons - All four commands are in present imperative calling for continual reliance upon the Holy Spirit to obey and for this to be the lifestyle of these 12 disciples (INCLUDING JUDAS THE BETRAYER SO CLEARLY THE PERFORMING OF THESE MIRACLES WAS AND IS NO INDICATION A SOUL IS TRULY SAVED! THIS EXPLAINS THE CRY FROM THOSE IN Mt 7:21-23+). The ability of the disciples to carry out any one of these things would have served to authenticate their ministry (especially their teaching), even as these items authenticated Jesus' ministry as from God. Each of these things speaks of the miraculous, but did not save the hearers (or those who witnessed these miracles), because salvation is a miracle that can only be achieved by believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, most of the Jews in Israel, while astonished by the miracles, did not receive the message! This is interesting because we know that many Jews were coming to John the Baptist to confess their sins and receive a baptism of forgiveness. Weren't they saved? No, not necessarily. John was a herald and his ministry pointed others to the saving ministry and message of Jesus, by which they would be definitely saved by grace through faith. So despite all the Jews coming out to John, we find that about 3 years later there were only 120 believers in the upper room! (Acts 1:15+). (For more on the ministry of John the Baptist see comments by Darrell Bock in Mark 1 Commentary).

Morris - The disciples were even given the power to raise the dead (BUT SEE THE TECHNICAL NOTE BELOW), although no instances of this are recorded until Peter's raising of Tabitha much later (Acts 9:40+). The testimony of Jesus heard by John the Baptist in prison (Matthew 11:5) may indicate that a number of such miracles did occur. (Defender's Study Bible) (ED: See also the resurrection of Eutychus by the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:7-9, 10+)

Freely you received, freely give - NLT = "Give as freely as you have received!" ESV = "You received without paying; give without pay." CSB = "You have received free of charge; give free of charge." (THIS IS ONE REASON I WOULD NEVER CHARGE FOR THIS WEBSITE!) It might be tempting to charge people for these miracles (televangelists have made an evil art of this in our day!), but this would discourage receiving any payment for these miracles. God's Spirit performed them. Men were simply the human instruments. God Alone should be the recipient of all praise and adulation, never finite men. 

Broadus on freely you received, freely give - The Jewish exorcists who pretended to cast out demons were no doubt accustomed to have pay; and physicians of course took pay for healing the sick. The Twelve could easily have obtained money, in large sums, for the cures they were empowered to perform (SEE  Why are there so many televangelist scandals?). We might think it strange that they should need to be told not to do so; but they had as yet very imperfect conceptions of the nature of Christ’s work, and not merely might Judas Iscariot have been glad enough to drive a brisk trade in miraculous healing for pay, but others of them might have seen no impropriety in receiving compensation for conferring such important benefits. Jesus tells them they received gratis, and must give gratis. They had not purchased the power of miraculous healing—as Simon Magus wished to do, (Acts: 8:18)—nor obtained it by long and expensive study, and laborious practice; it was received as a gift, and must be exercised in like manner. The miracles were really credentials for their teaching, as well as indications of divine benevolence, and should be used accordingly. As to teaching, we find Micah (3:11) making it a reproach that the heads of Israel “judge for reward, priests teach for hire, and prophets divine for money.” Some of the later Jewish writers maintained very earnestly, though often on fanciful grounds, and though many rabbis acted quite otherwise, that a man ought not to teach the law for pay, but gratuitously—just as Socrates and Plato held with reference to philosophy.

Technical Note on Raise the Dead - The majority of Byzantine minuscules, along with a few other witnesses (C(3 )K L G Q 700* al), lack nekrous egeirete, "raise the dead", most likely because of oversight due to a string of similar endings (-ete in the second person imperatives, occurring five times in v. 8). The longer version of this verse is found in several diverse and ancient witnesses such as a B C* (D) N 0281(vid )¦(1, 13 )33 565 al lat; P W D 348 have a word-order variation, but nevertheless include nekrous egeirete. Although some Byzantine-text proponents charge the Alexandrian witnesses with theologically-motivated alterations toward heterodoxy, it is interesting to find a variant such as this in which the charge could be reversed (do the Byzantine scribes have something against the miracle of resurrection?). In reality, such charges of wholesale theologically-motivated changes toward heterodoxy are immediately suspect due to lack of evidence of intentional changes (here the change is evidently due to accidental omission) (NET Note)

Related Resources:

Matthew 10:9 “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts,

  • Mk 6:8 Lu 9:3 Lk 10:4 22:35 1Co 9:7-27 


Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts - The verb acquire (ktaomai) means to procure for oneself. This is another way of saying they were not to charge for miracles! How can the Health and Wealth preachers read this and not repent and weep? (Why are there so many televangelist scandals?) In Mark 6:8 the disciples were instructed to take "no money in the belt, the Greek noun zone which was a belt or girdle used as article of clothing for men and was bound around the waist (cf John the Baptist Mk 1:6+). This belt served another function if one was in a hurry or wanted to run. The long robes worn by the men in that day could be tucked into this belt and free up leg movement. 

Related Resources:

Adam Clarke -  “What a scandal is it for a man to traffic with gifts which he pretends, at least, to have received from the Holy Ghost, of which he is not the master, but the dispenser. He who preaches to get a living, or to make a fortune, is guilty of the most infamous sacrilege.” (Read about Simon the Magician in Acts 8:9-24+ - Who was Simon the Sorcerer?)

Matthew 10:10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

  • bag : 1Sa 9:7 17:40 
  • two: Lu 3:11 2Ti 4:13 
  • for the: Lu 10:7-12 1Co 9:4-14 Ga 6:6,7 1Ti 5:17,18 

Parallel Passage:

Mark 6:8+  and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff–no bread, no bag, no money in their belt–

Or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. - This list continues the items that they were not to acquire and therefore seems to be at variance with what Jesus said in Mark 6:8+ (see above).

NET Note - "Mark 6:8+ allows one staff. It might be that Matthew's summary (cf. Luke 9:3) means not taking an extra staff or that the expression is merely rhetorical for "traveling light" which has been rendered in two slightly different ways." (NET Note)

David Turner - This reminds believers today that their ultimate ministry resource is the Lord’s power, not their own provisions. This simplicity of provisions tends to reflect negatively on the aggressive fund-raising and lavish accoutrements that are observed in certain ministries today. “Jesus’ agents live simply” (BECNT-Mt)

Morris - The parallel account of these instructions says that Jesus told "them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only" (Mark 6:8+). Since "stave" and "staff" are from the same Greek word, there seems to be a slight contradiction as to what Jesus actually said. However, "provide" (Matthew 10:9) comes from a different Greek word than "take" in Mark 6:8. That is, the disciples were told to take only what they already had, namely, the ordinary walking stick which they normally carried as they walked from place to place. But they were not to make other special preparations, nor to acquire an extra staff or new shoes or an additional coat, but to rely entirely on the Lord, through His people, to provide their needs.

Louis Barbieri comments on the difference regarding staff - Mark, however, recorded that the apostles could take a staff (Mark 6:8). This problem is solved by observing that Matthew said they were not to "procure" (ktēsēsthe) extra items (Matt. 10:9), but Mark wrote that they could "take" (airōsen) any staffs they already had. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Barclay - “He was once again speaking words which were very familiar to a Jew. The Talmud tells us that: ‘No one is to go to the Temple Mount with staff, shoes, girdle of money, or dusty feet.’ The idea was that when a man entered the temple, he must make it quite clear that he had left everything which had to do with trade and business and worldly affairs behind.”

Spurgeon - They were neither to be beggars nor feasters; but, being refreshed at one hospitable table, they were to go on with their work.

for the worker is worthy of his support.  This statement is quoted by Paul in 1 Timothy 5:18, the only place where a New Testament writer quotes another New Testament passage as "Scripture." This gives incidental confirmation of the New Testament--Luke in particular--as being on a par with the Old Testament Scriptures. (Morris) Jesus is saying that the worker was to be cared for and compensated regarding the necessities (housing, food, drink).  

1 Ti 5:18 - For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Paul quotes this passage from the Gospels in the same way as he used the Old Testament Scriptures, viewing both as divinely inspired (Lk 10:7).

Matthew Poole - “Our Saviour designed to give them an experience of the providence of God, and to teach them to trust in it.” 

This  passage is similar to Paul's instructions

(1 Cor. 9:14)  So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. 

(Galatians 6:6) The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

(1 Tim. 6:17-18) Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

John touched on this issue of support of those who minister the Gospel in his Third Epistle explaining how the early Church obeyed this principle by providing for its evangelists and teachers so they in turn would not be dependent on those to whom they ministered

Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth. (3 John 5-8).

Did Jesus command that the disciples take a staff or not?   PROBLEM: In Matthew, Jesus seems to say that the disciples should not take a staff, but in Mark it appears that He allows them to have one. SOLUTION: A closer examination reveals that the account in Mark (6:8) declares that the disciples are to take nothing except a staff, which a traveler would normally have. Whereas the account in Matthew states that they are not to acquire another staff. There is no discrepancy between these texts. Mark’s account is saying that they may take the staff that they have, while Matthew is saying that they should not take an extra staff or tunic. The text reads “Provide neither … two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs” (plural: vv. 9–10). It does not say that they should not take a staff (singular). So there is no contradiction. (When Critics Ask) (See also related discussion on Mark 6:8)

Matthew 10:11 “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 

TEV  “Go in and look for someone who is willing to welcome you, and stay with him until you leave that place”

NIV  Matthew 10:11 "Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.

NJB  Matthew 10:11 'Whatever town or village you go into, seek out someone worthy and stay with him until you leave.

GWN  Matthew 10:11 "When you go into a city or village, look for people who will listen to you there. Stay with them until you leave that place.

  • inquire: Ge 19:1-3 Jud 19:16-21 1Ki 17:9-24 Job 31:32 Lu 10:38-42 Lu 19:7 Ac 16:15 18:1-3 3Jn 1:7,8 
  • and there: Mk 6:10 Lu 9:4 10:7,8 

Related Passages:

Mark 6:10-12 And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. 11 “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” 12They went out and preached that men should repent.

Luke 10:5-6 “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6“If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it - Worthy in this context refers to those spiritual character of the hosts (godliness, men and women of integrity, upstanding reputation) not to the nature of their accommodations. This of course is very logical for if the disciples were to stay with someone of unwholesome reputation, their message and ministry would likewise be tainted and their testimony would be weakened.

THOUGHT - Jesus gives a good principle for all believers. If we desire our testimony to be sparkling and superlative, we do well to avoid ungodly associations which would sully the Name of Christ. 

And stay at his house until you leave that city - Why does Jesus say stay put? For one thing He is calling His disciples to be content with the worthy person's hospitality and don't be attracted to another person's more impressive accommodations. Paul practiced this principle writing...

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:11-13+)

"Jesus telling his disciples to stay with them in one house contrasts with the practice of religious philosophers in the ancient world who went from house to house begging." (NET NOTE)

Matthew 10:12 “As you enter the house, give it your greeting.

  • greetingt: Lu 10:5-6 Ac 10:36 2Co 5:20 3Jn 1:14 


As you enter the house, give it your greeting - Presumably speak "Shalom," (see shalom) the classic Jewish greeting which convey a blessing of well-being and wholeness. In Luke Jesus adds "Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6“If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you." (Lk 10:5-6+)

Guzik makes an interesting observation that "There is no mention of them preaching in the synagogues, only being scourged in them (Matthew 10:17). This was a house-to-house, open field, street preaching ministry." 

POSB - Saluting, that is, approaching cordially, does several things. a.  It communicates a friendliness and kindness which encourages an open reception. b.  It opens the door to more conversation which the messenger can turn into a presentation of the gospel. c.  It tells immediately whether a person is receptive or not. (The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Matthew)

Matthew 10:13 “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.

  • Ps 35:13 Lu 10:6 2Co 2:16 

Related Passage:

2 Corinthians 2:14-16+  But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

If the house is worthy (axios), give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy (axios), take back your blessing of peace - GWT = "If it is a family that listens to you, allow your greeting to stand. But if it is not receptive, take back your greeting." Both "if's" are third class conditions which meant probable future action. The Gospel is good news of peace with God (Ro 5:1). This suggests the house recognized the disciples as ambassadors of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Were those in the house saved? It is difficult to state from this text alone but reception of the message of the Kingdom suggests they may have become "believers." To be sure they would have heard the Gospel for these men had their feet shod with preparation of the Gospel of peace (Eph 6:15+). Take back your blessing of peace means either depart or retract or withdraw your blessing (because it was never actually received). (See dusting off your sandals below).

The failure to accept the greeting reminds us of John 5:40 "and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life."

MacArthur - The implication is that truly receptive listeners were to be ministered to in the fullest way. Their open hearts to the Lord's work earned them God's richest blessing. "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet," Jesus explained a short while later, "shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward" Matt. 10:41. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew)

BSB - Those who genuinely welcome the gospel message of the Twelve are accorded special peace, while "unworthy" households forfeit the peace which accompanies the gospel.

What the Bible Teaches - A "worthy" house was a receptive house, suitable as a base for evangelistic endeavour. Additionally the peace of mind and heart that characterised the apostles was to promote a spiritual atmosphere in the house, for their attitude was gentle, patient and loving, as distinct from harsh, sharp and critical. Paul always greeted his readers with grace and peace—not the peace that the world formally offered, but the peace of Christ Himself (John 14:27). But if, upon further investigation, the house proved not to be worthy, then nothing was to be left in it since nothing had been received from it. The servants were to leave unruffled; they would depart in peace as they had arrived in peace, in keeping with 2 Tim 2:24, "the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient". (What the Bible teaches – Matthew and Mark)

Matthew 10:14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

  • whoever: Mt 10:40,41 18:5 Mk 6:11 9:37 Lu 9:5,48 10:10,11  Joh 13:20 1Th 4:8 
  • shake: Ne 5:13 Ac 13:51 18:6 20:26,27 


Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words Receive is the verb dechomai which means something akin to putting out the welcome mat for someone. Here the Jewish hearers are in effect pulling out the "welcome mat" from beneath the feet of the evangelists, feet which have been shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace" (Eph 6:15+)! The idea inherent in heed is not just to hear to to hear so as to respond or obey. In this case the good news of the traveling evangelists in effect goes "in one ear and out the other!", a modern idiom that means what was heard was immediately dismissed, ignored or forgotten after being heard. John records of Jesus that "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (Jn 1:11+) Like Master, like students!

As you go out of that house or that city, shake (aorist imperative) the dust off your feet. -  It is like saying "You have had an opportunity to hear the Gospel of salvation, but you have rejected it and you will receive a just retribution for your rejection." It was common for Jews to shake the dust violently off their feet—as an expression of disdain, a violent gesture of disfavour—when returning from Gentile regions. Paul and Barnabas also did this when expelled from Antioch (Acts 13:51+). This was a visible protest, signifying that they regarded the place as no better than a pagan land. The Jews had violent prejudices against the smallest particles of Gentile dust, not as a purveyor of disease of which they did not know, but because it was regarded as the putrescence of death. If the apostles were mistreated by a host or hostess, they were to be treated as if they were Gentiles Mt 18:17; Ac 18:6 

Morris - Once the saving gospel has been clearly presented, and is rejected by the hearers, then the witnessing believer should not argue further for a conversion. There are multitudes of others still waiting to hear, and the Christian should go on to present the gospel to them. The Holy Spirit must convict those he leaves.

MacArthur comments on shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them - "When they came back into Israel from a Gentile country, many Jews would literally shake as much dust off their feet as possible in order not to bring pagan soil into their homeland. For the apostles to shake the dust off their feet while leaving a Jewish house or town would be to treat the inhabitants like Gentiles—whom most Jews considered to be out of God's reach. When the leaders of the synagogue in Pisidia of Antioch drove Paul and Barnabas out of their district, the two men "shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium." (Acts 13:51+). Of the unbelieving Jews there Paul had declared, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles." (Mt 10:46; cf. Mt. 7:6). It is not that we are to turn away from those who reject the gospel at first hearing or even after several hearings. Had that practice been followed, many believers would not be in the kingdom today. Through Paul, the Lord Himself entreated unbelieving Corinthians to "be reconciled to God." (2 Cor. 5:20). Were God not marvelously patient and long-suffering with fallen mankind, He would have destroyed the world long ago. He is infinitely patient with sinners, Peter tells us, "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Pet. 3:9). Jesus was not speaking of those who are slow to understand or believe but of those who, after hearing a clear testimony of the gospel and seeing dramatic and irrefutable signs of confirmation, continue to resist and oppose it. When a person's mind is firmly set against God, we should turn our efforts to others. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15)

QuestionWhat does it mean to shake the dust off your feet? 

Answer: The command to “shake the dust off your feet” appears only four times in the New Testament. In each case the command is spoken by Jesus to His disciples when He sent them out two by two (Matthew 10:14; Luke 9:5). In Mark 6:11 Jesus says, “And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” In the Matthew 10 account, Jesus clarifies His meaning: “Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town” (verse 15).

Shaking the dust off one’s feet conveys the same idea as our modern phrase “I wash my hands of it.” Shaking the dust off the feet is a symbolic indication that one has done all that can be done in a situation and therefore carries no further responsibility for it. In the scriptural examples, Jesus was telling His disciples that they were to preach the gospel to everyone. Where they were received with joy, they should stay and teach. But where their message was rejected, they had no further responsibility. They were free to walk away with a clear conscience, knowing they had done all they could do. Shaking the dust off their feet was, in effect, saying that those who rejected God’s truth would not be allowed to hinder the furtherance of the gospel. Even the dust of those cities that rejected the Lord was an abomination and would not be allowed to cling to the feet of God’s messengers.

Embedded within this symbolic gesture was the implication that God also saw the dust-shaking and would judge people accordingly. There was a spiritual significance to a disciple of Jesus shaking the dust off his feet. It was a statement of finality about people who had been given the truth and who had rejected it. On their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas put Jesus’ words into practice. They had been preaching in Pisidian Antioch, but some of the Jewish leaders of that city stirred up persecution against the missionaries and had them expelled from the region. “So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium” (Acts 13:51+). Antioch may not have welcomed the gospel as they should have, but that didn’t keep the message from spreading to other areas. Paul and Barnabas had done all they were sent to do, and the responsibility was now on the shoulders of those in Antioch. The apostles had proclaimed truth boldly. Some had accepted it eagerly; some had rejected it with violence. The apostles were not responsible for the Antiochians’ level of acceptance, only for their own obedience to God.

There are situations in our lives where God calls us to stand firm, proclaim truth, and give patient testimony. Sometimes we need to continue until we see the results of that testimony. Other times God gives us the freedom to move on. We figuratively “shake the dust off our feet” when, under the Holy Spirit’s direction, we surrender those people to the Lord and emotionally let go. We have the freedom then to move into the next phase of ministry. Jesus’ instruction to “shake the dust off our feet” reminds us that we are only responsible for our obedience to God, not for the results of that obedience.(Source:

Matthew 10:15 “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

  • Truly  : Mt 5:18 24:34,35 
  • It: Mt 11:22-24 Eze 16:48-56 Mk 6:11 Lu 10:11-12  Joh 15:22-24 
  • in the: Mt 12:36 2Pe 2:9 3:7 1Jn 4:17 

Related Passages:

Matthew 11:22-24 “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

Luke 10:12-16+ “I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.  13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 “But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. 15 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!  16 “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.


Truly - Jesus gives His "amen" at the beginning of this judgment. It is true!

it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city (See also Mt 10:15, 11:20-24, 12:41,42 Jn 19:11, Lu 10:12-16, 11:31,32, 12:47,48, 20:45,46,47, Mk 12:38,39,40, Heb 10:29) -  Jesus is clearly teaching that there will be degrees of punishment in Gehenna (Lake of fire, Hell, but not "hades") even as He teaches there are greater rewards in heaven (Rev 22:12). In other words Hell will be more horrible and "hotter" (in some way) for some them others! Sodom and Gomorrah were indescribably wicked (Jude 1:7) and yet less overtly evil cities of Israel would be more culpable because they rejected greater light of the Gospel presented by the Savior Himself! The principle is rejection of greater spiritual light results in greater eternal punishment!  The writer of Hebrews rightly says "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb 10:31+)

THOUGHT - This is one reason I have stopped sharing the Gospel with some folks who are not only non-receptive, but sometimes hostile. They know what I believe and if the Spirit urges them, they know they can ask me. Otherwise I have dusted off my shoes so that their hell will not be even more horrible because of their repeated rejection of the Gospel light. 

Gilbrant- The fate of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-19:29) was proverbial in the Old Testament (Isaiah 1:9ff.). Sodom and Gomorrah represent evil (cf. Matthew 11:22-24; Luke 17:29; Romans 9:29; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7), and they will have no hope on judgment day. Judgment day is that "day" of the end time on which the world will be judged (cf. Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:11-15+). (Complete Biblical Library Commentary – Matthew)

Related Resource:

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

  • as sheep: Lu 10:3 Ac 20:29 
  • wise: Ge 3:1,13 Lu 21:15 Ro 16:19 1Co 14:20 2Co 11:3,14 Eph 5:15-17 Col 1:9 4:5 
  • harmless: or, simple, Ro 16:18,19 2Co 1:12 8:20 11:3 Php 2:15 1Th 2:10 5:22 

Related Passage:

Romans 16:19  For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.


Behold (2400)(idou) is the second person singular aorist middle imperative of eidon which means to see, perceive, look at. In the NT idou is used as a demonstrative particle that draws attention to what follows. Idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!" Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

While we desire to share the Gospel, we must not be naive, because if we really tell people the Gospel like Paul did in Romans -- first that they are sinners separated from God with no desire to even seek Him, they will likely be hostile toward us (especially if they think they are "religious"), because their heart is depraved, they love their sin and they hate true righteousness in any form. The word is "Share but Beware!" 

I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves - Jesus uses striking figure of speech that all in this agrarian culture would immediately perceive. In Palestine, wolves were the most common natural enemy of sheep. They roamed the hills and valleys, looking for a sheep that strayed away from the flock or lagged behind. Beloved, can you see here the inherent importance of being in community, of being an active (not passive) member of a Bible believing church? You are less likely to be mangled by the "wolves" (which include the world, the flesh and the devil). When a wolf found such a sheep it quickly attacked and tore it to pieces. Even a grown, healthy sheep was utterly defenseless against a wolf.

Utley - This the first of four metaphors from the animal kingdom that characterize humanity.

Spurgeon - Here you see sheep sent forth among the wolves, as if they were the attacking party, and were bent upon putting down their terrible enemies. It is a novel sight, such as nature can never show, but grace is full of marvels.....After all, the mission of sheep to wolves is a hopeful one, since we see in the natural world that the sheep, though so feeble, by far outnumber the wolves who are so fierce.”

J Vernon McGee - Having spoken about the local situation, the Lord now gives these men certain great principles by which they are to go as His witnesses. These principles are good for time and eternity, and they certainly are good for our day. The child of God should be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. It is dangerous to be one and not the other. I have met some who are wise as serpents -- they are clever -- but they are not helpless as doves. To use a common expression, they will take you. I know others who are quite gullible; they are harmless as doves, but they are not wise as serpents. A serpent is dangerous, and a dove is in danger, so that we need to combine both qualities.

So - A term of conclusion based on the previous truth that wolves are out there looking to devour Christian sheep! 

Be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves - Shrewd  means astute and penetrating. Jesus commands this to be the disciple's continual mindset, for be is in the present imperative, which necessitates continuing dependence on the Holy Spirit in order to obey this command! As doves means to be innocent, gentle, avoiding violent means to retaliate when persecuted. One is reminded of Paul's charge in Col 4:5+ to "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most (redeeming) of the opportunity (kairos)." Jesus is our example, for in the Garden when they came to arrest Him, Peter cut off an ear and Jesus healed the ear and said no more of that (Lk 22:50-51+). 

MacArthur - The basic idea is that of saying the right thing at the right time and place, of having a sense of propriety and appropriateness, and of trying to discover the best means to achieve the highest goal (cf 1 Cor. 9:19-22+). It is neither wise nor loving to be needlessly accusatory or inflammatory. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew)

Spurgeon - “The Christian missionary will need to be wary, to avoid receiving harm; but he must be of a guileless mind, that he do no harm.”

Shrewd (5429)(phronimos from phronéo = think, have a mindset related to phren = diaphragm, regarded by ancients as seat of mental and spiritual activity, came to mean mind or understanding) is an adjective which describes one who is thoughtful, sagacious or discreet. It describes the quality of one's thinking which is the result of insight and stands in opposition to moros which means foolish. The idea is that there is understanding combined with wisdom and insight. Phronimos implies a cautious, sensible, prudent character and in Mt 10:16 refers to one as "shrewd" as a serpent. One who is shrewd has clever discerning awareness, acute perception and sharp powers of judgment. Phronimos also includes the ideas of one who is prudent, sensible and practically wise in relationships with others. There is a type of phronimos that is desirable (eg, here in Mt 7:24, 10:16, et al) and a type that is not desirable (Ro 11:26, 12:16) this latter describing the person who relies on their own innate wisdom.

Matthew 10:17 “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;

  • beware: Mic 7:5 Mk 13:9,12 Ac 14:5,6 17:14 23:12-22 2Co 11:24-26 Php 3:2 2Ti 4:15 
  • for: Mt 24:9,10 Mk 13:9 Lu 12:11 21:12,13  Joh 16:2 Ac 4:6-22 5:26-42 Ac 23:1-11 
  • courts: Mt 5:22 26:59 Joh 11:47 
  • scourge: Mt 20:19 23:34 De 25:2,3 Ac 5:40 22:19 26:11 2Co 11:24,25 Heb 11:36 

Related Passage:

Deuteronomy 25:3+ (RULES FOR FLOGGING) “He may beat him forty times but no more, so that he does not beat him with many more stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes. 


There is a similar warning in Lk 21:12-19+

But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 “It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. 14“So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. 16 “But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17 and you will be hated by all because of My name. 18“Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 19 “By your endurance you will gain your lives. 

But beware of men - As in the case of shrewdness in the previous passage beware is also in the present imperative, which also calls for habitual dependence on the Holy Spirit in order to obey!

Beware (pay or give attention) (4337)(prosecho from pros = before, toward + echo = hold) means literally to hold to, toward or before. Originally it was followed by the word "the mind" (nous) but at times "the mind" was omitted but still the idea of "the mind" was implied. To apply one’s self to. To attach one’s self to. Prosecho means to moor a ship, to tie it up. Prosecho was also used to mean “to remain on course”. Figuratively (see also below) the idea is to hold one's mind before then to take heed, to pay attention, to give heed, be in a state of alert, to watch out for or to be on guard. The word implies the giving one’s consent, as well as one’s attention. When used in this manner prosecho always warns of some type of danger (usually spiritual danger but occasionally physical)! Prosecho is not a call simply to notice or sense something, but to be on guard against it because it is so harmful (eg, the danger of practicing your righteousness for others to see, the danger of false prophets, false teachers and false teaching, the danger of the Pharisees and Sadducees). The idea is to turn one’s mind or attention to a thing by being on one’s guard against it.

For they will hand you over (paradidomito the courts (sunedrion) and scourge (mastigoo) you in their synagogues - For explains why they needed to beware. Jesus prophetically ("will hand") warns that persecution will be accompanied by painful punishment. Forewarned is forearmed! They would be flogged, likely with a bastinado, which is a stick or club, which inflicted painful punishment. It would be at times like this that would need to remember the promise of future reward (Mt 5:10-12+). Future hope (not hope so, but hope sure) motivates present perseverance! Courts (sunedrion) initially would be the Jewish courts, which was carried out in the synagogues. The initial attacks against the Gospel would be from the Jews, the "religious" people!

Scourge (3146)(mastigoo from mástix = plague, whip, scourge) means literally to flog or scourge. The scourge was first a whip used as an instrument of punishment and then figuratively came to mean to punish severely or to drive as if by blows of a whip. It was the normal and legal preliminary to crucifixion. In the case of Jesus (Luke 23:22+) it was inflicted before the sentence of crucifixion was pronounced. Pilate hoped to avert the extreme punishment and satisfy the Jews at the same time. The Jewish method of scourging, as described in the Mishnah, was by the use of 3 thongs of leather, the offender receiving 13 stripes on the bare breast and 13 on each shoulder (cf. the “forty stripes save one,” as administered to Paul 5 times [2 Corinthians 11:24]).

McGee - I have never been scourged in a synagogue, but I have been verbally scourged in some of our good churches.

William Barclay quipped that "the man with a message from God has to undergo the hatred and enmity of a fossilized orthodoxy."

MacArthur - Those who suffer for Christ will be defended by Christ. Many of the most memorable and powerful testimonies of the great martyrs were uttered just before they were put to death. God gave them a special presence of mind and clarity of thought to present a testimony more powerful than they would otherwise have been able to give. (See Matthew Commentary)

R C H Lenski - Without previous thinking, planning, imagining, at the time of their trials in court, the Apostles will receive directly from God just what to utter. It will come into their minds just as it is needed, and thus they will utter it aloud.... The apostles, indeed, make utterance, and yet they do not, for their act is due to the Holy Spirit, so that most properly he is the one who does his uttering. Everything that is mechanical, magical, unpsychological is shut out.... The apostles will not be like the demoniacs, their organs of speech and their very wills being violated by a demon. Absolutely the contrary: mind, heart, will operate freely, consciously, in joyful, trustful dependence on the Spirit's giving, who enables them to find just what to say and how to say it down to the last word, with no mistake or even a wrong word due to faulty memory or disturbed emotions occurring. This, of course, is Inspiration, Verbal Inspiration. (The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel)

Darrell Bock - Jesus promises that He will supply the replies needed. This is an indirect way to speak of the work of the Spirit (Mt 10:19-20Mk 13:11). (The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study - Luke)

C H Spurgeon - You need wisdom so to conduct your affairs that nothing therein shall scandalize the weak, or bring dishonor upon the name of Christ; for mere knowledge will not suffice for this.

Luke records an example of the fulfillment of this promise

Acts 6:9+ But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.10 But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. (See also Acts 4:8-12+ and Acts 5:29-32+)

Matthew 10:18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

  • be: Ps 2:1-6 Ac 5:25-27 12:1-4 Acts 23:33,34 Acts 24:1-26:32 2Ti 4:16,17 
  • for a: Mt 8:4 Mk 13:9 2Ti 1:8 Rev 1:9 6:9 11:7 

Related Passage: 

Acts 5:25-27+  But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).  27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them,

Acts 9:1-2  Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Colossians 1:24   Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Galatians 6:17  From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks (SCARS, ETC) of Jesus. 

1 Peter 4:14   If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.


and you will (more prophecy) even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony (marturion/martyrion) to them and to the Gentiles (ethnos) - Roman Governors were men like Pilate, Felix, and Festus. Kings they would encounter in Acts included Agrippa (Acts 26:1-2ff) and Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1ff). Note the qualifying phrase for My sake. When we suffer we are to suffer for Christ, not because we have done something that deserves punishment, but because we stand for Christ and the world hates Christ, so they will hate us! (cf Jn 15:18-21, Mt 12:30) Remember also that because we are in an insoluble, binding covenant with Christ, when they persecute us, they are in effect persecuting Christ (see Acts 22:7).

This reminds me of Paul's testimony 2Ti 4:18 "The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. "

Jesus prophesies the punishment provides a pulpit for the Gospel to them (Jews) and to the Gentiles (pagans, idol worshippers). The may have winced at the mention of Gentiles, but in Acts 10 Peter would take the Gospel to the Gentiles. Notice the Romans 8:28 aspect of our suffering, in this case providing a platform for give a witness to the Gospel. Paul was a witness before Felix and Drusilla (Acts 24:24-25+)

But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened (THIS WAS A GOOD START, BUT NO EVIDENCE OF A GOOD FINISH) and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.”

Morris - This would not happen during the disciples' first missionary journey around Israel but was fulfilled in intense measure later. Jesus was giving instructions to His disciples not only for their immediate assignment, but for the future worldwide evangelization ministry He would give them and all subsequent disciples. The instructions from Matthew 10:16 to the end of the chapter apply to all believers from then until "the Son of man be come" (Matthew 10:23). (Borrow The Defender's Study Bible)

Adam Clarke - “This affords a striking proof of the prescience of Christ. Who could have thought, at that time, that these despised and illiterate men could excite so much attention, and be called upon to apologize for the profession of their faith before the tribunals of the most illustrious personages of the earth?”

Matthew 10:19 “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.

  • when: Mk 13:11-13 Lu 12:11 21:14,15 
  • do not worry: Mt 6:25,31,34 Php 4:6 Jas 1:5 
  • it shall: Ex 4:12,15 Jer 1:7,9 Da 3:16-18 Ac 4:8-14 5:29-33 6:10 Ac 26:2-11 2Ti 4:17 


But when they hand you over (paradidomi), do not worry (merimnao) about how or what you are to say - Note the time phrase "when." You say "so what?" The point is that when is not "if," but implies that they will be handed over to the authorities. Jesus knew it would be the natural reaction to be anxious if handed over to the authorities. 

William Barclay postulates that "It was not the humiliation which early Christians dreaded, not even the cruel pain and the agony. But many of them feared that their own unskilfulness in words and defence might injure rather than commend the truth. It is the promise of God that when a man is on trial for his faith, the words will come to him.” 

For it will be given you in that hour what you are to say - For is a term of explanation and here explains why they are not to worry before the authorities. Note in that hour indicates God's timing for this gift of speech perfectly timed. This principle of divine provision for speech is seen in the OT in the life of Moses (Ex 4:12,15) and the life of Jeremiah. (Jer 1:7,9). As McGee notes below Jesus is not giving them a carte blanche to not prepare a verbal defense.

J Vernon McGee has a pithy comment - I believe these verses apply to those men who had no opportunity to prepare answers when they were arrested for doing the job Jesus sent them to do. These men sent out by the Lord made no preparation, and if we place these verses in the local situation, we will have no problem with them at all. Unfortunately, there are many folk who apply these verses to themselves and make no preparation for their sermons! When I was in seminary, a fellow student, who was a little odd in more ways than one, believed that he should preach without any preparation. A friend and I decided one night that we would go and hear him preach. Well, it was painfully obvious that he had not prepared his message. On the way back to the seminary, my friend, who had even more nerve than l had, asked him, "Did you prepare that message tonight?"

Matthew 10:20 “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.  

BGT  Matthew 10:20 οὐ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ἐστε οἱ λαλοῦντες ἀλλὰ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν τὸ λαλοῦν ἐν ὑμῖν.

KJV  Matthew 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

NET  Matthew 10:20 For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

CSB  Matthew 10:20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

ESV  Matthew 10:20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

NIV  Matthew 10:20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

NLT  Matthew 10:20 For it is not you who will be speaking-- it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

NRS  Matthew 10:20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

YLT  Matthew 10:20 for ye are not the speakers, but the Spirit of your Father that is speaking in you.

GWN  Matthew 10:20 Indeed, you're not the ones who will be speaking. The Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you.

NKJ  Matthew 10:20 "for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

NAB  Matthew 10:20 For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

MIT  Matthew 10:20 In reality, it will not be you talking, but your father's spirit will be speaking by means of you.

NJB  Matthew 10:20 because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.

  • but: 2Sa 23:2 Mk 12:36 Lu 11:13 21:15 Ac 2:4 4:8 6:10 7:55,56 Ac 28:25 1Pe 1:12 2Pe 1:21 
  • your: Mt 6:32 Lu 12:30-32 

For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you - Jesus continues with another for (term of explanation) explaining that they would be given words to speak by Holy Spirit. This is a prophecy not only of provision of His words but provision of the Spirit who they did not have but would receive at Pentecost. Normally the Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus or Spirit of  Christ, but here of the Father (cf Mt 6:32 Lu 12:30-32), showing the involvement of the Godhead in their ministry. 

Matthew 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

  • brother: Mt 10:34-36 24:10 Mic 7:5,6 Zec 13:3 Mk 13:12,13 Lu 12:51-53 Lu 21:16,17 
  • children: 2Sa 16:11 17:1-4 Job 19:19 

Related Passages:

Matthew 24:10+  “At that time many (NOTE WELL - "MANY") will fall away (PROPHECY - skandalizo) and will betray (paradidomi)  one another and hate one another.

Luke 12:51-53+  “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; 52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided (PROPHECY), three against two and two against three. 53 “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” 

Luke 21:16+ “But you will be (PROPHECY) betrayed (paradidomi) even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17  and you will be hated by all because of My name.


Brother will betray (paradidomi), brother to death (thanatos), and a father his child; and children will rise up against (rebel against) parents and cause them to be put to death (thanatoo) - Note the two prophecies marked by "will" and Jesus' prophecies are always fulfilled. These are startling words to the disciples (then and now) but it is necessary for us to hear and understand the cost of following Jesus and proclaiming His Gospel. Forewarned is forearmed (in the sense that we will not be shocked or surprised when we are attacked for the Name of Jesus.). Opposition will come through civil and religious avenues and also through close personal relationships. This later shows the depth of the depravity of the human heart that one would hate Jesus so much that they are willing to kill those they (under normal circumstances) love most on earth!  If Jesus had predicted with these statements about murder by family members, one would never have imagined such horrible fates! How would children cause parents to be put to death? They could report them to the authorities and this is a realistic scenario in strict Muslim countries when a family member comes to Christ.

There is no middle ground with Jesus!

These prophecies were especially directed to the first disciples, but they apply to disciples of all ages as the thick volume of Foxe's Book of Martyrs would attest! The Gospel and loyalty to Jesus is the ultimate "line in the sand!" There is no middle ground with Jesus! If you are not for Him, you are against Him and His disciples (Lk 11:23+, Mt 12:30+). "Many think that because they are not decidedly opposing Christ, they are somehow acceptable to God. However, the significance of the Lord's statement is that there is no such thing as neutrality with reference to Christ. Either a man is wholly committed to Christ, or else he finds himself in total opposition to Him." (Believer's Study Bible) So His disciples should not be shocked that even the closest human ties are in effect "broken" by one's response to Jesus. Jesus had warned the disciples earlier about this harsh reality declaring "for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Lu 12:52-53+) This truth makes Jesus words "deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Me" take on a new meaning. This is another example of counting the cost of following Jesus. death (2289)(thanatoo from thanatos = death) means literally to kill, to cause to be put to death, to mortify, to give up to death, to condemn to death or to deliver over to death. This verb describes what the Jews sought to do to Jesus and eventually accomplished (Mt 26:59, Mt 27:1, Mk 13:12) and what those opposed to Jesus will seek to do the same to His followers!

Matthew 10:22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.  

  • will be hated: Mt 24:9 Isa 66:5,6 Lu 6:22  Joh 7:7 15:18,19 17:14 1Jn 3:13 
  • because of My name: Mt 10:39 5:11  Joh 15:21 Ac 9:16 2Co 4:11 Rev 2:3 
  • but: Mt 24:13 Da 12:12,13 Mk 13:13 Lu 8:15 Ro 2:7 Ga 6:9 Heb 3:14 Heb 6:11 Jas 1:12 Jude 1:20,21 Rev 2:7,10,17,26 3:21 

Related Passage:

Luke 21:17+  and you will be hated by all because of My name.


You will be hated (miseo) by all because of My Name - Notice the by all, which is not a popular teaching! It is not very encouraging. Why? Romans 1:30 explains that one trait of men who refuse the truth about God and refuse to give Him thanks is that they are given over to their depraved nature and one of the manifestations of that nature is hatred of God! (Ro 1:30+). The term of explanation because clearly explain why unregenerate sinners hate saved sinners! So because they hate God, they hate Jesus the God-Man and they hate His disciples, God's men and women!

THOUGHT - Needless to say when we are presenting the Good News of the Gospel, it is probably not wise to tell them if you believe in the Name above all names, you will be hated by all men! On the other hand as we are discipling new believers, we need to be careful NOT to avoid the truth of this teaching lest the disciple is caught unawares by a "surprise attack" from some godless individual! I was not discipled, despite asking many men in a local Bible church to disciple me after I was first born again, and learned painfully of the truth Jesus taught in this passage. And it almost destroyed my faith, except that God in His grace held me fast when I was falling fast into despair and disillusionment. The upshot is we must teach true disciples that they must count the cost (Lk 14:28KJV+ and see Luke 14:25-35+ for cost of being a disciple)

but it is the one who has endured (hupomeno) to the end (telos) who will be saved (sozo - great prophetic promise!- Praise God for this divine ray of hope brought out by but, a term of contrast. Do not misinterpret this teaching. Jesus is NOT saying our endurance will merit or earn salvation. What He is saying is that the one who endures to the end will demonstrate by their endurance that he or she is a genuine disciple, a sinner who is truly born again. A parallel truth is seen in the parable of the sower/soils in Jesus' description of the fourth soil declaring "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." (Lk 8:15+). How does a soil prove it is good soil in farming? It bears fruit. How does an individual prove they are good soil in the spiritual sense? They bear fruit. And how do they bear fruit? Just like a farmer does, with perseverance (hupomone, noun related to hupomeno "endured"). And how do we persevere? One way is by continually taking in the Word, including the Old Testament (see Ro 15:4+ where perseverance =  hupomone). The ultimate way we persevere is because God gives us the supernatural power to persevere (Ro 15:5+). His Spirit within us gives us the desire (to persevere) and the power (to persevere) and this is pleasing to our Father (Php 2:13NLT+). Dear brother or sister in Christ, if you are being pressed on, press on in the power of the Spirit (don't try to do it in reliance on your power!) When is the end? Could be the end of our life on earth. Prophetically it could be the end of this age when Messiah returns to right all wrongs. 

Endured (persevered) (5278)(hupomeno from hupó = under, as in under the rule of someone + méno = to abide or remain - see study of noun hupomone) means literally to remain under but not simply with resignation, but with a vibrant hope, a hope enlivened by the Spirit and the Word. The idea of enduring then is not just to "grin and bear it" but to remain under trials in a such a way that we glorify God as we learn the lessons the trials are meant to teach us, instead of seeking ways to get out from under (cf the prefix preposition "hupo" = under) the trials and be relieved of the pressure.

"True Christian perseverance is not tied to tenacity. It is rather the work of God the Holy Spirit in a believer's life. The starch in a saint's spine is shown by Scripture to be nothing less than the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can one explain the work of Gladys Aylward, a London parlor maid. Societies scorned her missionary application. She seemed too dull to master Chinese and fulfill her vision of serving in China. Realizing this, she scoured up her own fare to China and sailed in 1930. After slogging her way across Siberia she reached her field in remote Yangcheng. When the Japanese invaded in 1940 she led 100 children on an epic journey that caught the imagination of Hollywood (Ed: Watch the movie about her life - The Inn of the Sixth Happiness or DVD). In 1947 failing health forced her back to England where she crusaded for missions until her death in 1970. That was tenacity, not just British grit. It is God's persevering grace. (Borrow New Testament Words in Today's Language - interesting resource)

End (outcome) (5056telos can refer to (1) an action achievement, carrying out, fulfillment (Lk 22.37); (2) a closing act, the end, termination, cessation (2Co 3.13; 1Pe 4.7), opposite avche (beginning) or (3) as a goal toward which movement is being directed outcome, end (result), purpose (1Ti 1.5). 

Matthew 10:23 “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

  • whenever: Mt 2:13 4:12 12:14,15 Lu 4:29-31  Joh 7:1 10:39-42 11:53,54 Ac 8:1 9:24,25 13:50,51 14:6,7,19,20 17:10,14 20:1 
  • Until: Mt 16:28 24:27,30,48 25:13 26:64 Mk 13:26 Lu 18:8 21:27 


But whenever they persecute you in one city - Not if but when! Persecution is promised to followers of Jesus. Persecute is present tense speaking of habitual action. 

THOUGHT - So certain is persecution, that if one says that they have never been persecuted by the Name of Jesus, then either they are not genuine believers in Jesus or they absolutely never tell anyone about their belief. While the latter is possible, it seems unlikely, but a genuine believer who has the Holy Spirit will to some degree live a holy (not perfection but direction) life that usually contrast significantly with the lifestyle of a lost person. And so they will give evidence of the fact that they are genuine believers and will likely experience persecution. Have you ever been persecuted for being a follower of Jesus? 

Persecute  (1377)(dioko from dío = pursue, prosecute, persecute) means literally to pursue as one does a fleeing enemy. It means to chase, harass, vex and pressure and was used for chasing down criminals. In this context it means to go after with the desire to harm. It gives us the picture of hounds on the hunt, pursuing after the fox and implies a continuing chase.

Flee (pheugo) to the next - Flee is a command in present imperative calling for one to continually flee (see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey).

For (term of explanation) truly (amen) I say to you, you will not finish (teleo) going through the cities of Israel - This is a passage that has divided commentators. Phil Newton writes that "Interpreters debate whether Christ meant (1) the immediate setting of carrying the gospel into Galilee prior to the Ascension, or (2) Christ delivering judgment upon reprobate Israel at the time of Jerusalem's fall in A.D. 70, or (3) Christ sending the Holy Spirit to comfort them, or (4) the return of Christ to judge the world. Strong cases can be built for both the second and fourth of these, Christ judging Israel toward the end of the Apostolic era as they had gone through the cities of Israel and Christ coming in global judgment. Perhaps the duplicity is intended, maybe even employing all of these to some degree in prophetic language (cf. Broadus, Selected Works, III, 228). Whichever it might be, the purpose is to encourage Christ's followers to stay at the work of spreading the gospel until Christ comes." 

Until (See until) is an expression of time and means something will continue to happen up to a point and then it will not happen. In this case when Jesus returns one thing this "until" means is that persecution of disciples will end. 

The Son of Man comes - This is the glorious Second Coming when Jesus returns as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16+), defeats all enemies of God and sets up His Messianic Kingdom

Believer's Study Bible - Some have incorrectly interpreted this verse to mean that Jesus was convinced that the mission of the Twelve would create a great repentance among Israel. Consequently, the kingdom of God in the form of its final, glorious manifestation would come, bringing the end of this age and ushering in the age to come. This would in fact happen before they had completed their mission. This verse, however, looks beyond the mission of the Twelve to a future mission to the world which will last until the coming in glory of the Son of Man, and will include Israel despite her blindness.

Matthew 10:24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.

  • 2Sa 11:11 Lu 6:40 Joh 13:16, 15:20 Heb 12:2-4 

Related Passages:

Luke 6:40+  “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

John 13:16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.

John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Hebrews 12:2-4+ fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;


A disciple (mathetes) is not above his teacher (didaskalos), nor a slave (doulos) above his master (kurios) - Christ is our Teacher and our Master, our Lord. Disciples do not "Make Jesus Lord" as we sometimes hear people say! He is Lord! We receive Him by grace through faith as Lord! The issue is not to make Him Lord, but to bow to Him as Lord of our lives, daily submitting our will to His good and acceptable and perfect will (Ro 12:2b+).

THOUGHT - The point is that the disciples were not to be surprised by persecutions. That same principle applies today. If you are a disciple and living in this crooked and perverse generation as a light, then you can be assured you will be maligned, castigated, persecuted, etc. If you have never been treated that way then it begs two questions - are you a true disciple or are you a true disciple who has put his/her light under a basket? 

Spurgeon - “Thank God, they may call us what they like, but they cannot make us evil…God was slandered in Paradise, and Christ on Calvary; how can we hope to escape?”

THOUGHT - As as aside BE WARY of anyone who teaches that the terms “believer” and “disciple” are NOT synonymous. There is a teaching in evangelical circles which says disciples are upper echelon believers. This is preposterous and gives people an "out" to be professors in Jesus, but failing to genuinely follow His teachings and His steps. This is a deadly (eternally) "slippery slope" teaching and "their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." (Dt 32:35+ - used by Jonathan Edwards in "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God" a truth which resulted in "believers' awakening to the truth that they were called to be disciples and brought about regeneration in many previously dead hearts - Great Awakening!) Believer and disciple are clearly synonymous. Luke called the first believers in the church in Acts disciples far more often than believers (see below)! This false teaching could well account for some of the "Many" who cry "Lord, Lord" in Mt 7:21-23+ because they thought they were "believers.

Disciple in Acts - Acts 6:1; Acts 6:2; Acts 6:7; Acts 9:1; Acts 9:10; Acts 9:19; Acts 9:25; Acts 9:26; Acts 9:36; Acts 9:38; Acts 11:26; Acts 11:29; Acts 13:52; Acts 14:20; Acts 14:21; Acts 14:22; Acts 14:28; Acts 15:10; Acts 16:1; Acts 18:23; Acts 18:27; Acts 19:1; Acts 19:9; Acts 19:30; Acts 20:1; Acts 20:30; Acts 21:4; Acts 21:16

Believer in Acts - Acts 5:14, Acts 10:45, Acts 16:1

Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!  

  • If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul,: Mt 9:34 12:24 Mk 3:22 Lu 11:15 Joh 7:20 8:48,52 10:20 

Related Passages:

Matthew 9:31-34+ But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land.  32As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33 After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”


It is enough for the disciple (mathetesthat he become like his teacher (didaskalos), and the slave (doulos) like his master (kurios) - By definition a disciple is a follower and should seek to be like his teacher, ultimately the greatest Teacher, our Lord Jesus Christ. We should diligently strive enabled by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Word to learn to Walk Like Jesus Walked!

If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul (beelzeboul), how much more will they malign the members of his household - Jesus' enemies accused Him of being possessed by Beelzebul. "The scribes (THE "SUPER" RELIGIOUS OF THE DAY!) who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” (Mark 3:22+). This admonition was necessary because the disciples had been given the power to cast out demons and would likely incur similar slanderous accusations. 

Discipleship involves sharing the Master's rejection.
-- William MacDonald

THOUGHT - Jesus is saying if one is a genuine disciple, they can expect to be accused like Jesus was falsely accused. Have you ever been falsely accused by "religious folks?" I have and it is incredibly painful. Unfortunately I was caught off guard because I did not yet know the principle Jesus is teaching in this verse. 

Teacher (1320didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught <> cp didaskalía) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. The teacher teaches in such a way as to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught. Didaskalos refers to Jesus (the Master Teacher) in 41 of 58 NT uses. Someone has said that "The great teacher is the one who turns our ears into eyes so that we can see the truth." Henry Brooks added that "A (Bible) teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."

And although Jesus was frequently called Teacher, C S Lewis makes the point that He was far more that just a Teacher ""I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God (Mk 1:1+); or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (C. S. LEWIS, Mere Christianity - free download)

Didaskalos in Matthew - Matt. 8:19; Matt. 9:11; Matt. 10:24; Matt. 10:25; Matt. 12:38; Matt. 17:24; Matt. 19:16; Matt. 22:16; Matt. 22:24; Matt. 22:36; Matt. 23:8; Matt. 26:18;

Slave (1401doulos from deo = to bind) (Click additional notes on doulos) was an individual bound to another in servitude and conveys the idea of the slave's close, binding ties with his master, belonging to him, obligated to and desiring to do his will and in a permanent relation of servitude. In sum, the will of the doulos is consumed in the will of the master. A bondservant is one who surrendered wholly to another’s will and thus devoted to another to the disregard of his own interest. Paul and Timothy were not their own but had been bought with the price of the blood of Christ. They (and you and I dear disciple of Christ) were now the property of our Lord Jesus Christ and were His slaves exclusively. No man can serve two masters (Mt 6:24+). Paul and Timothy had been slaves of Sin (see note on "the Sin") by their birth into Adam's likeness, but now they are slaves of Christ by their new, second birth. They had no will of their own, no business of their own, no time of their own and were acting for their Master, Christ; dependent upon Him and obedient to Him. Am I? Are you? 

Master (Lord, Owner)(2962kurios  from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership rights and uncontested power. Kurios is used of the one to whom a person or thing belonged (for believers see 1Co 6:19-20+), over which he has the power of deciding, the one who is the master or disposer of a thing (Mk 7:28+

Beelzebul (sometimes "Beelzebub")(954)(beelzeboul, variant reading Beelzebub after an error in the Latin Vulgate. Transliterated from Hebrew Ba'al Zebub) originally referred to a Philistine deity (a guardian deity of the Ekronites) which in Hebrew meant "Baal (lord) of flies" (2 Ki 1:2, 6), the "fly-baal," or "fly-god," whose office was to protect his worshippers from the torment of the gnats and flies with which that region was infested. In Jesus' day this so-called false god is derisively called Beel-zebul (NIV Beelzebub), "lord of dung." In Jesus' reply to the accusation of the Jews in Mt 12:24 that He cast out demons by Beelzebul, He answers in Mt 12:26 substituting the name Satan which clearly identifies the Jewish references to Beelzebul as another name for Satan."The Jews seem to have applied this appellation to Satan, as being the author of all the pollutions and abominations of idol-worship." (Am Tract Society)

Used 7x all in the Gospels - Matt. 10:25; Matt. 12:24; Matt. 12:27; Mk. 3:22; Lk. 11:15; LGA. 11:18; Lk. 11:19

Related Resources:

Matthew 10:26“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 

  • Fear: Mt 10:28 Pr 28:1 29:25 Isa 41:10,14 43:1,2 51:7,8,12,13 Jer 1:8,17,18 Eze 2:6 Ac 4:13,19 1Pe 3:14 
  • for: Mk 4:22 Lu 8:17 12:2,3 24:47 Ac 1:8 1Co 4:5 

Parallel Passages

Mk 4:22+ “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.

Luke 8:17+ “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

Therefore do not fear (phobeo) them - Do not fear is present imperative with a negative which means either stop fearing or do not begin fearing them. To not fear is one of the frequent (if not the most frequent) exhortation in the Scripture. Either way such courage is not natural but is supernaturally enabled by the Holy Spirit that they might obey Jesus' command

For (gar) is a term of explanation, in this context explaining why the disciples are not to fear their persecutors. 

There is nothing concealed (kalupto) that will not be revealed (apokalupto), or hidden (kruptos) that will not be known (ginosko) - So while much of Jesus' teaching was "concealed" and/or "hidden" from the Jews because they failed to belief and respond to His easier to understand teaching, such as "“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). To refuse to repent and believe in the gospel would result in Jesus' teaching taking on a punitive aspect, punitive because they refused to accept the plain truth. The result was that the plain truth would become non-revealed truth and hidden truth to their stubborn and rebellious hearts and minds. This same principle is operative today, so the warning for you if you are not a believer, is take care how you listen (cf Mk 4:23+, Lk 8:18+), for if you continue to reject Jesus' clear teaching of truth, you will progressively become less and less able to understand any of His truth! The ultimate end is you will be damned to Hell, but not because that was God's desire or wish for you! No, it would be because you made a conscious, willful choice to reject the light offered to you again and again, until one day the "light bulb" burns out so to speak. Dear unbelieving reader, listen up,  "Behold (idou - command to pay attention!) now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold (idou), now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION!" (2 Cor 6:2) Benjamin Franklin was correct in secular matters when he advised "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today!" How much more true in spiritual matters! Don't put off until tomorrow to receive God's gracious gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, but accept His kind, mercy filled offer today! 

Matthew 10:27 “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

  • I tell: Mt 13:1-17,34,35 Lu 8:10 Joh 16:1,13,25,29 2Co 3:12 
  • Proclaim: Pr 1:20-23 8:1-5 Ac 5:20,28 17:17 


What I tell you in the darkness - To what is Jesus referring? This is a reference to the transition in His teaching from open proclamation to the masses to parabolic proclamation to the masses. In Matthew 13:34-35+ Jesus said " All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.) This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”

Speak in the light-  To speak in the light meant the disciples were to speak to people not in parables that they could not understand but with truth that could be understood, just as one can see things better in the light than in the darkness. 

B B Warfield has a very insightful comment on why Jesus spoke in darkness (in parables) but at the same time was instructing His disciples to speak in the light  - The strength of our Lord’s emphasis on this important declaration just on this occasion finds its explanation of course in the need that had arisen to guard from misapprehension His own methods of teaching. For a change had just been introduced into His modes of instruction, from which His disciples might be tempted to infer that Christianity was a double system, with an esoteric and an exoteric aspect. Our Lord, who had hitherto spoken plainly, had suddenly begun to speak in parables; and He had not concealed from His disciples that His object was to veil His meaning. Was there not introduced thus the full-blown system of esoterism? It is to correct this not unnatural inference that our Lord declares so emphatically that the truth He is teaching—even in parabolic form—is a lamp, and has for its one end to shine; that what is now hid and made secret under this parabolic veil, is hid and made secret not that it may not be made known, but just that it may be made known. The impulse to use parables thus arises from wisdom and prudence in teaching, not from a desire to conceal. He teaches in parables in order that He may teach; not in order that He may not teach (ED: RECALL THE TIME HE TAUGHT OPENLY IN NAZARETH AND IT AROUSED SUCH OPPOSITION THAT THEY TRIED TO KILL HIM - Lk 4:24-29+). This method of veiled teaching, in a word, is forced on Him by the conditions under which He is teaching and arises from the state of mind of His hearers (ED: MOST OF WHOM REJECTED HIS TRUTH); it is not chosen by Him in order to conceal His meaning, but in order to convey it to those for whom it is intended (ED: GOOD SOILS - THOSE WHO HAVE EARS TO HEAR). It is with Him either to teach thus or not to teach at all; and He consequently teaches thus. This is the fundamental doctrine of parabolic teaching. I do not say it is the whole account to be given of it....the adoption of parabolic teaching has a punitive side—as, indeed, it could not fail to have—with reference to those who could and would not endure sound doctrine; whom it puzzled, therefore, rather than instructed. But this is the fundamental account of it (parabolic teaching).

and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

  • Do not fear: Mt 10:26 Isa 8:12,13 51:7,12 Da 3:10-18 Lu 12:4,5 Ac 20:23,24 Ac 21:13 Ro 8:35-39 2Ti 4:6-8 Heb 11:35 1Pe 3:14 Rev 2:10 
  • Him: Ps 119:120 Ec 5:7 8:12,13 Isa 66:2 Jer 5:22 Heb 12:28,29 
  • Who is able: Mt 25:46 Mk 9:43-48 Lu 16:22-26 Joh 5:29 2Th 1:8-10 Rev 20:10-15 

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul -  Do not fear is present imperative with a negative which means either stop fearing or do not begin fearing them. Either way such courage is not natural but is supernaturally enabled by the Holy Spirit that they might obey Jesus' command! Though Satan may have great power (Mt 6:13; Mt 24:22 1 Jn :19), only God can destroy soul and body in hell.

Peter writes

"But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED. but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (HOLY FEAR);" (1 Pe 3:14-15+)

Do not fear death, a defeated foe for as Paul wrote

“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O  DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Co 15:55-58+). 

But rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell - Fear Him or fear God is in the present imperative which also calls for dependence on the Holy Spirit to obey! Do you fear men or do you fear God? (cf Pr 29:25) How does one fear God in practical terms? Here's a simple test to determine whether you really fear God -- Ask yourself this question: "Do the words, thoughts and deeds of the last 24 hours of my life truly reflect a reverence (reverential fear) of the Lord, Who alone is "Holy, Holy, Holy"? (And by the way, none of us are perfect, which is why 1 Jn 1:9+ is such a gift to cleanse us each new day.) If you find your "fear factor" is diminishing, and to sin willfully no longer grieves you, then you need to beg that the Spirit would enable in you a strong desire to choose the fear of the Lord (Pr 1:29+, cf Lk 10:42+, Heb 11:25+, Pr 23:17). 

Destroy (622)(apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi = to destroy <> root of apollyon [Re 9:11] = destroyer) means to destroy utterly but not to cause one to cease to exist. Apollumi as it relates to men, is not the loss of being per se, but is more the loss of well-being. It means to ruin so that the person ruined can no longer serve the use for which he or she was designed. The gospel promises everlasting life for the one who believes. The failure to possess this life will result in utter ruin and eternal uselessness (but not a cessation of existence) In summary, apollumi then has the basic meaning of describing that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose. Woe! 

Matthew 10:29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

  • two: Lu 12:6,7 
  • Cent Mt 18:28."
  • and one: Ps 104:27-30 

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? Henry Morris - Jesus also said that "five sparrows [are] sold for two farthings" (Luke 12:6). Evidently the sparrow merchants of that day had already introduced the sales method of quantity discounts!

And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.   "God cares deeply about every creature in His creation. Man has been given dominion over all of them but as a steward, not a spoiler (Genesis 1:26-28; Job 38,39)." (Morris)

Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 

  • 1Sa 14:45 2Sa 14:11 1Ki 1:52 Lu 12:7 Lk 21:18 Ac 27:34 

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Jesus reasons with a little "divine arithmetic!" The verb numbered (arithmeo) is (perfect tense) implying they are permanently numbered (even if they do not stay permanently present on our head!) and the passive voice implies God numbered them (divine passive) Notice how Jesus places emphasis on the smallest, seemingly insignificant things (hairs), to highlight the point that if God is concerned about these things, how much more will He take care of those who are created in His own image and who have been born into His family and are forever His children. If He knows about and is concerned about the number of hairs, how much more is His care for our entire person, body, soul and spirit? (That's rhetorical). As John writes "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." (1 John 3:1+)

THOUGHT - Dearly beloved (and ponder that phrase for that is what you are in God's eyes!!!), the next time you doubt your Father's love and concern for you, take a moment and meditate on the truth in these passages. Remember your hairs. If He is concerned about you VERY HAIRS, would He not be concerned about your very being? Of course not! 

MacArthur- God even knows the very hairs of your head and they are all numbered: One, two, three, four, and with some of you He runs out pretty quickly, right?  The average is 150 thousand hairs.  That's average.  And I'm a little shy of that and so are some of you, but six billion people on the world, you can do a little math and find out how many numbers God has to keep everybody's hair.  And what about when one falls out, does He catch that?  If it is, He knows it. He doesn't acquire information. What's the point of saying that?  The point of saying that is: Look, you better fear God because He knows everything, everything, absolutely everything.  Back in the Old Testament, 1 Samuel 14:45, 2 Samuel 14:11, 1 Kings 1:52 is a familiar Old Testament phrase, "Not one hair of your head shall fall."  By the way, that same phrase is in Luke 21:18, same thing about the hairs of your head.  "Yet not a hair of your head will perish."  That was God's way of saying when judgment comes, I'll protect you. I'll protect you.  You'll also find it in Acts 27:34.  God knows every hair on every person on the planet.  He knows the minutest, most inconsequential details because if it is, He knows it.  So don't think somehow you don't need to fear God because in the end something will slip by. Ah, it won't slip by.  The truth will be uncovered, hell awaits the hypocrite, and God knows everything. (A Certain Cure for Hypocrisy, Part 1)

Matthew 10:31 “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.  

  • Mt 6:26 12:11,12 Ps 8:5 Lu 12:24 1Co 9:9,10 

So do not fear - Third time - Mt 10:26, 28, 31! Remember that this calls for a lifestyle attitude - Do not fear is present imperative with a negative which means either stop fearing or do not begin fearing them. Either way such courage is not natural but is supernaturally enabled by the Holy Spirit that they might obey Jesus' command

you are more valuable (diapherothan many sparrows - Jesus says in Lk 12:5, "Fear Him," and in this verse "Do not fear."  The point is that you have feared God, then don't fear men because you are of more value than many sparrows. The implication is "Be fearless, trusting."

Hindson - the child of God is secure in Christ, both now and forever. Nothing can ever harm a believer in thus life, apart from the permission of God according to His perfect will. (See KJV Bible Commentary)

Life Application Study Bible (page 68) -  Our true value is God’s estimate of our worth, not our peers’ estimate. Other people evaluate and categorize us according to how we perform, what we achieve, and how we look. But God cares for us, as he does for all of his creatures, because we belong to him. Thus, we can face life without fear; we are very valuable to God.

J Vernon McGee - Our Lord's public rebuke of the religious leaders would, of course, bring their wrath down upon His head. And His disciples could expect the same kind of treatment from them. The Lord Jesus gives them these words of comfort and assurance of God's care for them. Since He sees the fall of a sparrow, He is fully aware of the needs of those who are teaching and preaching His Word.

Matthew 10:32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.

  • confesses: Ps 119:46 Lu 12:8,9 Joh 9:22 Ro 10:9,10 1Ti 6:12,13 2Ti 1:8 1Jn 4:15 Rev 2:13 
  • him: Mt 25:34 1Sa 2:30 Rev 3:5 

Therefore (term of conclusion) everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven - He has been describing the cost of confessing Him before men. The only ones who would make such a confession knowing that it would bring persecution and even death, is the man or the women who is  genuine disciple. A professor without personal relationship would never confess Jesus in this setting, for fear of the consequences.

Ryrie says " To openly confess Christ in the face of extreme persecution would prove the reality of one's faith and result in His owning us before the Father." (RSB)

Matthew 10:33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.  

  • Denies Me: Mt 26:70-75 Mk 14:30,72 Lu 9:26 12:9 2Ti 2:12 2Pe 2:1 1Jn 2:23 


But - This is an important term of contrast. The previous passage described genuine believers confessing and now we see those who deny Jesus before men, clearly indicative of the fact that they are not born again and that they do not have the enabling power of the Spirit to stand up for Jesus in the face of fearful consequences. Beloved, these two verses (v32-33) have nothing to do with receiving or not receiving rewards, but of whether one's heart is truly circumcised (see circumcision of the heart).

Whoever denies (arneomai in aorist middle = he himself denies) Me before (emprosthenmen I will be (future = prophetic warning) deny (arneomaibefore (emprosthen) My Father Who is in heaven -  To be sure every time we sin (willfully or ignorantly) we are in a sense denying Jesus is Lord of our life. But here Jesus is speaking of a hardhearted, stubborn, continual denial of Jesus. To deny Jesus simply leaves no other avenue for salvation and by default will result in eternal death! Notice that this in a sense is a conditional promise, but it is also a strong and clear warning. Keep in mind that the verb deny also carries the sense of disown. We need to ponder the thought of disowning Jesus, lest He disown us. Don't misunderstand for Jesus is not speaking about denial or disowning indicating that such a person loses their salvation. While a genuine believer (like Peter) may deny Him occasionally, they will not continually deny Him. Denial of Jesus is not the pattern of their life. Only an unbeliever continually denies or disowns Jesus and these false professors and hypocrites will be "flushed out" in the future at the judgment by God Who sees their hearts!  

Bible Knowledge Commentary "Instead they were faithfully to confess (acknowledge, homologsei) Jesus before men (v. 32). This would result in the Lords acknowledging His servants before His Father; BUT failure to confess Him would result in His denial of them. Of the original 12 Apostles, only one, Judas Iscariot, fell into the latter category. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary

I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven - This frightening statement could not be much clearer! Jesus is NOT saying "I will tell My Father not to give this person rewards," as some falsely teach! 

MacDonald "Denial of Christ on earth will be repaid with denial before God in heaven. To deny Christ in this sense means to refuse to recognize His claims over one’s life. Those whose lives say, in effect, “I never knew You” will hear Him say at last, “I never knew you.” (cf Mt 7:23+) The Lord is not referring to a temporary denial of Him under pressure, as in Peter’s case, but to that kind of denial that is habitual and final." (BBC)

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (cf Mt 7:21-23+)

A T Robertson writes "Note accusative here (case of extension), saying “no” to Christ, complete breach. This is a solemn law, not a mere social breach, this cleavage by Christ of the man who repudiates him, public and final." (Word Pictures in the NT) 

Paul writes that

"If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us." (2Ti 2:12)

Comment - Sadly, some well known teachers falsely teach that what Paul is saying is that this person is a believer who departs from following Jesus for the rest of their life after making a profession of faith. Think about this a moment. Would such a person who loves unholiness down here REALLY all of a sudden "love holiness" in Heaven? It is neither logical nor theologically sound! Beware of this genre of teaching, which is a form of EASY BELIEVISM! Others teach that Jesus is not speaking of salvation but of rewards, so to deny Him on earth is to lose rewards in Heaven. I think this is a dangerous teaching that can take a man straight to hell if he professes Jesus but lives like the devil all of his days. 

NET Note - "renounce," "disown," "repudiate." It is important to note that the object of Christ's denial is "us." The text does not contain an implied object complement ("he will deny us [x]"), which would mean that Christ was withholding something from us (for example, "The owner denied his pets water"), since the verb avrne,omai (arneomai) is not one of the category of verbs that normally occurs in these constructions (see ExSyn 182–89). 

THOUGHT - Beloved I want to caution you about a popular modern commentary by Thomas Constable. Many of his notes are absolutely excellent. But he has some strange teaching on clear verses like Mt 10:33-34. Thus he comments "Disciples of Jesus must acknowledge Him publicly. One cannot fulfill the basic requirements of a disciple privately (cf. Mt 5:13-16). Remember that the terms "believer" and "disciple" are not synonymous (ED: THIS IS CATEGORICALLY INCORRECT. THEY ARE SYNONYMOUS). In the context confessing Jesus means acknowledging Him faithfully in spite of persecution to do otherwise. Jesus will acknowledge faithful disciples (ED: HE DOES NOT MENTION FAITHFUL BELIEVERS) as such to His Father. He will not give this reward to unfaithful disciples who cave in to pressure to deny Him (ED: THERE IS NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THE PASSAGE ABOUT REWARDS! THIS IS AN ABERRANT TEACHING AT BEST AND A DANGEROUS TEACHING AT WORST AS IT MIGHT ALLOW A PERSON WHO BLATANTLY DENIES JESUS BEFORE MEN TO THINK HE OR SHE IS A TRUE BELIEVER! YOU CAN SEE WHY THIS IS SO DANGEROUS! ETERNITY IS IN THE BALANCE, NOT REWARDS VERSUS NO REWARDS!)....The view that this passage teaches that a believer may lose his or her salvation if he or she fails to confess or denies Jesus cannot be correct (ED: AND IT DOES NOT EVEN SUGGEST THAT INTERPRETATION. JESUS IS SAYING THE ONE WHO DENIES NEVER BELIEVED IN THE FIRST PLACE! ONE CANNOT LOSE SALVATION!). Elsewhere Jesus taught that believers never will lose their salvation (cf. John 10:28-29). This is the consistent revelation of the rest of the New Testament (e.g., Rom. 8:31-39). Jesus was speaking here of rewards, not salvation. (ED: NO HE WAS SPEAKING OF SALVATION, AND NOT REWARDS. HOW CAN ONE INVOKE REWARDS WHEN THERE IS SIMPLY NO MENTION IN THE TEXTS OF REWARDS? ONE CANNOT UNLESS THEY ADD TO THE TEXT SOMETHING NOT THERE.)

The specific verb deny (arneomai) is never used anywhere else in the NT in the context of rewards, so to invoke that meaning here seems a bit of a stretch. The "Gospel truth" is that it is not rewards deniers of Christ will lose at the Judgment Seat of Christ but it eternal life they will lose at the Great White Throne judgment, where sadly they will receive their just "reward" of eternal punishment! See Jesus' strong warning in Matthew 7:21-23+ for the "many" (not few) who claim with their lips to know Him, but with their life (habitual practice of lawlessness) deny Him. 

Here are just a few interpretations from other sources that disagree with Constable's interpretation. Always seek to be a Berean (Acts 17:11)! See also related comments on the parallel verse in Luke 12:9.

John Martin's comment on the parallel passage in Luke 12 - To acknowledge denotes the fact that the disciples recognized Him as the Messiah and therefore they had access to the way of salvation. Those who did not acknowledge Him were denying themselves the way of salvation. (See context - Bible Knowledge Commentary - NOTE: DR MARTIN IS AT SAME SEMINARY AS CONSTABLE BUT HOLDS A DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSITE VIEWPOINT WHICH IS MORE IN KEEPING WITH MOST CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL COMMENTATORS AS SHOWN BELOW)

POSB Denying Christ is the most dangerous thing we can do. Why? 1)  Because there is a day coming when we will need Christ to confess us before God. 2)  Because Christ has already foretold what He will do if we deny Him: He will deny us. He will tell the truth—He never knew us (Matthew 7:23; Matthew 25:41). (The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Matthew)

J C Ryle on the parallel passage in Luke - Our Lord declares, that if we do not confess Him before men, He will "not confess us before the angels of God" at the last day. He will refuse to acknowledge us as His people. He will disown us as cowards, faithless and deserters. He will not plead for us. He will not be our Advocate. He will not deliver us from the wrath to come. He will leave us to reap the consequences of our cowardice, and to stand before the judgment bar of God—helpless, defenseless, and unforgiven. What a dreadful prospect is this! How much turns on this one hinge of "confessing Christ before men!" Surely we ought not to hesitate for a moment. To doubt between two such alternatives, is the height of folly. For us to deny Christ or be ashamed of His Gospel, may get us a little of man's good opinion for a few years—though it will bring us no real peace. But for Christ to deny us at the last day will be ruin in Hell to all eternity! Let us cast away our cowardly fears. Come what will—let us confess Christ! (Luke Commentary)

Matthew Henry - To deter us from denying Christ, and a cowardly deserting of his truths and ways, we are here assured that those who deny Christ, and treacherously depart from him, whatever they may save by it, though it were life itself, and whatever they may gain by it, though it were a kingdom, will be vast losers at last, for they shall be denied before the angels of God; Christ will not know them, will not own them, will not show them any favour, which will turn to their everlasting terror and contempt.

ESV Study Bible - the true disciple does not fear death (Mt 10:28) and will publicly acknowledge and confess Jesus. whoever denies me. The eternal consequences for those who deny Christ, in fact, will be far worse than the persecution that they sought to avoid. (Borrow ESV Study Bible)

Liefeld - The reference is apparently to a future scene when the Lord Jesus, having achieved victory and honor, acknowledges those who supported him and disowns (v. 9) those who repudiated him during the present age. He does this publicly before God the Father (Matt 10:32-33) and the assembled angels. (Borrow The Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Gilbrant - To deny Christ means to repudiate and disown Him in a deliberate and final way. In this context, this kind of denial is most likely when a person allows the fear of man to dominate him. The fear of God is often the only thing that will keep believers from falling prey to the fear of man. The fear that they might deny Jesus can be an incentive to confess Him before others. (The Complete Biblical Library – Matthew)

Bob Utley on Mt 10:33 - This is a shocking verse, as is 2 Tim. 2:12. It must be remembered that public acknowledgment in word and deed is crucial. The decisions made now are reflected in eternity.

William HendriksenTo deny Him means to repudiate Him, to refuse to acknowledge Him as one’s own, to disown Him. In the second clause of each member of this fine illustration or antithetic parallelism, i.e., in verses 32b, 33b, Jesus promises to confess before his Father in heaven those who have confessed him, and to deny before him those who have denied him. When Jesus confesses a person he claims him as his own and pleads his cause. That this intercessory activity which he as Mediator performs began already during his earthly ministry is clear from such passages as Luke 22:31, 32; John 17:6–11, 15–26. That he is continuing it now is taught in 1 John 2:1. That he will acknowledge his own on the judgment day is clear from 25:34–36, 40. That, in a sense not exactly the same as in 1 John 2:1, he never ceases this work in their behalf, in fact that he not only continues to intercede but “ever lives to make intercession for them,” is the comforting truth expressed in Heb. 7:25. On the contrary, that before the Father in heaven He will deny, disown, repudiate those who will have persisted in their denial of him, having never repented of their evil conduct, is taught in Mt. 7:21–23; 25:41–43, 45. For those who during the day of grace repent of their sin there is forgiveness and restoration (Luke 22:62; John 21:15–17)  (Gospel of Matthew)

William MacDonald - Denial of Christ on earth will be repaid with denial before God in heaven. To deny Christ in this sense means to refuse to recognize His claims over one's life. Those whose lives say, in effect, "I never knew You" will hear Him say at last, "I never knew you." The Lord is not referring to a temporary denial of Him under pressure, as in Peter's case, but to that kind of denial that is habitual and final. (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

A T Robertson - This is a solemn law, not a mere social breach, this cleavage by Christ of the man who repudiates him, public and final.

Wycliffe Bible Commentary - The Greek tense (aorist, constative) refers not to one moment of denial (e.g., Peter's), but to the life in its entirety, which Christ is capable of assessing precisely.

Moody Bible CommentaryThe meaning of Jesus denying a person probably refers to being deprived of salvation (cf. 10:22). Will Jesus deny Peter before the Father (see 26:70, 72)? This is unlikely. The tense of the verb denies indicates that if a person's life could be defined or summarized as a whole by the words, "He denied Me," then that person can expect to be denied by Jesus. But that label does not fit Peter's life. He surely denied Christ, but he repeatedly "confessed Christ" (Jn 21:15-17) thereafter. Jesus is not warning about an occasional lapse in one's witness that is otherwise found in a life punctuated by outspoken identification with Him.

John MacArthur -  The negative side of Jesus' warning is sobering: But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. This warning applies to a person who makes an outward profession of Christianity but turns away when hard testing comes. It is possible to deny Christ before men by silence, by failing to witness for Him and trying to be an unnoticed Christian—whose friends and neighbors, and perhaps even family, would never suspect of being a believer. It is also possible to deny Christ by actions, living like the rest of the world lives, with no higher standards or values. It is possible to deny Christ by words, using the world's profanity, vulgarity, and blasphemy. It is possible to deny Christ in many ways that are short of verbally and publicly renouncing Him. The future tenses in verses 32-33 tell us that Jesus is speaking of future judgment. In that day, those who confess Him, He will also confess, and those who deny Him, He will also deny. The difference between true and false discipleship is a much-repeated theme in Matthew. Near the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (5:20). Later during the sermon He distinguished between false disciples, who go in the wide gate and travel the broad way, and true disciples, who enter by the narrow gate and walk in the narrow way (7:13-14). He spoke of those who bear good fruit and those who bear bad fruit (7:16-20) and then said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'" (vv. 21-23). Immediately after that He distinguished between the person who builds his religious house on the sand of man's wisdom and is destroyed and the person who builds on the rock of His Word and is saved (vv. 24-27). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

MacArthur asks "What does it mean to confess and be confessed, to deny and be denied? This is the basic message that needs to be preached in every place where Jesus Christ is named, this is a message that calls for so called Christians to self‑examination. It is a message that says look at yourself...are you confessing or...are you denying? For your eternal destiny depends on that." (The Hallmarks of Discipleship)

Leon Morris - The obverse of this is that there are those who will disown Jesus before men here on earth; they will reject Jesus and side with his worldly opponents. The remainder of the saying follows the pattern of the previous one, bringing out the truth that those who disown Jesus here on earth are stuck with the consequences of their choice. They will necessarily find themselves disowned before the heavenly Father. Jesus is pointing out that there are permanent consequences of rejecting him. Those who do this suffer not some slight and temporary inconvenience, but the eternal consequences of rejection by God himself.  [Morris quotes Robinson - Robinson denies that this passage has in view arbitrary rewards and punishments: “It is in the nature of things that a man cannot be on both sides at once. If he belongs to Jesus, is one of his friends, holds a place in his company, then it follows that he will admit and even claim his position. If he fails, then by that very act he excludes himself from the divine community whose essential bond is a common love and loyalty to Christ.”] (Borrow The Gospel According to Matthew)

Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

  • that I: Jer 15:10 Lu 12:49-53  Joh 7:40-52 Ac 13:45-50 14:2,4 

Do not think that I came  to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword - He defuses the belief that His coming was as a conquering Messiah who would defeat Rome and establish peace in Israel. Jesus is not speaking of a literal sword, but is using this metaphor to emphasize that His coming and His cross will radically divide mankind. Clearly the Gospel that Jesus would make effective by His death on the Cross brings peace with God, but that is not what the Jews were looking for in a Messiah. 

When we walk with the Lord, we'll be out of step with the world.

Peace (1515)(eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension.

Eirene in Luke and Acts -  Lk. 1:79Lk. 2:14Lk. 2:29Lk. 7:50Lk. 8:48Lk. 10:5Lk. 10:6Lk. 11:21Lk. 12:51Lk. 14:32Lk. 19:38Lk. 19:42Lk. 24:36 Acts 7:26Acts 9:31Acts 10:36Acts 12:20Acts 15:33Acts 16:36Acts 24:2


  • Mt 10:21 24:10 Mic 7:5 Mk 13:12 Lu 21:16 

For - Jesus explains the "sword" in Mt 10:34. 

I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW - Jesus' coming was "a sword" in that belief in Him (or denial of Him) would bring division in even close family ties which He mentions. Most people will reject Him and hate Him and they will in turn hate those who love Him and follow Him, thus the figure of a "sword" which is an instrument that divides. The verb set...against is dichazo which means to cause a separation, divide in two, disunite and is only used here in Mt 10:35. The verb's action fits well with the figure of a sword in Mt 10:34. 

MacArthur adds that set against "denoted complete and often permanent separation. Sometimes the rift between believers and unbelieving relatives is lifelong and irreconcilable. Yet a true disciple must be willing to pay that price. The gospels report at least two would-be disciples who did not accept Jesus' call to follow Him because they were unwilling to sacrifice their family ties. One wanted to wait for his inheritance before following the Lord, and the other wanted to delay obedience until he had settled everything with his family. Of such half-hearted, divided commitment Jesus said, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" Luke 9:57-62. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew)

MacDonald - It is a curious mark of man's perverted nature that ungodly relatives would often rather have their son a drunkard and dissolute person than have him take a public stand as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ! This paragraph disproves the theory that Jesus came to unite all humanity (godly and ungodly) into a single "universal brotherhood of man." Rather, He divided them as they have never been divided before! (Believer's Bible Commentary - borrow)


  • Ge 3:15 4:8-10 37:17-28 1Sa 17:28 2Sa 16:11 Job 19:13-19 Ps 41:9 55:13 Jer 12:6 20:10 Mic 7:6 Joh 13:8 

and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD - Jesus continues to explain the "sword" here explaining that in the closest of human relationships acceptance of Him will bring enmity into a family's household. 

MacArthur rightly warns that "The offense of the gospel often causes those who reject and hate it to make outcasts of even family members who believe it. In Matthew 10:21 Jesus revealed how far family division over Him could go: “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.” But He made the following comforting promise to those who lose their earthly families because of the gospel: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29)." (See Luke Commentary)

Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

  • loves: Mt 22:37 De 33:9 Lu 14:26 Joh 5:23 21:15-17 2Co 5:14,15 Php 3:7-9 
  • not: Mt 22:8 Lu 20:35 21:36 2Th 1:5-7 Rev 3:4 

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me - Lk 14:26 says “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." Matthew's version helps understand Luke's "hate." When we compare Luke and Matthew, we can understand that Jesus is not using hate in an absolute sense, but in a relative sense. In other words, Jesus calls for such love and devotion of Himself, that by comparison all other relationships appear to be hatred. Jesus does no prohibit love of those close to us, but calls for our greatest love to be toward Himself. When we evaluate our devotion to every earthly tie, they must all be given a lesser place with Jesus alone receiving preeminence. Jesus is calling for complete commitment. Jesus is calling us to love Him above every person and every thing!

MacArthur on not worthy - The phrase is not worthy of Me identifies the person who will not come to Christ because of other intimate and meaningful relationships that might be affected.....Because the intervention in history by the Son of God was going to split and fracture human relationships, Jesus determined that His disciples be prepared for that experience. Martin Luther said, "If our gospel were received in peace, it would not be the true gospel." Luther's preaching and teaching produced the greatest rift in the history of religion, challenging the unbiblical teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and shattering its millennium of complacency and political power....John Bunyan was told to quit preaching or be thrown in prison. He knew that if he went to prison his wife and children would be left destitute. They had little enough to eat and wear when he was free; but if he were imprisoned they would be totally impoverished. Yet he knew he must preach the gospel God had called him to preach. Because he refused to stop preaching, he was imprisoned; and from his cell he wrote,

The parting with my wife and poor children hath often been to me in this place as the pulling of the flesh from my bones; and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but also because I would have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all I have besides. Oh, the thought of the hardship I thought my blind one might go under would break my heart to pieces.... But yet, recalling myself, thought I, I must venture all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you. Oh, I saw in this condition, I was a man who was pulling down his house upon the bead of his wife and children; yet thought I, I must do it. I must do it (Ibid)

Matthew 10:38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

  • Mt 16:24 27:32 Mk 8:34 10:21 Lu 9:23,24 14:27 Joh 19:17 

Related Passages:

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

Mark 8:34+ And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

Luke 9:23-24+ And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.


And he who does not take (present tense - lifestyle) his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. - Note Luke 9:23 calls for us to daily take up our cross! This reference to a cross needed no explanation, for the Jews had seen thousands of their countrymen crucified by the Romans. Allegiance even to death is demanded of Christ's followers. This is not a popular teaching in an affluent culture like America. The cross Jesus refers to is not difficult circumstances we all encounter, but is a willingness to sacrifice everything to Christ, even if that means one's life.

Leon Morris on taking up one's cross: "Jesus was speaking about a death to a whole way of life; he was talking about the utmost in self-sacrifice, a very death to selfishness and all forms of self-seeking" (Borrow The Gospel According to Matthew)

NET NOTE on Mt 10:38 -  It was customary practice in a Roman crucifixion for the prisoner to be made to carry his own cross. Jesus is speaking figuratively here in the context of rejection. If the priority is not one's allegiance to Jesus, then one will not follow him in the face of possible rejection. 

A T Robertson - Criminals were crucified in Jerusalem. It was the custom for the condemned person to carry his own cross as Jesus did till Simon of Cyrene was impressed for that purpose. The Jews had become familiar with crucifixion since the days of Antiochus Epiphanes and one of the Maccabean rulers (Alexander Jannaeus) had crucified 800 Pharisees. It is not certain whether Jesus was thinking of his own coming crucifixion when he used this figure, though possible, perhaps probable. The disciples would hardly think of that outcome unless some of them had remarkable insight.

R Kent Hughes on what is a cross because many people think when they experience difficulties, that is tantamount to the "cross" but that is not necessarily the case - Our crosses come from and are proportionate to our dedication to Christ. Difficulties are not an indication of cross-bearing; difficulties for Christ's sake are. We need to ask ourselves if we have any difficulties because we are following close after Christ. (See Mark: Jesus, Servant and Savior)

In his commentary on Luke Hughes expands on crosses asking "What are our crosses? They are not simply trials or hardships. Some think of a nutty boss or an unfair teacher or a bossy mother-in-law as a "cross." But they are not. Neither can we properly call an illness or a handicap a cross. A cross results from specifically walking in Christ's steps, embracing his life. It comes from bearing disdain because we are following the narrow way of Jesus Christ, "the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6)....Our crosses come from and are proportionate to our dedication to Christ. Difficulties do not indicate cross-bearing, though difficulties for Christ's sake do. Do we have any difficulties because we are closely following Christ? (See Luke (2 volumes in 1 / ESV Edition): That You May Know the Truth)

A W Tozer said  to be crucified with Christ means "Three things. Number one: a man who is crucified is facing only one way. Number two: a man who is crucified is not going back. He has said goodbye. He is not going back. And number three: he has no further plans of his own."

Avery Will in Master Life says "We learn from Jesus' example that a Christian's cross has two characteristics: It is a voluntary commitment, and it is an act of obedience. For believers, cross bearing is voluntary, redemptive, sacrificial service for others. Self-denial emphasizes turning from commitment to self to commitment to Him. Taking up your cross involves turning with Christ to a world in need. The first result is a new vision of self; the second result is a new vision of the world's need." (See MasterLife: Developing a Rich Personal Relationship)

Ray Pritchard writes that "the cross represents three things: It’s a sign of suffering, a sign of rejection by the world, and a sign of obedience to God. What is “your” cross? Your cross is accepting God’s will for your life and doing it cheerfully. Your cross will always include suffering, always lead to rejection by the world, and always involve obedience to God." (Who Owns Your Life?)

When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

MacArthur - The Romans crucified their victims in public, along highways, as a gruesome reminder of what happened to those who defied Caesar’s imperial authority. Estimates suggest that as many as thirty thousand Jews were crucified during Jesus’ lifetime. Thus, when the Lord used a cross to explain the cost of discipleship, His audience knew precisely what He meant. Jesus’ point was that those who desired to be His disciples, rather than seeking prosperity and ease, must be willing to endure persecution, rejection, hardship, and even martyrdom for His sake. To follow Christ was to embark on a path of adversity and maltreatment. (cf Jn 15:18-21, Mt 10:24-25)....Those who initially profess Christ, but are unwilling to suffer for His sake, expose the fact that they are not truly His disciples. As the Lord Himself explained in the parable of the soils, “These are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away” (Mark 4:16-17+). Conversely, those who endure trials and hardship for the honor of Christ prove the genuineness of their faith (1 Peter 1:6-7+). (MNTC-Mark)

John Stott: The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers—the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called “nominal Christianity.” In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved; enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism. (See Basic Christianity or borrow Basic Christianity)

Bruce Barton - Death on a cross was a form of execution used by Rome for dangerous criminals. A prisoner carried his own cross to the place of execution, signifying submission to Rome’s power. Following Jesus, therefore, meant identifying with Jesus and his followers, facing social and political oppression and ostracism, and no turning back. Christians follow their Lord by imitating his life and obeying his commands. To take up the cross meant to carry your own cross to the place where you would be killed. Many Galileans had been killed that way by the Romans. Applied to the disciples, to take up the cross meant to identify completely with Christ’s message, even if death were to result. We must deny our selfish desires to use our time and money our own way and to choose our own direction in life without regard to Christ. Following Christ is costly now, but we are promised true victory and eternal rewards. (Life Application Commentary)

Adrian Rogers - Somebody asked Tozer, "What does it mean to take up your cross?" and Tozer told a story of an old man, and here's what he said. "One time, a young man came to an old saint who taught the deeper life, the crucified life, and said, 'Father, what does it mean to be crucified?' The old man thought for a moment and said, 'Well, to be crucified means three things.'" Now, listen to this, folks. Here's what it means to take up a cross. "First, the man who is crucified is facing only one direction." That's good. When you're crucified, you're only facing one direction. "The old man scratched his scraggily head and said, 'One thing more, son, about the man on the cross. He is not going back. He has said his final goodbyes. Thirdly, he said, the man on the cross has no further plans of his own.'" Did you get that? He's facing one direction. He's not going back. He said goodbye. And he has no further plans of his own.

Related Resource:

 There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

When the will of God crosses the will of man, somebody has to die.

Vance Havner -- What our Lord said about cross-bearing and obedience is not in fine type. It is in bold print on the face of the contract.

Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ: What hindereth thee more than thine affections not fully mortified to the will of God?

F B Meyer: We are not simply to cut off this or the other indulgence, but to put the Cross of Christ between ourselves and the gratification of our own will. We must be willing to follow the Lamb, though the old Abraham cries out in grievous pain.

Billy Graham in “The Offense of the Cross” -When Jesus said, “If you are going to follow me, you have to take up a cross,” it was the same as saying, “Come and bring your electric chair with you. Take up the gas chamber and follow me.” He did not have a beautiful gold cross in mind—the cross on a church steeple or on the front of your Bible. Jesus had in mind a place of execution.

We need men of the cross, with the message of the cross, bearing the marks of the cross. - Vance Havner

Christ’s cross is such a burden as sails are to a ship or wings to a bird. - Samuel Rutherford

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. A.W. Tozer

The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell is terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning. - Oswald Chambers

ILLUSTRATION - When the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1519 he was intent on conquest. To assure the devotion of his men, Cortez set fire to his fleet of eleven ships! With no means of retreat Cortez’s army had only one direction to move, into the Mexican interior. Cortez understood the price of commitment—and he paid it.

Matthew 10:39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

  • Mt 16:25,26 Mk 8:35,36 Lu 17:33  Joh 12:25 Php 1:20,21 2Ti 4:6-8 Rev 2:10 


He who has found his life will lose it - This describes those who find all of their life in this short, temporary life. This is as good as their life will be for they will spend the next life in eternal punishment.

And he who has lost his life for My sake will find it - Jim Elliot's famous quote summarizes Jesus' teaching for "He is not fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

John MacArthur - The Lord is not isolating martyrdom, because no human sacrifice can merit salvation. But the willingness to forsake everything, including physical life if necessary, for the sake of Christ indicates the spirit of true discipleship, and therefore the spirit of a person who is destined for heaven and eternal life in God's presence. When John Bunyan was brought before the magistrate to be sentenced to prison, he said, "Sir, the law of Christ hath provided two ways of obeying: the one to do that which I in my conscience do believe I am bound to do actively; and where I cannot obey it actively, there I am willing to lie down and suffer what they shall do unto me." (Ibid)

MacArthur Study Bible - Christ lives in His people. They also come in His name as His ambassadors (2Co 5:20). Therefore, how they are treated is how He is treated (cf. 18:5; 25:45; Lk 9:48).

Henry Morris - This apparently paradoxical principle was emphasized by the Lord Jesus more often than any other.  The same truth is also stressed by Paul (Ro 12:1,2 2Co5:14,15 6:9,10 Gal 2:20 Php 1:20,21 2:5-11 2Ti 2:11,12 4:6-8).This divine paradox of dying to self and living unto God is the very essence of a truly happy and fulfilling life in this world and eternal life in the world to come. (Defender's Study Bible)

Matthew 10:40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

  • He who: Mt 18:5 25:40,45 Lu 9:48 10:16 Joh 13:20 20:21 2Co 5:20 Ga 4:14 1Th 4:8 
  • he who receives: Joh 5:23 12:44-49 Php 2:10,11 1Jn 2:22,23 2Jn 1:9 


He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me - This is a straightforward statement. If you are a believer and your testimony is received by another person, Jesus says they receive Him. He adds that such a person in turn receives the Father Who sent Him. You can't separate belief in the Father from belief in the Son.

Matthew 10:41 “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

BGT  Matthew 10:41 ὁ δεχόμενος προφήτην εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου μισθὸν προφήτου λήμψεται, καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται.

KJV  Matthew 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

NET  Matthew 10:41 Whoever receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. Whoever receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward.

CSB  Matthew 10:41 Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. And anyone who welcomes a righteous person because he's righteous will receive a righteous person's reward.

ESV  Matthew 10:41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward.

NIV  Matthew 10:41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.

NLT  Matthew 10:41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs.

NRS  Matthew 10:41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous;

YLT  Matthew 10:41 he who is receiving a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who is receiving a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward,

GWN  Matthew 10:41 The person who welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. The person who welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward.

NKJ  Matthew 10:41 "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

NAB  Matthew 10:41 Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man's reward.

MIT  Matthew 10:41 The one who takes in a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. Also one who takes in a righteous person because he is righteous will receive a righteous person's reward.

NJB  Matthew 10:41 'Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet's reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person.

ASV  Matthew 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward: and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

DBY  Matthew 10:41 He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward.

BBE  Matthew 10:41 He who gives honour to a prophet, in the name of a prophet, will be given a prophet's reward; and he who gives honour to an upright man, in the name of an upright man, will be given an upright man's reward.

  • receives a prophet: Ge 20:7 1Ki 17:9-15,20-24 18:3,4 2Ki 4:8-10,16,17,32-37 Ac 16:15 Ro 16:1-4,23 2Ti 1:16-18 Heb 6:10 3Jn 1:5-8 
  • a righteous man: Mt 6:1,4,6,18 16:27 25:34-40 Isa 3:10 Lu 14:13,14 1Co 9:17 2Th 1:6,7 2Jn 1:8 


Matthew 10:41-42 clearly are positive and are about rewards but their specific interpretation is not completely agreed upon by every writer, thus comments from several sources are included to compare.  

He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. - NLT = "If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet." Prophets will receive a reward and those who receive them will also share in the reward. Some see this as referring to showing hospitality to Jesus' disciples or willingly supporting their ministry. 

Gilbrant - The mission of the apostles recalls the prophets of old (5:12). They too were called righteous; they likewise represented the divine righteousness (5:10). Those who welcomed them as prophets and as righteous spokesmen for God would share in their ministry and would receive a reward. Like the prophets, disciples would receive great recompense (cf. 5:12, 19; 6:20). Thus Jesus also emphasized how highly God regards those who show His disciples hospitality. (Ibid)

POSB - The person who welcomes and ministers shall receive a reciprocal or an equal reward with God's servant. Perhaps a person cannot be a prophet or a shining example of a righteous man, but he can receive the reward of both. How? By simply welcoming and supporting and caring for God's servant. This is an astounding truth: the person actually shares in the work of God's messenger when he receives and helps him. Christ puts an enormous value on how his messenger is received and treated. If the messenger is welcomed, Christ will give an equal reward for the kindness and care shown to his messenger. (What a lesson for churches as to how they receive and trust their ministers!) (The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Matthew)

William Hendriksen - “He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet.…” The meaning, then, is this: He who welcomes a prophet—not necessarily one of The Twelve but anyone who has the right to proclaim God’s truth—and does this not merely out of considerations of politeness or cordiality but very definitely because he regards this messenger to be a prophet indeed, and therefore in welcoming him wishes to welcome his Sender, shall receive the same reward as if he, the welcomer, were himself a prophet. Lest there be any misunderstanding, as if the reward of grace and glory would be granted only to those who welcomed a specially commissioned messenger, Jesus adds, and he who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person shall receive a righteous person’s reward. Here again for “because he is” the original has “in the name of.” The explanation is similar. The reward is promised because in the man who knocks at his door the welcomer recognizes “a righteous person,” that is, one who practices the true religion. The man who devotes his life to the performance of the urgently necessary and eminently noble task of providing lodging for, cooperating with, and encouraging God’s traveling children is promised the same reward as are those whom he befriends.

Warren Wiersbe - Not everyone will reject our witness. There are those who will welcome us and receive a blessing. After all, we are the ambassadors of the King! Our King will see to it that they are rewarded for what they do. When people receive us, they welcome the King; for we are His representatives. Read 2 Samuel 10 for an example of what happens when people mistreat the envoys of the King.The blessing, however, is not automatic. It all depends on the attitude of the host. If he receives the ambassador as a prophet (a spokesman for God), then he gets one reward; if he receives him only as a righteous man, there is another reward. But even a cup of cold water, given with the right spirit, brings its own reward. (The Bible Exposition Commentary)

Guzik - We can share in the reward of God’s servants by supporting them in their work

ESV Study Bible - One who speaks for God. will receive a prophet’s reward. Will share in the reward God gives the prophet, for the helper also played a part in the prophet’s work.

What the Bible Teaches - Here is the principle of reception. The man who receives the Lord's servants also receives the Lord Jesus and the Father who sent Him. The servants are described as "a prophet, a righteous man, one of these little ones". Reception is governed by receiving the prophet and his divinely-given message; receiving a righteous man and his moral standards learnt from the Lord; providing a cup of cold water—the simple basic necessities of life (as expected in v. 9). Their future reward will be commensurate with their deeds. They will be rewarded as if they were prophets and righteous men

A. T. Pierson comments: The Jews regarded the reward of the prophet as the greatest; because, while kings bore rule in the name of the Lord, and priests ministered in the name of the Lord, the prophet came from the Lord to instruct both priest and king. Christ says that if you do no more than receive a prophet in the capacity of prophet, the same reward that is given to the prophet will be given to you, if you help the prophet along. Think of that if you are inclined to criticize a speaker! If you help him to speak for God, and encourage him you will get part of his reward; but if you make it difficult for him to discharge his office, you will lose your reward. It is a great thing to help a man who is seeking to do good. You should not regard his dress, his attitude, his manners or his voice; but you should look beyond these things and say, "Is this message of God for me? Is this man a prophet of God to my soul?" If he is, receive him, magnify his word and work, and get part of his reward.

MacArthur - In an incomprehensible sharing of blessing, God showers His rewards on every person who receives His people because they are His people. (Ibid)

Matthew 10:42“And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

BGT  Matthew 10:42 καὶ ὃς ἂν ποτίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ποτήριον ψυχροῦ μόνον εἰς ὄνομα μαθητοῦ, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀπολέσῃ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ.

KJV  Matthew 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

NET  Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward."

CSB  Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple-- I assure you: He will never lose his reward!"

ESV  Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward."

NIV  Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

NLT  Matthew 10:42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."

NRS  Matthew 10:42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."

YLT  Matthew 10:42 and whoever may give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say to you, he may not lose his reward.'

GWN  Matthew 10:42 I can guarantee this truth: Whoever gives any of my humble followers a cup of cold water because that person is my disciple will certainly never lose his reward."

NKJ  Matthew 10:42 "And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."

NAB  Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple-- amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."

MIT  Matthew 10:42 Whoever provides only a container of cold water to one of the lowliest disciples, I assure you will certainly not lose his reward.

NJB  Matthew 10:42 'If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.'

  • one: Mt 8:5,6 18:3-6,10,14 25:40 Zec 13:7 Mk 9:42 Lu 17:2 1Co 8:10-13 
  • a cup: Mk 9:41 12:42,43 14:7,8 2Co 8:12 
  • he shall: Pr 24:14 Lu 6:35 2Co 9:6-15 Php 4:15-19 Heb 6:10 


And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” - GWT paraphrases it " Whoever gives any of my humble followers a cup of cold water because that person is my disciple will certainly never lose his reward."

The Expositor's Bible Commentary - To give a cup of cold freshly drawn water, the least courtesy demands, to the least disciple just because he is a disciple does not go unrewarded.

POSB - Christ declares that the smallest ministry will not lose its reward. A person will be rewarded for the smallest ministry done for God's messenger. Just giving a cup of water to a messenger is extremely significant to God. It causes God to say emphatically that a person will be rewarded for such an act. The person needs to know that he is ministering to someone who is very, very dear to God. Christ calls His messengers "little ones," which is a term of endearment. (Ibid)

William Hendriksen - With a term of endearment Jesus speaks about “one of these little ones,” one who acknowledges his dependence on him and reposes his trust in him. To the world this disciple may be a nobody, insignificant in fame and fortune. Nevertheless, anything that is given to such a disciple is by Jesus regarded as if given to himself. The gift may be as inexpensive as a cup of cold water. It is not the gift as such but rather the motive that matters (25:35, 37, 40; cf. Heb. 6:10). If it be given to the little one “because he is a disciple” the reward will not be lacking. The quality of the gift and of the giving receives special emphasis. According to what is probably the best reading the act of love is described as giving “a cup of cold water only” (thus literally), meaning “even so much as a cup of cold water.” For “I solemnly declare” see on 5:18. Jesus then is saying, “I solemnly declare to you that for such a gift the reward will not be lacking.” In fact, “he shall certainly not lose his reward.” What reward? Think of peace of mind now (Matt. 10:13), public acknowledgment by Christ himself at his return (25:34 ff.), and ever afterward all the blessings that are bestowed solely by grace, according to works (16:27).

Utley - We can share in the reward of God’s servants by supporting them in their work. Even seemingly insignificant works of kindness (a cup of cold water) performed for God’s people are meaningful in God’s eyes.. What could seem more insignificant than giving a person a cup of cold water? In a short time, they will be thirsty again. Yet even such a small gesture will always be remembered and rewarded by God. They shall by no means lose their reward. “Again it is not philanthropy which is in view, but reception of a disciple because he is a disciple (again literally ‘in the name of’).” (France) The promise is that those who are His disciples really do represent Him, with both the cost and the reward.

John Trapp -  “Of Midas it is fabled, that whatever he touched turned into gold. Sure it is that whatsoever the hand of charity touch, be it but a cup of cold water, it turns the same, not into gold, but into heaven itself.” 

Carson - These little ones’ surely includes all the apostles, prophets, and righteous men; they are all ‘little ones’ because they are all targets of the world’s enmity.”

The key word is "COLD" =  entails going back to well & drawing new aliquot of water...instead of taking water from that which had been setting all day from the AM trip to the well...this water would have become tepid or ''cold'' speaks of extra effort above and beyond the call of duty) to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his