Matthew 10 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Swindoll

BY MATTHEW (shaded area)

Click chart to enlarge

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 (exousia) over unclean (akathartos) spirits, to cast them out (ekbállō), and to heal (therapeuo) 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+).

John 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. John Broadus roadus 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.

Related Resources:

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:

QUESTION: What is the authority of the believer?

ANSWER: The authority of the believer rests on the believer’s mandate to serve the Lord. When we are in God’s will, we can move with confidence that we are doing what is right and that the Holy Spirit’s power is at work within and through us. Some ministries emphasize the authority of the believer to an unhealthy and unbiblical extent. It’s better to remember the meekness to which we are called (Titus 3:1–2; James 3:13). Even Paul, who as an apostle had genuine authority over the church, did not always exert his authority: “Although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love” (Philemon 1:8–9).

Before we start enumerating the things that fall under the authority of the believer, we must acknowledge that, first and foremost, the believer is under authority. “God [is] the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). And our Lord Jesus reminds us, “You also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (Luke 17:10). The believer’s life is one of total dependence on God, as modeled by the Son of Man (see Luke 22:42 and John 5:30).

God has appointed lesser authorities in this world to rule under Him. Parents have authority over their children (Ephesians 6:1). Husbands have authority over their wives (Ephesians 5:22–24). Kings have authority over their subjects (Romans 13:1–7). The apostles had authority over the church (Acts 4:34–35; Philemon 1:3).

Some people use the Great Commission to teach the authority of the believer: “Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’” (Matthew 28:18–20). But the authority in the passage clearly belongs to Jesus. He claims “all authority” and then tells those who fall under His authority what to do. Based on the Great Commission, the only “authority” believers possess is the authority to go into all the world, the authority to make disciples, the authority to baptize in the name of the Triune God, and the authority to teach Jesus’ commands. In the exercise of this authority, the believer is simply obeying orders.

Besides the authority to share the gospel, the authority of the believer includes the right to be called a child of God (John 1:12) and the authority to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16). In all things, we remember that Christ is the Lord. “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17).

Some Christians get mixed up about the authority of the believer because they take verses out of context. Matthew 10:1, for example, says, “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Some people claim authority over demons and sickness based on this verse, overlooking the fact that Jesus was speaking to a particular group of people (“his twelve disciples”) for a particular time of ministry. Others assert they possess apostolic gifts, claiming for themselves the same authority as Peter or Paul. Some people claim authority for the believer based on Old Testament promises to Joshua (Joshua 1:3), Gideon (Judges 6:23), or Israel (Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:10)—again, taking verses out of context. Other believers claim authority based on Mark 16:17–18, even though that portion of Mark’s gospel is a late addition and not original.

Paul exhorted Titus to teach the Scripture boldly, with authority (Titus 2:15). As believers serve each other and the Lord, they should do so with confidence and the authority that comes with knowing they are doing God’s work: “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

The authority of the believer comes from God and from God’s Word. As we are God’s ambassadors, we can speak with His authority as we share His Word, appealing to the world on behalf of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). We wield the sword of the Spirit, a mighty weapon forged by God for our use (Ephesians 6:17). (BOLDING ADDED) (ED COMMENT: In view of that last line, it behooves us to diligently seek to memorize His Word of Truth and Life so that we might be prepared at all times to accurately wield the sword of the Spirit for His glory and honor.)

Vance Havner - The Twelve Sent Forth    Matthew 10:1-23

THE sending forth of the disciples upon their first preaching tour (Matt. 10; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6) has been the favorite pretext of misguided fanatics through the centuries. Time and again, some erratic soul has taken these commands literally and endeavored to practice them even to the point of the sandals and staff. They overlook the very first statement of our Lord in Matthew's account—that this mission was purely local and temporary, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Later on (Luke 22:35-36) when they must face a hostile Gentile world, they are given entirely different instructions and bidden to provide themselves with swords.

But it is also true that in Matthews account, further on in our Lord's discourse (vv. 16-23), He seems to go beyond the immediate application, giving a prophecy about the trials and persecutions which they would undergo following His ascension. There we have an application that stretches through all the Gospel age.

Next He says: "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." While there is a sense in which Christ "came" in the destruction of Jerusalem, or even earlier in the empowering of the Spirit of Pentecost, we are looking here at the ministry of the faithful remnant of Israel in the last days before our Lord's second advent. The disciples prefigured the faithful witnesses in the time of Israel's great trouble before our Lord comes in judgment.

The rest of Jesus' message to the twelve contains general principles applicable to any age. What He had declared to them privately must be proclaimed aloud, without fear of men who could destroy only the body. Note that our Lord declares that He came not to bring peace but a sword and that He is the great divider, separating even families in their allegiance to or rejection of Him. In these days when light and easy things are being said of our Lord and He is pictured as the Great Pacifist with a gospel of brotherhood, sweetness and light, we need to remember that really Jesus Christ has been and is the most dividing force in all history! He who is not with Him is against Him, and he who gathers not with Him scatters abroad—so with the sharp, two-edged sword of the Word, Jesus Christ splits the whole human race asunder to the right and to the left. He unifies those who are in Him, but He is the great Divider of humanity—and this age will see division to the end over the supreme issue. Where do we stand with regard to Christ? His gospel is the savor of life unto life or of death unto death, and by Him the thoughts of all men are revealed.

Although many of the literal commands of this commission of the twelve are not for us, it would be a great day if His witnesses now so comfortably settled in established positions could go forth with the abandon of these early missionaries. Alas, with too many of us, the adventure of the Cross has become a fixed professionalism. We need the old abandon of those who, having freely received, freely gave.

Vance Packer - The 70 and the Samaritan Luke 10:1–37

Our Lord sends out seventy disciples (Luke 10:1–24) with a charge similar to that given to the twelve in Matthew 10. Once in a while, some literal-minded questioner wants to know why preachers do not now go out without purse or scrip, according to these directions. This was local ministry to Israel under conditions vastly different from ours. Later, when His disciples must face a Gentile world, our Lord gave quite different instructions (Luke 22:35–36).

Later, the seventy returned with joy, reporting that even the devils were subject unto them. Our Lord answers, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” He was with them in their ministry and saw Satan defeated, and here He also sums up in a flash his final defeat—even as he fell from heaven (Isa. 14:12–19) long before, a sight which our Lord doubtless beheld. Revelation 12:7–12 also pictures this fall of Satan. Our Lord is assuring them that as He saw Satan fall at first, so He sees him finally defeated—which is typified by their success in casting out demons.

After giving them power over the enemy our Lord bids them not to rejoice in that, but that their names are written in heaven. The sole ground of our rejoicing is not in our powers or successes, but in the unmerited and undeserved grace of God.

Jesus thanks the Father that the profound truths of heaven have been kept from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes, the childlike (Matt. 18:3). He tells His disciples that they are privileged to see what prophets and kings had longed for. Marvelous truth—that the greatest revelation of all time was made to the humblest, the simple and lowly disciples who received Him gladly! It has always been so through the ages in His subsequent revelations through the Spirit. “More blessed are they that see not, yet believe” (John 20:29) and “not many wise or mighty or noble are called” (1 Cor. 1:26–31).

The familiar story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) was given instead of argument to the lawyer who asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He thought only Jews were his neighbors, and our Lord makes two Jews pass by in this story while the hero was a Samaritan. This must have been distasteful to the lawyer. Moreover, Jesus did not give the nationality of the wounded man, so that any nationality may be meant. Whoever needs our help is our neighbor, and whoever helps another is a true neighbor, so it works both ways.

It was a masterful presentation of a mighty truth, so skillfully done that the lawyer was obliged to confess the truth so evident. Our Lord then bids him, “Go thou and do likewise.” The truths of the Word are not merely for reading and inspiration. We are to “go and learn what this meaneth.”

“Teaching them to observe”—not merely to know but to do—is His command. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

Just As I Am

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority. Matthew 10:1

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:1, 5–10, 16–20

The young woman couldn’t sleep. Having suffered with a physical disability for many years, she’d be center stage at a church bazaar the next day to raise funds for higher education.  But I’m not worthy, Charlotte Elliott reasoned. Tossing and turning, she doubted her credentials, questioning every aspect of her spiritual life. Still restless the next day, she finally moved to a desk to pick up pen and paper to write down the words of the now classic hymn, “Just As I Am”:

“Just as I am, without one plea, / But that Thy blood was shed for me, / And that Thou bidst me come to Thee, / O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

Her words, written in 1835, express how Jesus called His disciples to come and serve Him. Not because they were ready. They weren’t. But because He authorized them—just as they were. A ragtag group, his team of twelve included a tax collector, a zealot, two overly ambitious brothers (see Mark 10:35–37), and Judas Iscariot “who betrayed him” (Matthew 10:4). Still, He gave them authority to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons” (v. 8)—all without taking any money, luggage, extra shirt or sandals, or even a walking stick with them (vv. 9–10).

“I am sending you,” He said (v. 16), and He was enough. For each of us who say yes to Him, He still is. By:  Patricia Raybon  (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

What’s your current situation or status in life? What doubts have you expressed about your readiness to be used by God?

Jesus, bid me to come to You, fully dependent on Your grace and power to make a difference.

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. 

John 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 (borrow) 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. 

John 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. 

John 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.)

Walter Kaiser - Mt 10:5–6  Not to the Gentiles? goto page 338 in Hard Sayings

These words occur in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ sending out the twelve apostles two by two at a fairly early stage in his Galilean ministry, in order that the proclamation of the kingdom of God might be carried on more extensively and more quickly than if he had done it by himself alone. The message they were to preach was the same as he preached: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” The works of healing that were to accompany their preaching were of the same kind as accompanied his.

Mark (Mk 6:7–13) and Luke (Lk 9:l) also report the sending out of the Twelve, but more briefly than Matthew does. Matthew is the only Evangelist to include these “exclusive” words in his account. “The lost sheep of Israel” is an expression peculiar to his Gospel (although it is not dissimilar to “sheep without a shepherd” in Mk 6:34); it occurs again in his account of the healing of the Canaanite woman’s daughter (Mt 15:24).

Since Matthew is the only Evangelist to report these words, it might be argued that they were not originally spoken by Jesus but were ascribed to him by the Evangelist or his source. We cannot make Matthew responsible for inventing them; there is no reason to think that Matthew had an anti-Gentile bias or entertained a particularist view of the gospel. At the beginning of his record he brings the Gentiles in by telling how the wise men came from the east to pay homage to the infant king of the Jews—the occasion traditionally referred to as the “epiphany” or “manifestation” of Christ to the Gentiles. In the course of his report of Jesus’ teaching he quotes him as saying that, before the end comes, “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations” (Mt 24:14). At the end of the book (Mt 28:19) he tells how the risen Christ commissioned the apostles to “go … and make disciples of all nations” (that is, among all the Gentiles). And in the course of his record he tells of Jesus’ praise for the Roman centurion of Capernaum, in whom he found greater faith than he had found in any Israelite (Lk 7:2–10), and of his following assertion that “many will come from the east and the west, and will takes their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,” while some of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would find themselves excluded from the feast (Mt 8:5–13; compare Lk 13:28–29). Those last words would certainly be a hard saying for Jewish hearers, just as hard as “Do not go among the Gentiles” might be for Gentile readers.

Matthew probably did derive some of the material peculiar to his Gospel from a source marked by a Jewish emphasis—perhaps a compilation of sayings of Jesus preserved by a rather strict Jewish-Christian community. “Do not go among the Gentiles” may well have been found in this source.10 But the source in question probably selected those sayings of Jesus which chimed in with its own outlook; that is no argument against their genuineness.

When Jesus sent out the Twelve, the time at their disposal was short, and it was necessary to concentrate on the people who had been specially prepared for the message of the kingdom. Even if the Twelve did confine themselves to the “lost sheep of Israel,” they would not have time to cover all of these. This has sometimes been thought to be the point of the cryptic words “you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes” (Mt 10:23 RSV).

Moreover, it is taught in the prophetic writings of the Old Testament, and nowhere more clearly than in Isaiah 40–55, that when Israel grasps the true knowledge of God, it will be its privilege to share that knowledge with other nations. Nearly thirty years later, Paul, apostle to the Gentiles though he was, lays down the order of gospel presentation as being “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Rom 1:16). This statement of primitive evangelistic policy was evidently founded on Jesus’ own practice. Even so, there are hints here and there in the Synoptic Gospels that the Gentiles’ interests were not forgotten. The incident of the Roman centurion of Capernaum has been mentioned; the healing of the Canaanite woman’s daughter will receive separate treatment (see comment on Mk 7:27). Such occasions, isolated and exceptional as they were during Jesus’ ministry, foreshadowed the mission to the Gentiles which was launched a few years after his death. The Fourth Gospel emphasizes this by relating an incident that took place in Jerusalem during Holy Week, only two or three days before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. Some Greeks who were visiting the city approached one of the disciples and asked for an interview with Jesus. His reply, when he was told of their request, was in effect “Not yet, but after my death”—“when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself,” all without distinction, Gentiles and Jews alike (Jn 12:20–32). That is exactly what happened.

The ban on entering any town of the Samaritans is to be understood in the same way. Samaritans were not Jews, but neither were they Gentiles. Jesus did not share his people’s anti-Samaritan bias (although the evidence for this is supplied by Luke and John, not by Matthew), and after his death and resurrection his message of salvation was effectively presented to Samaritans even before it was presented to Gentiles (Acts 8:5–25).
See also comments on

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.)

John 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.”

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 - Mt. 3:2; Mt. 4:17; Mt. 10:7; Mt. 21:1; Mt. 21:34; Mt. 26:45; Mt. 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:

See also The Theocratic Kingdom....

Source: Chart by Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice - click to enlarge - Millennial Kingdom on Right Side

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. 

John 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:

Henry Blackaby - The experience : a devotional and journal : day by day with God Free Gifts

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8

You’re probably familiar with the term oxymoron: “sweet sorrow,” “uniquely uniform,” “cute in an ugly sort of way”; some words don’t go together. The term selfish Christian is an oxymoron, or at least it should be, because there ought to be no such thing. But why should Christians be unselfish? Because we’re filthy rich? Not likely. Because we have more time than everyone else? Very unlikely! Maybe it’s because we’ve received more; therefore, we have more to give than anyone else.

We Christians are experts at receiving. We’ve soaked in God’s love, forgiveness, and healing. We’ve eagerly accepted eternal life. We’ve been adopted into God’s family, and we gladly claim the myriad of promises the Bible says are just for us. We don’t pretend to have earned any of these things; they’re all free gifts from God, and we know it. Nor are we dense enough to suppose we could ever repay God. In fact, God doesn’t ask us to pay him back. He does ask one thing, however. He wants us to become experts at giving as well as receiving.

Selfishness is a sign that we’ve forgotten who we are. If we give only to people we consider worthy of our gift, we’ve missed the whole point. Whether the person in need deserves our help is irrelevant. The evidence of genuine Christianity is the willingness to give whatever it takes to whoever needs it.

Be on the lookout today for a way to share with someone else something God has given you.

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 

Related Passage:

Mt 6:19-21+ (THE RIGHT KIND OF ACQUIRING!!!) “Do not store up (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up (present imperative [the rest of your short time on earth - Jas 4:14+] see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for (term of explanation) where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (THOUGHT - WHERE'S YOUR TREASURE? THAT TELLS YOU WHERE YOUR HEART IS!)


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." 

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)

Walter Kaiser - Were the Twelve to Take a Staff? goto page 340 in Hard Sayings

When we read Mark 6:8–9, Jesus’ instructions seem clear enough: the only item that the Twelve are to take with them on their missionary journey is a staff. Yet then we read Matthew 10:9–10 and Luke 9:3, which prohibit the taking of a staff.

The first piece of information that we notice is that although Matthew seems to know Mark quite well in other places, here only his mention of copper is in common with Mark (the word for “money” in Mark means “copper,” while the word in Luke means “silver”). The rest of Matthew’s version has more in common with Luke. Since Matthew has many other passages in common with Luke which Mark does not have at all (commonly called Q passages from the German word for “source,” Quelle), the lack of common vocabulary with Mark looks like here Matthew is drawing on his common source with Luke more than on Mark. We also notice that Matthew says “no sandals,” although Mark tells them to wear sandals. Thus we conclude that in this case Matthew and Luke follow a common source rather than Mark.

The second thing that we notice is that despite the differences there is general agreement among the accounts. The Twelve are not to take money, bread, a bag (in which to carry their provisions and into which to put anything they were given) or a second tunic (this was the inner garment, so it indicates a change of clothing). Thus all of the accounts agree that either the trip was so urgent or their dependence on God was to be so radical that the disciples were not to take the normal necessities for a journey with them. Luke’s absolute “Take nothing for the journey” is certainly how the Twelve felt. They were setting out on a trip totally unprepared, without even food or money to buy food. They were also setting out quite differently from the wandering Cynic and Stoic philosophers of Greece, who traveled simply but were permitted to carry food with them and to take up collections in their begging bag. By way of contrast, if Jesus’ followers had been given anything beyond what they could eat or put on there on the spot, they could not have carried it with them, for they had no bag to carry it in.

The third thing we notice is that these instructions were taken seriously by Christian missionaries throughout the New Testament period. The one place we find anyone shaking off the dust of their feet against a city is not in the Gospels but in Acts 13:51, where Paul and Barnabas do it outside Pisidian Antioch. Nor is there any indication in either Acts or his letters of Paul’s carrying supplies of any type with him, although this is an argument from silence. We do note that when he comes to Corinth and needs to work he does not set up his own stall but joins in another man’s workshop (Acts 18:3). The point is that these passages were put in the Gospels because they were relevant to missionaries throughout the New Testament period. The concern was not simply to record commands given to the Twelve that were irrelevant for later missions.

What, then, can we say about these three passages? It is possible that a corruption has crept into the text and that Mark originally read “no staff” (which was used for self-defense as well as an aid to walking), but that is unlikely. There is no solid manuscript evidence for that, nor would that explain the problem of the sandals as well. The sandals are mentioned twice in the Mark passage (once in Mk 6:9 and then later in shaking the dust off the sandals), while Matthew is consistent in saying no sandals and then telling them to shake the dust off their feet rather than off their sandals.

One solution is to suggest that it is possible that there were two such commands by Jesus and Mark has one and Matthew another. However, Luke, who agrees with Matthew, clearly identifies his account as the sending of the Twelve, not the Seventy, and there is no evidence that Jesus sent the Twelve out on more than one major trip of this type. This solution would be inventing trips simply to save us problems. It may have happened that way, but it is unlikely given the shortness of Jesus’ ministry.

What seems more likely is that there were two traditions transmitting these instructions of Jesus. Both traditions have the same essence, that the disciples were to travel light, without the normal supplies needed for a journey, resulting in their total dependence  on God, but they differed in their exact wording. Perhaps this was a difference in the understanding of Jesus’ Aramaic (since the Gospels were written in Greek), or perhaps this was the result of an adaptation of the traditions to local missionary circumstances (in some areas one might need sandals or the assistance of a staff, while in others it might be more feasible to go without sandals and a staff). Whatever the reason for the differences in the traditions, Mark followed one (perhaps one he received directly from Peter) and Matthew and Luke followed the other (we have no idea who the source of their common tradition was).

These differences remind us that in the Gospels we have the meaning of Jesus, his voice, so to speak, transmitted to us, but not his exact words. None of the Gospels were written in the Aramaic he spoke and none of the Synoptic Gospels, with the possible exception of Mark, were written by eyewitnesses. Thus we are not surprised when the meaning and thrust of the words of Jesus is the same, but the exact wording is different. Only if one has a very legal mind is there a significant difference. Surely early missionaries reading Matthew’s version would not feel guilty if while walking up a steep hill they picked up a stout stick to assist them on their way. They were traveling simply, not prepared for the normal problems of travel, and they just accepted assistance which was lying there to be taken, probably with thanksgiving to God. Jesus normally speaks in the hyperbole of a wisdom teacher, not the legal precision of a Pharisee.

These passages are also another reminder to us that we do not have all of the answers. There are issues which may have a perfectly good explanation if we could gather Mark and Matthew and Luke together, but for which we will not have an answer short of such a gathering.

Finally, these passages call us not to lose the forest for the trees. Jesus called his missionaries to travel simply, without the normal provisions for a journey. They had to depend on God for their support. What does that mean for us who call ourselves disciples of Jesus in our security-conscious age? When we would not think of setting off on any mission, ordered by God or not, without ten times the normal provision that Jesus prohibited (credit card as well as money; a suitcase of clothes, not just a change), the issue of whether or not sandals or a staff were or were not permitted to the Twelve fades into insignificance.

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. (Borrow The Preacher's outline & sermon Bible : New Testament, King James Version)

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

Related Passage:

Matthew 18:5  “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;

Mark 6:11+  “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.”

Mark 9:37+  “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

Luke 9:5; 48+  “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” (9:48) and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.” 

Luke 10:10; 11+  “But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, (10:11) ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’

Acts 13:51+ But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.


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 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:

Conflicts At Christmas

I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. . . . They will deliver you up to councils and scourge you. —Matthew 10:16-17

Today's Scripture: Matthew 10:16-34

Christmas—that time of year when the courtrooms are once again filled with the not-so-merry sounds of lawyers arguing about whether nativity scenes violate someone’s civil rights or whether Christmas carols can be sung at a school concert.

If we aren’t careful, all the litigation that seems to accompany Christmas each year could take a bit of the enjoyment out of this most celebrated of seasons.

But if we understand that Jesus Himself told us His coming would not always lead to peace and good times, we will find it easier to understand the conflicts this season brings.

While giving His disciples their marching orders one day, Jesus told them to watch out for trouble. He said they would be hated and persecuted, and they would experience family conflicts (Mt. 10:21-23). In fact, He told His followers, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (v.34).

It seems like an odd message to come from the Prince of Peace, but it’s true. Jesus offers peace and joy and happiness to all who trust Him. But for those who refuse His salvation, the celebration of His coming will cause conflicts—even at Christmas. By:  Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

At Christmastime we celebrate
The coming of the Prince of Peace;
Though now our world is locked in strife,
One day He'll make all conflict cease. —Sper

Christ promises peace for a world of conflict.

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.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.” Matthew 10:16–17

Do you ever feel like the world is out to get you? It is. Some people think Christians are naïve because we’re supposed to be meek, mild, and submissive. We’re like sheep, right? And who ever heard of a killer sheep? So people try to take advantage of us, assuming our only option is to turn the other cheek. Or they try to manipulate us into sinning to prove we’re no different than they are. Jesus has two words of advice: Wise up! Yes, we are to be kind and loving, but we are not to be foolish. In the same breath, Jesus tells us to be like sheep, like snakes, and like doves.

The sheep part we know all about. We’ve read all the biblical analogies that say we’re the sheep and Jesus is the Good Shepherd. But maybe that’s so familiar we don’t really get it: as sheep we must understand that there are wolves in the bushes and that they’re not looking out for our best interests. That’s why Jesus warns us to be as shrewd as snakes. Biblically speaking, snakes don’t have a great track record; they’re usually the bad guys. They’re also very clever. Jesus alerts us so we don’t fall blindly into the traps of cunning, evil people. We’re unlikely to be flogged in a synagogue anytime soon, but people will take advantage of us if we let them.

If you’re beginning to feel paranoid, don’t panic. The key is to remain innocent as a dove. In other words, guard your heart. Don’t go looking for evil, or worse, get into evil yourself. Stay close to Jesus and don’t let anyone, even your friends, manipulate you into sinning. Be kind, be loving, but be smart!

He Watches Me

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. — Matthew 10:31

Today's Scripture:  Matthew 10:16-31

One Sunday morning at church, we sang “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” as a congregational hymn. It was a rare opportunity to give voice to a song usually performed by a soloist.

During the first chorus, I noticed a friend who was weeping so hard that he couldn’t sing. Knowing a bit of what he had been through recently, I recognized his tears as ones of joy at realizing that, no matter what our situation, God sees, knows, and cares for us.

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31). The Lord spoke these words to His 12 disciples as He sent them out to teach, heal, and bear witness of Him to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (v.6). He told them that even though they would face persecution for His sake, they should not be afraid, even of death (vv.22-26).

When threatening circumstances press us to lose hope, we can find encouragement in the words of this song: “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” We are under His watchful care. By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

If God sees the sparrow’s fall,
Paints the lilies short and tall,
Gives the skies their azure hue, 
Will He not then care for you? —Anon.

When you put your cares in God’s hands, He puts His peace in your heart.

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?”

Henry Blackaby - The experience : a devotional and journal : day by day with God What Will You Say?

“On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:18–20

Some things just seem too good to be true. Christians love to grab onto this verse from Matthew, assuming that anytime we’re at a loss for words, God will intervene. What a deal! No more studying, no more preparing for presentations, no more planning ahead. The words will come automatically, courtesy of God. This eliminates the need for Bible study because God will zap the appropriate verse into our minds at the right time. Don’t we all sometimes expect God to cover for our own laziness?

The truth is, Jesus was addressing a specific situation here; this is not a blanket promise. He was talking to friends who would soon be hauled before kings and governors. They would be beaten, interrogated, and expected to explain their faith under threat of death. They were all new Christians; none of them had known Jesus for more than a few years. Unlike Paul, who was well schooled in the Scriptures, these men were blue-collar workers. They had no tracts or pocket New Testaments to pull out when they were in a bind. Most significantly, they would be in danger because of witnessing for Christ, not because of their own shortcomings. As long as they were obeying God, Jesus assured them that God would intervene. This promise was not just for the disciples; it was also for the sake of their listeners who would need a word from God.

What does this mean for us? Obviously there is no open-ended guarantee that God will always bail us out when we have not prepared ourselves. However, if we are living as God wants us to live and our faith is challenged, God will not only give us the words we need; he’ll also give us the courage to say them.

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?"

Stephen Olford - Evening Reading: Matthew 10

 “Do not worry about how or what you should speak.
For it will be given to you in that hour what you should
speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your
Father who speaks in you.”—Matthew 10:19-20

 Personally, I feel that in these two verses is a principle that should always operate in public speaking. By that, I mean that the inference here is not exclusively for the servant of the Lord who is delivered up. Notice also, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth” (Jer. 1:9); “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue” (2 Sam. 23:2); “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (Ex. 4:12). These are just a few of the many instances where the above principle obviously operates.

Speak in living echoes of Your tone.

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!

Henry Blackaby - The experience : a devotional and journal : day by day with God Not for the Fainthearted

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. . . .“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!” Matthew 10:21–22, 24–25

Following Christ is not for the faint-hearted! Some may tell you that becoming a Christian guarantees a problem-free existence, but Jesus shatters that illusion. In fact, he presents Christianity as not only difficult but downright dangerous!

In Bible times, following Christ was perilous. Constant persecution separated serious disciples from would-be Christians. The threat of arrest, torture, and even death didn’t make Christianity all that inviting. People took their commitment to Christ very seriously because their lives and the lives of their family members were on the line. Yet thousands and thousands of people considered it worth the hazards to know God personally. Christ himself was hated and persecuted, so his disciples didn’t expect that they would avoid persecution themselves.

Times have changed, but persecution still separates the true disciples from the wanna-bes. In some parts of the world, being a Christian is still a life-threatening venture, but for most of us it’s not as dangerous. Still, there is a cost involved in following Christ, and each of us has to decide if knowing Christ is worth the price.

Is your faith costing you anything? Are you willing to stand up for Christ, even when it’s an unpopular thing to do? Will you remain faithful to Jesus, even if it causes you to lose friends? If you are truly Christ’s disciple, you will pay a price. But stand firm; the reward is worth the cost.

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 (term of contrast) 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 (term of contrastwhenever they persecute (dioko) 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. John 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.

Walter Kaiser - 10:23  Unfulfilled Expectation? - see page 339 Hard Sayings

This saying, found in Matthew’s Gospel only, comes at the end of Jesus’ commission to the twelve apostles when he sent them out two by two. It was brought to public attention early in the twentieth century when the great Albert Schweitzer made it the foundation of his interpretation of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus, he believed, expected the kingdom of God to dawn with power and glory at harvest time that year, before the Twelve had completed their mission. “He tells them in plain words … that He does not expect to see them back in the present age.” (Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus  1910), p. 357) Jesus would be supernaturally revealed as the Son of Man, in a manner involving his own transformation, as well as the transformation of his followers, into a state of being suited to the conditions of the resurrection age. But the new age did not come in; the Twelve returned from their mission. Jesus then tried to force its arrival. He “lays hold of the wheel of the world to set it moving on that last revolution which is to bring all ordinary history to a close. It refuses to turn, and He throws Himself upon it. Then it does turn; and crushes Him.” Yet in the hour of his failure he released a liberating power in the world which is beyond description.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and related passages in the Gospels was understood by Schweitzer to be an “interim ethic” to guide the lives of Jesus’ disciples in the short interval before the manifestation of the Son of Man in power and glory. When, on Schweitzer’s reading of the evidence, the hope of that manifestation was disappointed, what happened to the interim ethic? Logically, it should have been forgotten when its basis was removed. Actually, the interim ethic survived in its own right, as is magnificently evident from Schweitzer’s own career. It was the driving force behind his life of service to others in West Africa. What, on his understanding, was but the prologue to the expected drama “has become the whole drama … the ministry of Jesus is not a prelude to the Kingdom of God: it is the Kingdom of God.” (T. W. Manson, Studies in the Gospels and Epistles )

The commission to the Twelve, as given in Matthew 10:5–23, has two parts, each with its own perspective. The first part (Mt 10:5–18) deals with the immediate situation, within the context of Jesus’ own Galilean ministry. The second part (Mt 10:19–23) envisages a later period, when the apostles will be engaged in a wider ministry—the kind of ministry in which they were in fact engaged in the period following the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Spirit. Think of the warning “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles” (Mt 10:17–18). This reference to the Gentiles presents a contrast with the reference to them in Matthew 10:5, where they are excluded from the scope of the earlier preaching tour. The warning just quoted has a close parallel in Mark 13:9–10, where the situation is that leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. And in both places the warning is followed by an assurance that, when the disciples are put on trial and required to bear witness to their faith, the Holy Spirit will put the right words into their mouths. It is this second part of the commission in Matthew 10 that is rounded off with the hard saying “You will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

What, then, does the saying mean in this context? It means, simply, that the evangelization of Israel will not be completed before the end of the present age, which comes with the advent of the Son of Man. The parallel passage in Mark has a similar statement, which, however, takes more explicit account of Gentile as well as Jewish evangelization: before the end time, “the gospel must first be preached to all nations” (Mk 13:10). (This statement is reproduced in slightly amplified form in Mt 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”) Paul, from his own perspective, expresses much the same hope when he foresees the salvation of “all Israel,” the sequel to the ingathering of the full sum of Gentile believers, being consummated at the time when “the deliverer will come from Zion” (Rom 11:25–27).

The wording of Matthew 10:23 is earlier in its reference than that of the other passages just mentioned: here witness-bearing to the Gentiles receives a brief mention, but all the emphasis lies on the mission to the Jews. This mission, as we know from Galatians 2:6–9, was taken seriously by the leaders of the Jerusalem church in the early apostolic age, and they carried it out with some sense of urgency. For anything they knew to the contrary, the Son of Man might come within their own generation. We must not allow our understanding of their perspective to be influenced by our own very different perspective. We know that their mission, in the form in which they pursued it, was brought to an end by the Judean rebellion against Rome in A.D. 66, but it would be unwise to say that that, with the fall of Jerusalem four years later, was the coming of the Son of Man of which Jesus spoke.

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!  

ἐπεκάλεσαν, πόσῳ μᾶλλον τοὺς οἰκιακοὺς αὐτοῦ.

KJV  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

NET  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the disciple to 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 defame the members of his household!

CSB  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for a disciple to become like his teacher and a slave like his master. If they called the head of the house ' Beelzebul,' how much more the members of his household!

ESV  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

NIV  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!

NLT  Matthew 10:25 Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!

NRS  Matthew 10:25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

NJB  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for disciple to grow to be like teacher, and slave like master. If they have called the master of the house "Beelzebul", how much more the members of his household?

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

YLT  Matthew 10:25 sufficient to the disciple that he may be as his teacher, and the servant as his lord; if the master of the house they did call Beelzeboul, how much more those of his household?

GWN  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for a student to become like his teacher and a slave like his owner. If they have called the owner of the house Beelzebul, they will certainly call the family members the same name.

BBE  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he may be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have given the name Beelzebub to the master of the house, how much more to those of his house!

RSV  Matthew 10:25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

NKJ  Matthew 10:25 "It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!

ASV  Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his teacher, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household!

MIT  Matthew 10:25 For a student to become like his teacher and for a slave to become like his master is sufficient. If they have dubbed the estate owner, Beelzebub, how much worse will be their epithets for 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 - MIT = "how much worse will be their epithets for 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:

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening - 

         “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master.”  —Matthew 10:25

No one will dispute this statement, for it would be unseemly for the servant to be exalted above his Master. When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment he received? Were his claims acknowledged, his instructions followed, his perfections worshipped, by those whom he came to bless? No; “He was despised and rejected of men.” Outside the camp was his place: cross-bearing was his occupation. Did the world yield him solace and rest? “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” This inhospitable country afforded him no shelter: it cast him out and crucified him. Such—if you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation—you must expect to be the lot of that part of your spiritual life which, in its outward development, comes under the observation of men. They will treat it as they treated the Saviour—they will despise it. Dream not that worldlings will admire you, or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you. They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough? “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by his enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world’s favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout “Well done” to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation. Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects him. Far be it from us to seek a crown of honour where our Lord found a coronet of thorn.

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 (skotia) - To what is Jesus referring? He is not referring to literal darkness, but depicting the fact that He would teach His disciples truths that He would not speak to the masses.  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.  The parallel idea is seen in Mt 5:14-16+ where Jesus says "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

MacArthur - During New Testament times Jewish rabbis would often train their students to speak by standing beside them and whispering in their ears. What the student heard whispered he would then speak aloud. What the Lord has, in effect, whispered in our ears through His Word we are to speak aloud to the world, holding nothing back. What the Lord has made known to us, we are to make known to others. (See Matthew Commentary)

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 - Jesus is speaking figuratively. Hear whispered is a picture of us reading the Word, meditating on the Word and the Spirit illuminating the Word ("whispering" in our ear). Similarly proclaim on the housetops is a call to speak forth what we have heard from the Word, boldly and clearly so that others can hear (like a man calling from on top of a roof who can be heard from a great distance). Public announcements were often made by crying out from the housetops to reach as many ears as possible.

MacArthur - Fraternal orders and lodges that have secret rites and ceremonies have no part in the work of Christ's kingdom, no matter how much they may try to defend their religious purposes and standards. All spiritual and moral truth that man needs to know and can know God has already fully made known; and His desire is for that truth to be proclaimed, not hidden. Christians are not elite defenders of man-made secrets but bold proclaimers of God-given truth. Secrecy has no part in the gospel. (See Matthew Commentary)

Darkness (4653skotia from skotos = darkness) means literal darkness in some NT uses (Jn 6:1720:1), but more often (14/16x) is used figuratively to refer to spiritual darkness. In every NT figurative use, darkness is contrasted with light in all but one passage (1Jn 2:11). As noted below "Darkness has no existence by itself, being definable simply as an absence of light."

Skotia - 13v (a favorite with John) - Matt. 4:16; Matt. 10:27; Lk. 12:3; Jn. 1:5; Jn. 6:17; Jn. 8:12; Jn. 12:35; Jn. 12:46; Jn. 20:1; 1 Jn. 1:5; 1 Jn. 2:8; 1 Jn. 2:9; 1 Jn. 2:11

Spurgeon's Sermon Notes -   Matthew 10:27—“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.”

Usefulness is the great desire of our souls if we are disciples of Jesus.
We believe that it will most surely be attained by our making known the gospel. We have full faith in “the foolishness of preaching.”
We feel that we have need to receive that gospel personally from the Lord himself, or we shall not know it so as to use it aright.
We must not run till we are prepared. This verse describes, and by implication promises, the needful preparation of heart. Our Lord will speak in our ear: he will commune with us in solitude.

         I.      AN INVALUABLE PRIVILEGE. The disciple is associated very nearly with his Lord, and received into closest fellowship with him.
We see before us three important matters.
            1.      We are permitted to realize our Lord’s presence with us personally.
         He is still on speaking terms with us: still is he our Companion in the night, our Friend in solitude.
            2.      We are enabled to feel his word as spoken to us.
         Immediately: “I tell you.” Personal contact.
         Forcefully: “in the ear.” Not as thundered from Sinai, but as whispered by “a still, small voice.” Still, very effectually.
            3.      We are privileged to receive such communications again and again: “I tell you. ye hear.”
         We need precept upon precept, line upon line.
         Our Lord is willing to manifest himself to his own day by day.
         We shall be wise to make occasions for hearing his voice in solitude, meditation, prayer, communion, &c.
         We shall do well to use occasions of the Lord’s own making such as the Sabbath, sickness, the night-watches, etc.
         We need for a thousand reasons this private tuition, this personal communication with our Commander-in-chief.

         II.      A PREPARATORY PROCESS. We do not rightly perceive what we have to make known till Jesus personally imparts his holy teaching to our inmost hearts.
We see by reason of personal contact with our Lord—
            1.      Truth in its personality; living, acting, feeling; for he is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Truth is no theory or phantom in Christ. Substantial truth is spoken by him.
            2.      Truth in its purity is found in him, in his written teaching, and in that which he speaks to the heart. Truth from man is mixed and adulterated; from Jesus it is unalloyed.
            3.      Truth in its proportions; he teaches all truth, in its true relations. Christ is no caricaturist, partisan, or politician.
            4.      Truth in its power. It comes strikingly, persuasively, convincingly, omnipotently from him. It quickens, and sustains.
            5.      Truth in its spirit. His words are spirit, life, love.
            6.      Truth in its certainty. “Verily, verily,” is his motto.
            7.      Truth in its joyfulness. He speaks delight unto the soul. The truth in Jesus is glad tidings.
See the advantage of studying in Christ’s College.

         III.      THE CONSEQUENT PROCLAMATION. What Jesus has told us alone in the dark we are to tell out openly in the light.
Courting publicity, we are to preach “upon the housetops.”
What is this message which we have heard in the ear?
      We bear our willing witness that—
            1.      There is peace in the blood of Jesus.
            2.      There is sanctifying power in his Holy Spirit.
            3.      There is rest in faith in our Lord and God.
            4.      There is safety in conformity to our great Exemplar.
            5.      There is joy in nearness to Jesus our Lord.
As we hear more we will tell more.
Oh, that men would receive our earnest testimony!
Will not you receive it who hear us at this present hour?


Claus Hames, one of the most useful preachers in Germany, once met a friend to whom he told how many times daily he was obliged to speak. His friend presently asked, “But, Friend Hames, if thou hast so much to say, when art thou still? And when does the Spirit of God speak to thee?” That simple question so impressed Hames that he resolved from that time to devote a portion of each day to retirement and silent study.

“How is it?” said a Christian man to his companion, as they were both returning from hearing the saintly Bramwell, “How is it that Brother Bramwell always tells us so much that is new?” The companion answered, “Brother Bramwell lives so near the gates of heaven that he hears a great many things which the rest of us do not get near enough to hear.”—J. H. Hitchens.
Of a certain preacher it was said: “He preaches as if Jesus Christ were at his side. Don’t you see how every now and then he turns around as if he were saying: ‘Lord Jesus, what shall I say next?’ ”

         Take my lips, and let them be
         Filled with messages from thee.
F. R. Havergal.

      Then sorrow touched by thee grows light,
         With more than rapture’s ray;
      As darkness shows us worlds of light
         We never saw by day.
Thomas Moore.

Men learn in suffering what they teach in song.

Possessors of divine truth are eager to spread it. “For,” as Carlyle says, “if new-got gold is said to burn the pockets till it be cast forth into circulation; much more may new-found truth.”

A servant was desired by his master to carry a present of fish to a friend, and to do it as quickly as possible. In all haste the man seized a basket, and set out; but when he reached his journey’s end he became a laughing-stock, for he had forgotten the fish: his basket was empty Teacher! Preacher! let not the like happen to thee.

Often in the South of France have I needed to have a fire lighted; but I have found little or no comfort from it when my wish has been granted. The dwellers in that mild region build their fire-places so badly that all the heat goes up the chimney. No matter how big the blaze, the hearth only seems to warm itself. Thus many professors of our holy faith would seem to get grace, and light, and pious feeling for themselves only: their heat goes up their own chimney. What is told them in the dark they keep in the dark, and that which is spoken in their ear never blesses any other ear.—C. H. S.

Oswald Chambers - The discipline of heeding

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light; and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:27.

At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him. “What I tell you in darkness”—watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there, keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.

After every time of darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation (if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all), delight in hearing God speak, but chiefly humiliation—‘What a long time I was in hearing that! How slow I have been in understanding that! And yet God has been saying it all these days and weeks.’ Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now.

The Secret Chamber

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light. —Matthew 10:27

Today's Scripture: Isaiah 50:4-5

People have some needs that are excruciatingly deep. Poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote, “Never morning wore to evening, but some heart did break.”

We find ourselves in conversation at times with heartbroken friends and may feel at an utter loss to know what to say. How can we “speak a word in season to him who is weary,” as it says in Isaiah 50:4?

Telling people what human teachers have taught us may have some impact on them. But the most helpful or persuasive words are spoken by those who are taught by the Lord Himself.

That’s why it’s essential for us to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him. The more we receive from Him, the more we have to give to others. George MacDonald pictures this time with the Lord as having “a chamber in God Himself.” He continues: “Out of [that] has to bring revelation and strength for his brethren. This is that for which he was made.”

It’s through our thoughtful and prayerful Bible study, reading, and quiet meditation that God speaks to our hearts. He gives us “the tongue of the learned” (Isa 50:4) so that we have something to share with those who are in the depths of despair. By: David H. Roper (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

The comfort God has given us
He wants us all to share
With others who, with broken hearts,
Are caught in deep despair.

Listen to God’s heart,
then speak from your heart to others.

F B Meyer - Matthew 10:27   What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light.

These striking words are applicable to us all, Our Lord is constantly taking us into the dark, that He may tell us things. Into the dark of the shadowed home, where bereavement has drawn down the blinds; into the dark of the lonely, desolate life, here some infirmity closes us in from the light and stir of life; into the dark of some crushing sorrow and disappointment. Then He tells us his secrets, great and wonderful, eternal and infinite. The eye, which has become dazzled by the glare of earth, becomes able to behold the heavenly constellations; and the ear to detect the undertones of his voice, which is often drowned amid the tumult of earth’s strident cries.

But such revelations always imply a corresponding responsibility — that speak ye in the light — that proclaim upon the housetops. We are not meant to linger always in the dark, or stay in the closet; presently we shall be summoned to take our place in the rush and storm of life; and when that moment comes, we are to speak and proclaim what we have learnt.

This gives a new meaning to suffering, the saddest element in which is often its apparent aimlessness. “How useless I am.” “What am I doing for the betterment of men?” “Wherefore this waste of the precious spikenard of my soul.” Such are the desperate laments of the sufferer. But God has a purpose in it all. He has withdrawn his child to the higher altitudes of fellowship, that he may hear God speaking face to face, and bear the message to his fellows at the mountain foot. Were the forty days wasted that Moses spent on the Mount, or the period spent at Horeb by Elijah, or the years

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! 

Walter Kaiser - Whom Should We Fear? - goto page 435 in Hard Sayings

The first part of this saying presents no difficulty. Jesus faced violent death himself, and he warned his disciples more than once that they might expect no less. “Brother will betray brother to death,” he said. “All men will hate you because of me” (Mt 10:21–22). In a counterpart to these words in the Fourth Gospel he tells them that “a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God” (Jn 16:2). But those who put them to death could do them no more harm. Stephen might be stoned to death, but his eyes were filled with the vision of the Son of Man standing to welcome him as his advocate and friend at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56). So too Paul, on the eve of execution, could say with confidence, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely me to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim 4:18).

It is the second part of the saying that raises a question. Whereas in both Gospels “those who kill the body” are referred to in the plural, the person who is really to be feared is mentioned in the singular: it is he “who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell” or, as it is put in Matthew’s version, “who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28). Who is he?

There are those who “kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” as it runs in Matthew; there are others who do serious damage to the souls of men, women and children by reducing them to obedient automata, by leading them into sin, or in other ways. Are such people to be feared more than ordinary murderers? Perhaps they are. The singular pronoun him in “fear him” could mean “that sort of person.” But it is more probable that Jesus meant “Be more afraid of the condemnation of God than of the death sentence of human beings.” This sense is not unparalleled in Jewish literature of the period. In a document from Jewish Alexandria, the fourth book of Maccabees (which quite certainly has not influenced the present saying of Jesus or been influenced by it), seven brothers about to be martyred because of the refusal to renounce their faith encourage one another in these words: “Let us not fear him who thinks he is killing us; for great conflict and danger to the soul is laid up in eternal torment for those who transgress the commandment of God” (4 Macc 13:14–15). If they are put to death for their fidelity to God, they have the sure hope of eternal life; if through fear of physical death they prove unfaithful to him, certain retribution awaits them. The sense is more or less the same in Jesus’ present saying. The one who has power to cast into hell is not, as some have suggested, the devil; if he is resisted, he can do no real harm to the follower of Jesus. It is God who is to be feared:

    Fear him, ye saints, and you will then
    Have nothing else to fear.

The “hell” mentioned here is Gehenna, the place of eternal destruction after death. There are Jewish parallels for the belief, attested in Matthew’s form of the saying, that soul and body alike are consumed in the fire of Gehenna.

It is noteworthy that in both Gospels, immediately after the warning that the condemnation of God is to be feared, comes the encouragement that the protecting love of God is to be trusted: the God who takes note of the fall of a single sparrow knows every hair of his children’s heads (Lk 12:6–7; Mt 10:29–31).

See also comment on

Matthew 10:28 

All sorts of fears obsess believers. Although some may be legitimate, most are vague, nameless feelings of apprehension. They rob us of confidence and joy, and keep us from spiritual health and effective­ness. The Bible has the solution to this problem. When we learn the fear of God, we will not be controlled by earthly terrors.

A young boy living in Holland when it was occupied by the Nazis during World War II, wrote the following in his journal: "Last week three German officers stopped my dad in the hallway. They held him at gunpoint and forced him to open the steel door leading to the basement. One of them ordered Dad to show the crawl space under the hallways. He said if he didn't tell where the hidden weapons are, he will be shot. Dad usually is not a great hero. He's even afraid of the dentist. But this time he is not afraid at all. One of them cocked his Luger and held it against my Dad's temple. Dad recited the Bible verse that was on his mind, `And fear not them who kill the body, . . . but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.' The Germans looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and then left. The steel heels of their boots made a clanging noise on the iron stairway."

This boy's father feared God more than he did the enemy. Having that kind of attitude will help us put all our fears in perspective. —D. C. Egner  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We need not fear the darkness of this world, for we have Christ the light.

Can’t Die But Once

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.Matthew 10:28

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:26–32

Born into slavery and badly treated as a young girl, Harriet Tubman (c. 1822–1913) found a shining ray of hope in the Bible stories her mother told. The account of Israel’s escape from slavery under Pharaoh showed her a God who desired freedom for His people.

Harriet found freedom when she slipped over the Maryland state line and out of slavery. She couldn’t remain content, however, knowing so many were still trapped in captivity. So she led more than a dozen rescue missions to free those still in slavery, dismissing the personal danger. “I can’t die but once,” she said.

Harriet knew the truth of the statement: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matt. 10:28). Jesus spoke those words as He sent His disciples on their first mission. He knew they would face danger, and not everyone would receive them warmly. So why expose the disciples to the risk? The answer is found in the previous chapter. “When he saw the crowds, [Jesus] had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (9:36).

When Harriet Tubman couldn’t forget those still trapped in slavery, she showed us a picture of Christ, who did not forget us when we were trapped in our sins. Her courageous example inspires us to remember those who remain without hope in the world.  By:  Tim Gustafson (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

May we find our peace and purpose in You, Lord, and share You with others.

True freedom is found in knowing and serving Christ.

Not One Sparrow

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:28–33

My mother, so dignified and proper her entire life, now lay in a hospice bed, held captive by debilitating age. Struggling for breath, her declining condition contradicted the gorgeous spring day that danced invitingly on the other side of the windowpane.

All the emotional preparation in the world cannot sufficiently brace us for the stark reality of goodbye. Death is such an indignity! I thought.

I diverted my gaze to the birdfeeder outside the window. A grosbeak flitted close to help itself to some seed. Instantly a familiar phrase popped into my mind: “Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it” (Matt. 10:29 nlt). Jesus had said that to His disciples as He gave them marching orders for a mission to Judea, but the principle applies to all of us. “You are worth more than many sparrows,” He told them (v. 31).

My mom stirred and opened her eyes. Reaching back to her childhood, she used a Dutch term of endearment for her own mother and declared, “Muti’s dead!”

“Yes,” my wife agreed. “She’s with Jesus now.” Uncertain, Mom continued. “And Joyce and Jim?” she questioned of her sister and brother. “Yes, they’re with Jesus too,” said my wife. “But we’ll be with them soon!”

“It’s hard to wait,” Mom said quietly. By:  Tim Gustafson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Heavenly Father, this life can be so hard and painful. But You! . . . You are right there with us, loving us, keeping us, holding us! And You promise never to leave us or forsake us. Tim Gustafson (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Death is the last shadow before heaven’s dawn.

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)

Henry Blackaby - The experience : a devotional and journal : day by day with God The Hairs of Your Head

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”Matthew 10:29–31

Have you ever been in a stadium surrounded by thousands of screaming fans? Did you wonder how God could possibly know every person there? It is pretty mind-boggling; there are billions of people in the world, and the Bible says that God knows everything there is to know about every one of us!

We might consider our lives insignificant in the global scheme of things, but Jesus would disagree. In fact, he made a point of showing the disciples just how intimately the Father knew them. Tiny and weak, sparrows are among the least important creatures on earth. Their life span is so short, who even notices when it’s over? God does. If that is true, God is more than capable of loving each and every person he has created.

In case his friends still didn’t get it, Jesus went on: God even knows the number of hairs on our heads. The truth is, God knows us better than we know ourselves. God doesn’t see us as a massive crowd; he sees and loves each of us individually. The disciples were going out to a hostile world. They would deal with dangerous, evil people. They would be mocked and threatened; they would even be face-to-face with demons. Jesus wanted to assure them that their heavenly Father was in control, that he loved each one of them, and that he was watching over them. This promise is for you too. Don’t ever assume you are just one of the crowd or that God isn’t intimately acquainted with your life. You are precious to God. He knows everything about you. He loves you more than you know. You can trust him with your life.

Matthew 10:29 HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW! - These words of Jesus are a rebuke to faltering faith, and an exhortation to put our trust in God. A sparrow in Jesus' day was worth about one-eighth of a cent, and yet He who controls the universe is interested in each one of these insignificant little birds. If His eye notes the sparrow's fall, will He not also enter into every pang that rends the heart of His children?

C. F. Bundy has an interesting commentary on this passage. He writes: "This precious verse is usually misquoted. Note that it does not say 'to the ground' but 'on the ground.' Picture in your mind an active little sparrow, and the significance of the difference will become clear. The sparrow does not have to fall from a height, or die, but merely stumble as it hops along 'on the ground,' and God knows and cares! How much more is He concerned when one of His children stumbles and falls or is tried in the way of life! Not only so, but He is ever ready to help, strengthen, and restore such a fallen one. Don't wait for an emergency or a great tragedy before you call upon the Lord; rather, present to Him the problems, perplexities, and the little needs of everyday living!"

An anonymous poet exclaims:

"When the birds begin to worry, and the lilies toil and spin,
and God's creatures all are anxious, then I also may begin;
for my Father sets their table, decks them out in garments fine, 
and if He supplies their living, will He not provide for mine? 
Just as noisy, common sparrows can be found most anywhere —
unto some a worthless creature, if it perish who would care? 
Yet our Heavenly Father numbers every creature great and small, 
caring even for the sparrows, marking when each one doth fall.
If His children's hairs are numbered, why should we be filled with fear? 
He has promised all that's needful, and in trouble to be near!"

If God sees the sparrow's fall,
Paints the lily, short and tall,
Gives the skies their azure hue,
Will He not then care for you?
— Anon.

With God's strength behind you, His love within you, and His arms underneath you, you are more than sufficient for the job ahead of you! —Wm. A. Ward

The Bird Watcher

Not one [sparrow] falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. —Matthew 10:29

Today's Scripture: Matthew 10:29-33

Someone has said, “A bird on the wing has found man looking up in envy, but a hummingbird by the feeder can stir up within him how awesome is his God.”

Hummingbirds have been called “flying jewels” or “flying marvels.” Their agility and grace are truly fascinating as they flit from flower to flower in search of nectar. Bird watchers are captivated by them.

Did you know that our heavenly Father is a bird watcher too? But He’s much more than a mere observer who marvels at what He has made. Rather, He knows, feeds, and constantly watches over all His creatures (Ps. 50:11; 147:9; Mt. 6:26).

Consider how Jesus used this truth to reassure His disciples. He had told them they would be hated, persecuted, and rejected. Then He said that not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father’s will (Mt. 10:29), nor is one “forgotten before God” (Lk. 12:6). The disciples knew they were more valuable than birds (v.7), so they could be sure God would care for them.

Yes, tiny hummingbirds can stir within us a sense of God’s awesomeness. But Jesus’ words remind us that beyond the marvel of God’s creative genius lies the marvel of His loving care for us. By:  Dennis J. DeHaan (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

He clothes the lilies, feeds the birds;
Would He to you, then, pay less heed?
Look up to Him with prayerful heart,
He will supply your every need.

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me. —Martin

Our Father’s Care

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. Matthew 10:29

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:16–20, 26–31

Thwack! I looked up and craned my ear toward the sound. Spotting a smudge on the windowpane, I peered out onto the deck and discovered the still-beating body of a bird. My heart hurt. I longed to help the fragile feathered being.

In Matthew 10, Jesus described His Father’s care for sparrows in order to comfort the disciples as He warned of upcoming dangers. He offered instructions to the twelve as He “gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” (v. 1). While the power to do such deeds might have seemed grand to the disciples, many would oppose them, including governing authorities, their own families, and the ensnaring grip of the evil one (vv. 16–28).

Then in 10:29–31, Jesus told them not to fear whatever they faced because they would never be out of their Father’s care. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” He asked. “Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . . So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

I checked on the bird throughout the day, each time finding it alive but unmoved. Then, late into the evening, it was gone. I prayed it had survived. Surely, if I cared this much about the bird, God cared even more. Imagine how much He cares for you and me! By:  Elisa Morgan (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

How have you seen God care for you in the past? How can you gain courage for all you face by understanding that you’re never outside your Father’s care?

Dear Father, thank You for always watching over and caring for me.

Sparrow’s Flight

Not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. —Matthew 10:29

Today's Scripture: Matthew 10:27-33

After dinner one night, a tiny brown sparrow flew inside our house through the front door. A chase ensued. Each time my husband got near to it, the little intruder fluttered away in a desperate search for an exit. Before we could escort it safely outside, the bird toured the house so frantically that we could see its chest throbbing from its rapid heartbeat.

Sometimes we are like that little bird—anxious, frazzled, and afraid of what might happen next. It comforts me to think that “not one [sparrow] falls to the ground” without God knowing about it (Matt. 10:29). He sees and knows everything in our world.

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place” (Prov. 15:3), and nothing escapes His attention, including you and me. God understands and values the finest points of our being. Jesus said, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30).

It’s amazing that God keeps a tally of our personal trivia and is even aware of a bird’s misfortune. Since He knows about these small details, we can trust that He sees and cares about the big issues that ruffle our feathers. When we ask Him for help, God’s response is always informed by His perfect knowledge of us and our circumstances. Let’s trust Him with our anxious concerns. By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

If God sees the sparrow’s fall,
Paints the lilies short and tall,
Gives the skies their azure hue,
Will He not then care for you?

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

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)

James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose - OUR HAIRS NUMBERED

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30).

Observe, “numbered,” not simply counted. Dr. Pierson has pointed out that “every hair has its own number, and if one had disappeared that number has gone out of the list. What marvellous thought it is!” Note the statement just before this: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” This means more than that God knows: it means that He is with the fallen bird. This is wonderfully comforting, especially when we remember that we are of more value to Him than many sparrows.

David Jeremiah - ONE-ON-ONE CARE

MATTHEW 10:29, 31 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from Your Father’s will.… Do not fear, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

God is the God of the individual. He is the God who would spare Sodom if someone there could demonstrate faith. When the destruction came, He got His people out because of His love for the individual. He was the one who saw Nathanael, sitting under a fig tree, and later talked to him one-on-one. He’s the one who cared about Cornelius, who was praying by the sea. He’s the one who sent two messengers to Rahab so that she could know what to do before the judgment came.

God knows who you are. He sees you in the massive crowd on this overpopulated globe! He knows you, He loves you and He cares. The same God who is the God of patience is a God of passion for the individual.

He is the only one who can take us as we are and not only keep us from the judgment, but lift us up out of the mire and put our feet upon the Rock. He’ll give us all we need to become all He ever wanted us to be.  (Sanctuary)

Spurgeon Sermon Notes -   Matthew 10:30—“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

How considerate of our fears is the Lord Jesus! He knew that his people would be persecuted, and he sought to cheer them.
In how sweet and homely a way he puts things! He deigns to speak about the hairs of our head. Here is a proverb, simple in words, but sublime in sense.

We think we see four things in this sentence.

I. FORE-ORDINATION. The text may be read, “have all been numbered.” It is of the past as well as of the present.
            1.      Its extent. Predestination extends to everything.
         All the man; his being as a whole is foreknown. “In thy book all my members were written”: Ps. 139:16.
         All that concerns him is foreknown; even to his hair, which may be shorn from him without damage to life or health.
         All that he does; even the least and most casual thought, or act.
         All that he undergoes. This may affect his hair so as to change its colour; but every hair blanched with sorrow is numbered.
            2.      Its source. The counting is done by the Lord.
            3.      Its lessons. Jesus mentions this fore-ordination for a purpose.
         To make us brave under trial.
         To teach us to be submissive.
         To help us to be hopeful.
         To induce us to be joyful.
            4.      Its influence. It ennobles us to be thus minutely predestinated.
         If God arranges even our hairs, we are honoured indeed.
To be the subject of a divine purpose of grace is glorious.

  II.      KNOWLEDGE. We are known so well as to have our hairs counted.
Concerning this divine knowledge let us note—
            1.      Its character.
         Minute. “The very hairs of your head.”
         Complete. The whole man, spirit, soul, and body, is thus most assuredly well known to the Omniscient Lord.
         Pre-eminent. God knows us better than we know ourselves, or than others know us; for neither we nor they have numbered the hairs of our head.
         Tender. Thus a mother values each hair of her darling’s head.
         Sympathetic. God enters into those trials, those years, and those sicknesses which are registered in a man’s hair.
         Constant. Not a hair falls from our head without God.
            2.      Its lessons.
         Concerning consecration, we are taught that our least precious parts are the Lord’s, and are included in the royal inventory. Let us not use even our hair for vanity.
         Concerning prayer. Our heavenly Father knoweth what things we have need of. We do not pray to inform him of our case.
         Concerning our circumstances. These are before the divine mind, be they little or great. Since trifling matters like out hairs are catalogued by Providence, we are assured that greater concerns are before the Father’s eye.

  III.      VALUATION. The hairs of our head are counted because valued.
These were poor saints who were thus highly esteemed.
The numbering mentioned in the text suggests several questions.
         If each hair is valued, what must their heads be worth?
         What must their bodies be worth?
         What must their souls be worth?
         What must they have cost the Lord, their Redeemer?
         How can it be thought that he will lose one of them?
         Ought we not greatly to esteem them?
         Is it not our duty, our honour, our joy to seek after such of them as are not yet called by grace?

IV. PRESERVATION. The hairs of their head are all numbered, because they are to be preserved from all evil.
            1.      From the smallest real loss we are secured by promise. “There shall not a hair of your head perish”: Luke 21:18.
            2.      From persecution we shall be rescued. “Fear not them”: Matt. 10:28.
            3.      From accident. Nothing can harm us unless the Lord permits.
            4.      From necessity. You shall not die of hunger, or thirst, or nakedness. God will keep each hair of your head.
            5.      From sickness. It shall sanctify rather than injure you.
            6.      From death. In death we are not losers, but infinite gainers.
         Resurrection will restore the whole man.

Let us for ourselves trust, and not be afraid.
Let us set a high value upon souls, and feel an earnest love for them.


“Hairs”—of which ye yourselves are heedless. Who cares for the hairs once dragged out by a comb? A hair is a proverbial expression for an utter trifle.—John Albert Bengel.

If God numbers their hairs, much more does he number their heads, and take care of their lives, their comforts, their souls. This intimates that God takes more care of them than they do of themselves. They who are solicitous to number their money, and goods, and cattle, yet were never careful to number their hairs, which fall, and are lost, and they never miss them: but God numbers the hairs of his people, and not a hair of their head shall perish: Luke 21:18. Not the least hurt shall be done them, but upon a valuable consideration: so precious to God are his saints, and their lives and deaths!—Matthew Henry.

      There are who sigh that no fond heart is theirs,
         None loves them best—Oh! vain and selfish sigh!
      Out of the bosom of His love He spares—
         The Father spares the Son, for thee to die:
      For thee He died—for thee He lives again:
      O’er thee He watches in His boundless reign.

      Thou art as much His care, as if beside
         Nor man nor angel lived in Heaven or earth:
      Thus sunbeams pour alike their glorious tide
         To light up worlds, or wake an insect’s mirth:
      They shine and shine with unexhausted store—
      Thou art thy Saviour’s darling—seek no more.
John Keble.

An Italian martyr, in the sixteenth century, was most cruelly treated in the prisons of the Inquisition. His brother, who with great difficulty obtained an interview with him, was deeply affected by the sight of his sufferings. “My brother,” said the prisoner, “if you are a Christian, why do you distress yourself thus? Do you not know that a leaf cannot fall to the ground without the will of God? Comfort yourself in Christ Jesus, for the present troubles are not to be compared with the glory to come.”

    If pestilence stalk through the land, ye say “This is God’s doing”;
    Is it not also his doing when an aphis creepeth on a rosebud?—
    It an avalanche roll from its Alp, ye tremble at the will of Providence;
    Is not that will concerned when the sear leaves fall from the poplar?
Martin F. Tupper.

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.

On the Wing

So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:27-31

In his book On the Wing, Alan Tennant chronicles his efforts to track the migration of the peregrine falcon. Valued for their beauty, swiftness, and power, these amazing birds of prey were favorite hunting companions of emperors and nobility. Sadly, the wide use of the pesticide DDT in the 1950s interfered with their reproductive cycle and placed them on the endangered species list.

Interested in the recovery of this species, Tennant attached transmitters to a select number of falcons to track their migration patterns. But when he and his pilot flew their Cessna behind the birds, they repeatedly lost signal from the transmitters. Despite their advanced technology, they were not always able to track the birds they wanted to help.

It’s good to know that the God who cares for us never loses track of us. In fact, Jesus said that not even one sparrow “will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . . So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31).

When we face difficult circumstances, fear may cause us to wonder if God is aware of our situation. Jesus’ teaching assures us that God cares deeply and is in control. His tracking of our lives will never fail. By:  Dennis Fisher  (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Father, I’m putting my longings and burdens on You at the end of this year because I know You care for me and can work powerfully. Thank You that I and my loved ones are in Your care.

If God cares for birds, will He not care for His children?

Rob Morgan - The Nestlings - Borrow From this verse : 365 inspiring stories about the power of God's word

One day a storm knocked a bird’s nest onto a friend’s roof and four little hatchlings fell through the drainpipe. Doug’s young daughters found them, made them a home in a shoe box, and fed them endless amounts of worms. But a couple of mornings later, Audrey came in from the deck saying, “I don’t think the birds are alive this morning. It got kind of cold last night.”

She disappeared into her bedroom, and presently Doug went to check on her. There she was, a tiny bird in her hand, trying to warm it by the bulb of her desklamp. A tear escaped her eye. “It’s my fault, Dad,” she said. “I left them out in the cold last night.”

That morning Doug drove to the library to study the nesting habits of birds. He learned that many mother birds don’t just feed their chicks, they swallow the worms and bugs, partially digest them, then regurgitate them into the babies’ mouths. Others hold the food in their mouths while flying to the nest in order to coat it with their own digestive juices. Some mother birds don’t just drop the food into the mouths of their young. They actually stick their long beaks almost into the stomachs of the little ones. The feeding is nonstop, with parents making as many as a thousand trips a day. And the mother’s own feathers and warmth are necessary at night, for chicks are unable to regulate their own body heat.

Armed with all that and more, Doug sat down to reassure his little girl. In the process, Matthew 10:31 came to his mind. Jesus evidently loved us so much that He Himself fell to earth through the drainpipe of history. He was laid like a nestling in the straw of a barnyard feedbox, and He died like the doves being offered on the altar of the temple in Jerusalem. Now He gathers us tenderly under the security of His wings, saying, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

It was a never-to-be-forgotten bird’s-eye view of grace.

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 (homologeo) Me before men, I will also confess (homologeohim 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." (Borrow Ryrie Study Bible)

Spurgeon -  “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”Matt. 10:32.

GRACIOUS promise! It is a great joy to me to confess my Lord. Whatever my faults may be, I am not ashamed of Jesus, nor do I fear to declare the doctrines of his cross. O Lord, I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart.

Sweet is the prospect which the text sets before me! Friends forsake and enemies exult, but the Lord does not disown his servant. Doubtless my Lord will own me even here, and give me new tokens of his favourable regard. But there comes a day when I must stand before the Great Father. What bliss to think that Jesus will confess me then! He will say, “This man truly trusted me and was willing to be reproached for my name’s sake; and therefore I acknowledge him as mine.” The other day a great man was made a knight, and the Queen handed him a jewelled garter; but what of that? It will be an honour beyond all honours for the Lord Jesus to confess us in the presence of the divine Majesty in the heavens. Never let me be ashamed to own my Lord. Never let me indulge a cowardly silence, or allow a faint-hearted compromise. Shall I blush to own him who promises to own me?

We Can Trust Him

Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who . . . persecute you. —Matthew 5:44

Today's Scripture: Matthew 10:32-38

I know very little about persecution. My physical well-being has never been threatened because of what I believe or what I say. What little I “know” about the subject comes from what I hear and read. But that is not true for many of our brothers and sisters around the world. Some of them live in danger every day simply because they love Jesus and want others to know Him too.

There is another form of persecution that may not be life-threatening, but it is heartbreaking. It’s the persecution that comes from non-Christian family members. When loved ones ridicule our faith and mock us for what we believe and how we express our love for God, we feel rejected and unloved.

Paul warned believers that following Jesus would result in persecution: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2Ti 3:12), and we know that sometimes rejection will come from those we love (Mt 10:34-36). But when people we love reject the God we love, the rejection feels personal.

Jesus told us to pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44), and that includes more than strangers who hate us. God is able to give us grace to persevere through persecution even when it comes from those we love. By:  Julie Ackerman Link (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Lord, give us grace to pray for those
Who seek our harm and not our good;
And teach us how to show them love
In ways that will be understood.

People may mock our message but they can’t stop our prayers.

"If I Tell The World"

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

Today's Scripture: Luke 12:1-9

At the close of an evangelistic meeting held by D. L. Moody, a Norwegian youth stood up to testify of his faith in the Lord. He wanted the congregation to know that he had been saved, but he had difficulty speaking English. Haltingly he managed to say, “I’m up here because Jesus wants me to be a witness. He promised that if I tell the world about Him, He’ll tell the Father about me!”

Moody later remarked, “That boy’s testimony went straight to the heart of everyone present. ‘If I tell the world’—yes, that’s exactly what the Bible means when it says we must confess Christ!”

Our Lord does not want us to be silent disciples. He encourages us to witness boldly to others about His grace. Scripture provides eloquent proof that we are to be vocal about our standing in Christ. Romans 10:9 states, “Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus.” And verse 14 asks, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?”

If you love the Lord, it’s your duty to witness to others. Maybe all you need to say to someone is: “Jesus means so much to me. I wish you knew Him too!” You will be surprised what such a simple, straightforward testimony can accomplish. Determine today to “tell the world.” By:  Henry G. Bosch (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

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 Lord's 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 (arneomaihim 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." (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

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). (Borrow The Preacher's outline & sermon Bible : New Testament, King James Version)

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

Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask - MATTHEW 10:34–36—Did Jesus come to bring peace or war?

PROBLEM: Here Jesus affirms, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” However, elsewhere He is called “the prince of peace” (Isa. 9:6) who said, “My peace I give to you” (John 14:27) and told His disciples to put away the sword, “for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). So, which are we to believe? Did Jesus come to bring peace or the sword?

SOLUTION: We must distinguish between the purpose of Christ’s coming to earth and the result of it. His design was to bring peace—peace with God for unbelievers (Rom. 5:1) and eventually, the peace of God for believers (Phil. 4:7). However, the immediate consequence of Christ’s coming was to divide those who were for Him and those who were against Him—the children of God from the children of this world. But, just as the goal of an amputation is to relieve pain, so the immediate effect is to inflict pain. Likewise, Christ’s ultimate mission is to bring peace, both to the human heart and to earth. Nonetheless, the immediate effect of His message was to divide those in the kingdom of God from those in the kingdom of Satan. (Borrow When critics ask : a popular handbook on Bible difficulties

Spurgeon - “I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword.”  —Matthew 10:34

The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal himself to him more graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up his cross, know ye not what your Master said? “I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, he brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities. Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the truth’s sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master’s steps, for he has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment.

Walter Kaiser - Matthew 10:34  Not Peace but a Sword? go to page 341 in Hard Sayings

This is a hard saying for all who recall the message of the angels on the night of Jesus’ birth: “Glory to God in high heaven, and peace on earth among human beings, the objects of God’s favor” (as the message seems to mean). True, the angels’ message appears only in Luke (Lk 2:14) and the hard saying comes from Matthew. But Luke records the same hard saying, except that he replaces the metaphorical “sword” by the nonmetaphorical “division” (Lk 12:51). Both Evangelists then go on to report Jesus as saying, “For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’” (Mt 10:35; Lk 12:53), while Matthew rounds the saying off with a quotation from the Old Testament: “a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (Mic 7:6).

One thing is certain: Jesus did not advocate conflict. He taught his followers to offer no resistance or retaliation when they were attacked or ill-treated. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” he said, “for they will be called sons of God” (Mt 5:9), meaning that God is the God of peace, so that those who seek peace and pursue it reflect his character. When he paid his last visit to Jerusalem, the message which he brought it concerned “what would bring you peace,” and he wept because the city refused his message and was bent on a course that was bound to lead to destruction (Lk 19:41–44). The message that his followers proclaimed in his name after his departure was called the “gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) or the “message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19 RSV). It was called this not merely as a matter of doctrine but as a fact of experience. Individuals and groups formerly estranged from one another found themselves reconciled through their common devotion to Christ. Something of this sort must have been experienced even earlier, in the course of the Galilean ministry: if Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector were able to live together as two of the twelve apostles, the rest of the company must have looked on this as a miracle of grace.

But when Jesus spoke of tension and conflict within a family, he probably spoke from personal experience. There are indications in the gospel story that some members of his own family had no sympathy with his ministry; the people who on one occasion tried to restrain him by force because people were saying, “He is out of his mind” are called “his friends” in the KJV but more accurately “his family” in the NIV (Mk 3:21). “Even his own brothers did not believe in him,” we are told in John 7:5. (If it is asked why, in that case, they attained positions of leadership alongside the apostles in the early church, the answer is no doubt to be found in the statement of 1 Cor 15:7 that Jesus, risen from the dead, appeared to his brother James.)

So, when Jesus said that he had come to bring “not peace but a sword” he meant that this would be the effect of his coming, not that it was the purpose of his coming. His words came true in the life of the early church, and they have verified themselves subsequently in the history of Christian missions. Where one or two members of a family or other social group have accepted the Christian faith, this has repeatedly provoked opposition from other members. Paul, who seems to have experienced such opposition in his own family circle as a result of his conversion, makes provision for similar situations in the family life of his converts. He knew that tension could arise when a husband or a wife became a Christian and the other spouse remained a pagan. If the pagan spouse was happy to go on living with the Christian, that was fine; the whole family might become Christian before long. But if the pagan partner insisted on walking out and terminating the marriage, the Christian should not use force or legal action, because “God has called us to peace” (1 Cor 7:12–16 RSV).

In these words, then, Jesus was warning his followers that their allegiance to him might cause conflict at home and even expulsion from the family circle. It was well that they should be forewarned, for then they could not say, “We never expected that we should have to pay this price for following him!”

Henry Blackaby - The experience : a devotional and journal : day by day with God Enemies at Home

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his
own household.’

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:34–37

It’s one thing when strangers, or even friends, challenge our faith. But when our own family opposes us, that cuts deep. Would Jesus really ask us to oppose our parents’ wishes when we’ve been commanded to honor our father and our mother? Aren’t we to be peacemakers? Sometimes the biggest obstacle between us and obedience is not the demons out there; it’s the resistance we face in our own homes. That’s an obstacle that some of us aren’t willing to face. It’s not worth it to us because it’s too painful. Jesus doesn’t ask us to stop loving our families or to treat them with disrespect. He does insist that our first loyalty be to God.

Non-Christian family members won’t understand your choice to follow Christ. They may consider you a fanatic or, at best, tolerate your decision because they think you’re just going through a phase. They may even see your loyalty to Christ as a rejection of them. It’s critical to continue loving your family, but Jesus said that if you are to be worthy of him you must make the hard choice: God first, family second. When your family asks you to put them before God, they are, in a sense, your enemy. Even Christian family members can come between you and God. For example, if you’re called to missions, your family may dissuade you because they want you nearby or because they fear what you will face “over there.” If your family is asking you to disobey God, ask God for the strength you need to put him first.

Oswald Chambers - What to concentrate on

I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.

Never be sympathetic with the soul whose case makes you come to the conclusion that God is hard. God is more tender than we can conceive, and every now and again He gives us the chance of being the rugged one that He may be the tender One. If a man cannot get through to God it is because there is a secret thing he does not intend to give up—‘I will admit I have done wrong, but I no more intend to give up that thing than fly.’ It is impossible to deal sympathetically with a case like that: we have to get right deep down to the root until there is antagonism and resentment against the message. People want the blessing of God, but they will not stand the thing that goes straight to the quick.

If God has had His way with you, your message as His servant is merciless insistence on the one line, cut down to the very root, otherwise there will be no healing. Drive home the message until there is no possible refuge from its application. Begin to get at people where they are until you get them to realize what they lack, and then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for their lives—‘We never can be that!’ Then drive it home: ‘Jesus Christ says you must.’ ‘But how can we be?’ ‘You cannot, unless you have a new Spirit’ (Luke 11:13).

There must be a sense of need before your message is of any use. Thousands of people are happy without God in this world. If I was happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He come? Because that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself


“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace” (Luke 2:14). “I came not to send peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34).

How glaringly contradictory do these statements seem to be! The first agrees with all our ideas of the purpose of His coming, and harmonises admirably with many other Scriptures; whilst the second is exactly the opposite. Some might be inclined to ask: Which is correct? Which have I to accept?

Which have we to accept? Why, both, for the two are correct, though they do seem to differ entirely. This view may seem illogical, but life proves many a proposition true that logic would readily demonstrate as false.

The first tells of His purpose in coming; the second the actual result of that coming. This phraseology is peculiar to the Bible where, sometimes, a person is declared to do only that which he permits.

This does not mean that our Lord’s purposes have been finally thwarted, that He came to bestow peace, but lo! His purposes are not, and will not be realised. What He has set out to do will assuredly be accomplished sooner or later.

But is there not another view of this matter—in order to establish peace, or in establishing peace, the sword of the Spirit is required? There are two pictures of our Lord Jesus in the Bible. The most familiar one is that of the Lord bearing the Olive Branch. He came to make peace by the Blood of His Cross, and to preach peace.

But there is another picture, and one not so well known, that of the Lord with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua saw the Lord, “over against him with His sword drawn in His hand” (Joshua 5:13). Christ as the Man of War.

In Revelation 1:16, John saw the Lord, when “out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword,” teaching the mighty power of His Word. The Saviour we have to deal with is tender and compassionate. Yet One who can slay by a word.

I. Before Christ can establish His Peace in my heart He has to unsheath His Sword—In other words, before I can know Him as Peace Bringer, I must know Him as Peace Breaker. The unsaved soul is, by nature, wrapped up in a deep, deep peace, the peace of spiritual slumber and of death. A peace that is the herald of the awful storm of Judgment. A sleep from which there is no awakening if left to ourselves. He comes to disturb that false and awful peace.

Arctic explorers speak of the soul-subduing silences of the Arctic region. A strange peace reigns supreme. No life, nothing but a dreary chilling desolation. Everything is wrapped in the cold embrace of winter. Before the beautiful and refreshing peace of Spring time can visit that region there must be a great disturbance. The sun shines with its gladdening rays of warmth, the great ice field melts, and the result—an awful tearing and grinding, shrieking and rending, with explosions as of dynamite. So when the Sun of Righteousness shines upon souls wrapped up in the cold embrace of spiritual death, there is a disturbance, a breaking up of the stillness of spiritual death. To change the metaphor, the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God begins its cutting and thrusting. But after conviction comes conversion, after repentance comes peace through the Blood of His Cross.

II. The establishment of His Peace in the individual soul often means the unsheathing of the sword of persecution at home, in workshop, or elsewhere. Of the truth of this every Christian can fully vouch. Here is a worldly home, wrapped in carnal peace. One member of the family is converted. At once family peace departs, and persecution enters. The fact of the presence of Christ in that one life becomes a disturbance, making all uncomfortable. We have sometimes wondered why a veil was drawn over our Lord’s life at Nazareth. Perhaps it is a mercy that it was so. Was our Lord here speaking from personal experience? Was there strife and contention because of the presence of that PURE ONE? There are several significant facts in the New Testament.
His kinsmen thought Him mad (Mark 3:21). Even His mother and brethren shared the same view. And in John 7:5 we are informed His brethren did not believe Him.

But thank God, He gives peace to the persecuted ones.

III. It is also true to say that every saved soul is sent forth with a sword to make war upon the hosts of sin.
Christ not only puts peace in my heart, but a sword in my hand. The note of warfare rings right through the New Testament Epistles. There are hosts of sin and wickedness to be attacked, and the Word of God is the weapon He puts into our hands. There is a call for volunteers. Who will step out on the Lord’s side!

IV. Peace of God—A Peace within. This peace baffles all description. It surpasses all thought. It is that holy calm which rests in God alone, and which He is willing to communicate to us.

There are three steps to its enjoyment.
1. It becomes mine when I realise my standing in Christ, when I discovered I have peace with God on the ground of the shed blood of Christ.
2. It deepens and increases as I grow in grace. It is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), comes to us by the aid of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17), and is the result of a deepened knowledge of God (2 Peter 1:2), and of increased spirituality (Rom. 8:6).
3. It follows the cultivation of the prayer-habit, as Phil. 4:7 clearly shows.


  • 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: 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+). (See Mark Commentary)

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. (See Life Application Bible 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:

A W Tozer - his cross…is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:38

Many of the great evangelists who have touched the world for God, including such men as Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney, have declared that the church is being betrayed by those who insist on Christianity being made “too easy.”

Jesus laid down the terms of Christian discipleship, and there are some among us who criticize: “Those words of Jesus sound harsh and cruel.”

This is where we stand: Receiving Jesus Christ into your life means that you have made an attachment to the Person of Christ that is revolutionary, in that it reverses the life and transforms it completely! It is complete in that it leaves no part of the life unaffected. It exempts no area of the life of the total man.

By faith and through grace, you have now formed an exclusive relationship with your Savior, Jesus Christ. All of your other relationships are now conditioned and determined by your one relationship to your Savior.

To receive Jesus Christ, then, is to attach ourselves in faith to His holy person, to live or die, forever! He must be first and last and all!

Losing To Gain

He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. —2 Corinthians 9:6

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

On my father’s farm were certain fields he sowed by hand. He would strap on a canvas contraption that looked somewhat like a kangaroo pouch, fill it with seed, and go out to sow. He would cast seed everywhere.

When a farmer sows seed in his field, it looks like he’s throwing it away. It seems to be lost, but it isn’t really gone. In due time he gets it back—with much more besides.

When we give ourselves to Christ, it may seem to people as if we’re throwing our life away. But He said that it is only as we lose our lives in Him that we find true life (Matthew 10:39).

Jesus teaches us to measure our lives by losses rather than gains, by sacrifices rather than self-preservation, by time spent for others rather than time lavished upon ourselves, by love poured out rather than love poured in.

It’s a rule of life: God blesses those who give of their lives and resources (2 Corinthians 9:6). Give out the truth you know, and He’ll give you more to give away. Give your time, and you’ll have more time to give. Set no limit on your love, and you’ll have more love for others than before.

Israel’s wise man said, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more” (Proverbs 11:24). It’s one of the oldest paradoxes in the world, but it works.By: David H. Roper (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

We lose what on ourselves we spend;
We have as treasure without end
Whatever, Lord, to You we lend,
Who givest all. 

When you grasp, you lose; when you give to God, you gain.

Henry Blackaby - The experience : a devotional and journal : day by day with God The Cross

“And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38

When you see a cross, what image does it bring to mind? Christians often wear crosses as jewelry or on the bumper of their car as a sign of loyalty to Christ. For you it’s probably a welcome sight because it stands for your resurrected Lord. It’s a victory symbol.

When Jesus referred to a cross, his disciples likely had a different mental picture. No one had to tell them what a cross meant; they’d seen plenty of crosses. In their day, the cross was a torture device. Condemned criminals had to carry their own crosses to their place of execution. It was a grim sight. To the condemned person, the cross was the ultimate humiliation. It meant his life was no longer his own. Any future plans were now irrelevant because the cross he carried would soon end his life.

Today the cross is both a victory symbol and a sign of what Christ requires of us. When he says to take up our cross, he means we are to turn our lives completely over to him. Our own plans are no longer important; it’s what Jesus has planned for us that matters. If we are unwilling to go where he wants us to go and to do what he asks us to do, Jesus says we’re not worthy to be his followers.

If you have your future all figured out, you need to check with Jesus. Ask him what his plans are, and begin following him today. Trust that his way is the best way.

 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.

Taking The Cross

He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. —Matthew 10:38

Today's Scripture:Matthew 10:1-7, 24-39

The cross. We see it today as the rough, wooden instrument of death for Jesus Christ.

But before His followers had even a faint idea that Jesus would die that way, He spoke of the cross. As He stood near the Sea of Galilee preparing the disciples to reach “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt. 10:6), Jesus told them, “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (v.38).

The men didn’t associate the cross with Jesus’ approaching death, but they knew what a cross signified. Crucifixions were a common method of execution. The disciples had a vivid picture of the agony, punishment, and misery that a cross represented. Taking a cross meant walking life’s toughest road.

So why was Jesus promoting cross-bearing? Because He wanted disciples who were willing to face the difficulties it would take to serve His cause. Soon Jesus would be killed, and His followers would have to carry on His message alone. To stand against the forces that would seek to quiet the gospel would take total commitment.

That’s still our challenge today. Are we willing to take the cross and serve Christ in self-denial? The task is great—but it is eternally rewarding.By: Dave Branon (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Am I a soldier of the cross?
A follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause
Or blush to speak His name?

After all that Christ has done for us, how can we do less than give Him our best?

Spurgeon's Sermon Notes -   Matthew 10:38—“He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

Before his crucifixion, our Lord has a foresight of it, and does not hesitate to realize himself as bearing his cross.
With equal prescience he foresees each true disciple receiving and taking up his own personal cross. He sees none exempted.
Picture to the mind’s eye a procession led by the cross-bearing Jesus, and made up of his cross-bearing train. This is not a pageant, but a real march of suffering. It reaches through all time.
The chief requirement of a disciple is to follow Jesus in all things, in cross-bearing as in all else.
Cross-bearing is trying, laborious, sorrowful, humiliating.
Cross-bearing is inevitable to the follower of Jesus. We are bound to take up our cross or give up all idea of being Christians.
Let us obediently enquire—

  I.      WHAT IS MY PECULIAR CROSS? “He that taketh not his cross.”
            1.      It may be the giving up of certain pleasures or indulgences.
            2.      It may be the endurance of reproach and unkindness, or remaining in poverty and obscurity for the good of others.
            3.      It may be the suffering of losses and persecutions, for Christ’s sake.
            4.      It certainly means the consecrating of all to Jesus: the bowing of my whole self beneath the blessed burden of service with which he honours me.
            5.      It also includes the endurance of my heavenly Father’s will with patience, acquiescence, and thanksgiving.
My cross is well, wisely, kindly, and surely chosen for me by my Lord.
It is only meet that I should be made like my Lord in bearing it.

  II.      WHAT AM I TO DO WITH IT? “Taketh … followeth after me.”
            1.      I am deliberately to take it up.
         Not to choose a cross, or pine after another form of trial.
         Not to make a cross, by petulance and obstinacy.
         Not to murmur at the cross appointed me.
         Not to despise it, by callous stoicism, or wilful neglect of duty.
         Not to faint under it, fall beneath it, or run from it.
            2.      I am boldly to face it. It is only a wooden cross after all.
            3.      I am patiently to endure it, for I have only to carry it a little way.
            4.      I am cheerfully to resign myself to it, for my Lord appoints it.
            5.      I am obediently to follow Christ with it. What an honour and a comfort to be treading in his steps! This is the essential point.
It is not enough to bear a cross, we must bear it after Jesus.

I ought to be thankful that I have only to bear it, and that it does not bear me. It is a royal burden, a sanctified burden, a sanctifying burden, a burden which gives communion with Christ.

            1.      Necessity: I cannot be a disciple without cross-bearing.
            2.      Society: better men than I have carried it.
            3.      Love: Jesus bore a far heavier cross than mine.
            4.      Faith: grace will be given equal to the weight of the cross.
            5.      Hope: good to myself will result from my bearing this load.
            6.      Zeal: Jesus will be honoured by my patient endurance.
            7.      Experience: I shall yet find pleasure in it, for it will produce in me much blessing. The cross is a fruitful tree.
            8.      Expectation: glory will be the reward of it. No cross, no crown.

Let not the ungodly fancy that theirs is a better lot: the Psalmist says, “many sorrows shall be to the wicked.”
Let not the righteous dread the cross, for it will not crush them: it may be painted with iron colours by our fears, but it is not made of that heavy metal; we can bear it, and we will bear it right joyously.


When Alexander the Great marched through Persia, his way was stopped with ice and snow, insomuch that his soldiers, being tired out with hard marches, were discouraged, and would have gone no further, which he perceiving, dismounted his horse, and went on foot through the midst of them all, making himself a way with a pickaxe; whereat they all being ashamed, first his friends, then the captains of his army, and, last of all, the common soldiers, followed him. So should all men follow Christ their Saviour, by that rough and unpleasant way of the cross that he hath traversed before them. He having drunk unto them in the cup of his passion, they are to pledge him when occasion is offered; he having left them an example of his suffering, they are to follow him in the selfsame steps of sorrow.—John Spencer.

The cross is easier to him who takes it up than to him who drags it along.—J. E. Vaux.

We are bid to take, not to make our cross. God in his providence will provide one for us. And we are bid to take it up; we hear nothing of laying it down. Our troubles and our lives live and die together.
W. Gurnall.

      Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
         And all the church go free?
      No, there’s a cross for every one,
         And there’s a cross for me.

“No man,” said Flavel, “hath a velvet cross.”

As an old Yorkshire working-man, a friend of mine, said, “Ah! it is blessed work cross-bearing when it’s tied on with love.”—Newman Hall.

Welcome the cross of Christ, and bear it triumphantly; but see that it be indeed Christ’s cross, and not thine own.—Wilcox.

Christ’s cross is the sweetest burden that ever I bore; it is such a burden as wings are to a bird, or sails to a ship, to carry me forward to my harbour.—Samuel Rutherford.

Whatever the path is, Christ is there, and to be with him is joy enough for any creature, whether man or angel. He does not send us to walk in a dreary, desolate road. He does not say, “Go ye,” pointing to a lonely way in which he is not to be found; he says, “Come after me,” so that we need not take a single step where his footprints cannot be seen, and where his presence may not still be found. If the sharp flints cut our feet, they have wounded his before. If the darkness gathers thickly here and there, it was a denser gloom that surrounded him. If ofttimes we must stand and fight, it was through fiercer conflicts that he passed. If the cross is heavy to our shoulder, it is light when compared with the one he bore. “Christ leads me,” said Baxter, “through no darker room than he went through before.” If the road were a thousand times rougher than it is, it would be well worth while to walk in it for the sake of walking with Christ there. Following Jesus means fellowship with Jesus, and the joy of that fellowship cannot be told.—P.

Amazing Grace -  August 30 I SURRENDER ALL Judson W. Van De Venter, 1855–1939 - Borrow Amazing grace

 Anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:38, 39)

The Bible teaches us that brokenness is a prerequisite to blessing and usefulness. No one ever achieves spiritual greatness until he has fully surrendered himself to God. Victorious living comes only as we abandon ourselves to the Lordship of Christ, becoming His loving bond slave. God’s best for our lives is not the result of struggle. Rather, it is simply the acceptance of His perfect will and the recognition of His authority in every area of our lives.

  Higher than the highest heaven,
  Deeper than the deepest sea,
  Lord, Thy love at last hath conquered:
  Grant me now my supplication,
  None of self and all of Thee.

Judson Van De Venter wrote this text after surrendering his many talents to his all-wise Savior:

For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life, I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, He caused me to sing.

After making his decision to devote his life to Christian service, Van De Venter ministered with much blessing in extensive evangelistic work both at home and abroad. Billy Graham is one of many who claim that Judson Van De Venter had greatly influenced their lives and ministry.

  All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I free give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.
  All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at His feet I bow; worldly pleasures all forsaken, take me, Jesus, take me now.
  All to Jesus I surrender, make me, Savior, wholly Thine; let me feel the Holy Spirit—truly know that Thou art mine.
  All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; fill me with Thy love and power; let Thy blessings fall on me.
  Chorus: I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

        For Today: Romans 6:8–14; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; Ephesians 3:16, 17
If you have lost the enthusiasm for Christ that you once had, make a fresh surrender to His will and Lordship. Sing as you go— (BORROW Amazing grace

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." (See Matthew Commentary)

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). (BORROW The MacArthur Study Bible)

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)

Oswald Chambers in He Shall Glorify Me - Losing Ourselves

    He that findeth his life [soul] shall lose it: and he that loseth his life [soul] for My sake shall find it. Matthew 10:39††

“We are what we are interested in.”

“Soul” refers to the way a personal spirit reasons and thinks in a human body. We talk about a man exhibiting “soul” in singing or in painting, that is, he is expressing his personal spirit. “If you are going to be My disciple,” says Jesus, “you must lose your soul, i.e., your way of reasoning, and acquire another way.” When the Holy Spirit energises my spirit, my way of reasoning begins to alter, and Jesus says unless I am prepared for that, I cannot be His disciple. It takes a long time to acquire a new way of reasoning, the majority of us who are inclined to be earnest Christian people simply deal with the fact of spiritual experience without any spiritual reasoning. We have to acquire the new soul with patience (Luke 21:19).

1. The Undiscovered Territory of Conscious Realisation

    He that findeth his life . . .††

There is nothing more highly esteemed among men than self-realisation, but Jesus says that “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” We are apt to have the notion that all Jesus Christ came to do was to deliver morally corrupt people from their corruption. A man is largely responsible for the corruption of his actual life; Jesus Christ does not deal with my morality or immorality, but with “my right to myself.” Whenever our Lord talked about discipleship He always said “IF”— “If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself,”†† not deny himself things as an athlete does, but “let him give up his right to himself to Me.” If I am going to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Master I must realise what I have to forgo, viz., the best thing I know, my right to myself. It is easy to say, “Yes, I am delighted to be saved from hell and put right for heaven, but I don’t intend to give up my right to myself.” Apart from Jesus Christ, conscious self-realisation is the great thing—the desire to develop myself. My natural self may be noble, but it is a moral earthquake to realise that if I pursue the conscious realisation of myself it must end in losing my ideal of life. It is a tremendous revelation when I realise that self-realisation is the very spirit of antichrist. Self-realisation is possible in the spiritual domain as well as the natural. Much of the “Higher Spiritual Life”* teaching is simply self-realisation veneered over with Christian terms. For a man to be set on his own salvation, on his own whiteness, to want to be “the one taken,”† is not Christian. The great characteristic of our Lord’s life is not self-realisation, but the realisation of God’s purposes.

Self-realisation may keep a man full of rectitude, but it is rectitude built on a basis that ultimately spells ruin, because man is not a promise of what he is going to be, but a magnificent ruin of what human nature once was. If we go on the line of conscious self-realisation, there will be an aftermath of bitterness.

2. The Untraceable Troubles of Consecrated Renunciation

    shall lose it: and he that loseth his life . . .††

In certain stages of spiritual life God is dealing with us on the death side and we get the morbid conception that everything we have, we must give up—“the everlasting ‘No.’” In the Bible the meaning of sacrifice is the deliberate giving of the best I have to God that He may make it His and mine for ever: if I cling to it I lose it, and so does God. We come to our renunciations in the same way that Abraham came to his. God told Abraham to offer up Isaac for a burnt offering, and Abraham interpreted it to mean that he was to kill his son; but on Mount Moriah Abraham lost a wrong tradition about God and got a right insight as to what a burnt offering meant, viz., a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2†). It looks as if we had to give up everything, lose all we have, and instead of Christianity bringing joy and simplicity, it makes us miserable; until suddenly we realise what God’s aim is, viz., that we have to take part in our own moral development, and we do this through the sacrifice of the natural to the spiritual by obedience, not denying the natural, but sacrificing it.

Christianity is a personal relationship to Jesus Christ made efficacious by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We take Christianity to be adherence to principles. Conscience is not peculiarly a Christian thing, it is a natural asset, it is the faculty in a man that fits on to the highest he knows. Our convictions and conscientious relationships have continually to be enlarged, and that is where the discipline of spiritual life comes in. A man who is on the grousing line has no brightness or joy, no time for other people, he is taken up with the diseases of his own mind.

3. The Unhindered Triumphs of Christ-Realisation

     . . . for My sake shall find it.††

The characteristic of Christianity is abandon, not consciously setting myself on my own whiteness; the one thing that matters is, is Jesus Christ getting His way? The Christianity of the New Testament is not individual, it is personal, we are merged into God without losing our identity—“that they may be one, even as We are one.” Individuality is the husk of the personal life, it cannot merge; personality always merges.

Am I prepared to lose my soul, lose the miserable self-introspection as to whether I am of any use? I am never of any use so long as I try to be. If I am rightly related to Jesus Christ, He says, Out of you “shall flow rivers of living water.” The people who tell are those who don’t know they are telling, not the priggish people who worship work.

Am I prepared to go through death to my right to myself, to have “a white funeral” * and abandon myself to Jesus Christ—“for My sake”†††††††? If I am, I shall find my soul. The Holy Spirit coming into my personal spirit manifests itself in my soul, in the way I reason, consequently all my previous calculations are upset and I begin to see things differently. In the initial stages of discipleship you get “stormy weather,” then you lose the nightmare of your own separate individuality and become part of the Personality of Christ, and the thought of yourself never bothers you any more because you are taken up with your relationship to God.

June 24, 1917, Zeitoun,* Sunday Morning Service & Devotional Hut

Losing to Find

Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:37–42

When I married my English fiancé and moved to the United Kingdom, I thought it would be a five-year adventure in a foreign land. I never dreamed I’d still be living here nearly twenty years later, or that at times I’d feel like I was losing my life as I said goodbye to family and friends, work, and all that was familiar. But in losing my old way of life, I’ve found a better one.

The upside-down gift of finding life when we lose it is what Jesus promised to His apostles. When He sent out the twelve disciples to share His good news, He asked them to love Him more than their mothers or fathers, sons or daughters (Matt. 10:37). His words came in a culture where families were the cornerstone of the society and highly valued. But He promised that if they would lose their life for His sake, they would find it (v. 39).

We don’t have to move abroad to find ourselves in Christ. Through service and commitment—such as the disciples going out to share the good news of the kingdom of God—we find ourselves receiving more than we give through the lavish love the Lord showers on us. Of course He loves us no matter how much we serve, but we find contentment, meaning, and fulfillment when we pour ourselves out for the well-being of others. By:  Amy Boucher Pye (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Isaac Watts

Every loss leaves a space that can be filled with God’s presence.


Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:35–42

In the midday heat of summer, while traveling in the American South, my wife and I stopped for ice cream. On the wall behind the counter we saw a sign reading, “Absolutely No Snowmobiling.” The humor worked because it was so unexpected.

Sometimes saying the unexpected has the most effect. Think of this in regard to a statement by Jesus: “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39). In a kingdom where the King is a servant (Mark 10:45), losing your life becomes the only way to find it. This is a startling message to a world focused on self-promotion and self-protection.

In practical terms, how can we “lose our life”? The answer is summed up in the word sacrifice. When we sacrifice, we put into practice Jesus’s way of living. Instead of grasping for our own wants and needs, we esteem the needs and well-being of others.

Jesus not only taught about sacrifice but He also lived it by giving Himself for us. His death on the cross became the ultimate expression of the heart of the King who lived up to His own words: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). By:  Bill Crowder (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Loving Father, teach me the heart of Christ, that I might more fully appreciate the sacrifice He has made for me and be willing to sacrifice myself for others.

Nothing is really lost by a life of sacrifice.  Henry Liddon

Win By Losing

He who loses his life for My sake will find it. — Matthew 10:39

Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Have you ever played dominoes? In my boyhood days it was a favorite indoor pastime. Some time ago while visiting a family, I saw a young boy and his grandfather playing the game. A flood of memories surged over me as I remembered my own boyhood days.

The unusual thing about dominoes is that you win by losing. To win, you must lose your blocks. Whoever gets rid of all his dominoes first wins the game. You must give to get—lose to gain—be reduced to nothing to get to the top. It is not like baseball or tennis or other games where the highest number of runs, points, or scores determines the winner. No! With dominoes it is the one who can reach nothing first who succeeds.

The rule of the natural man is: “Get all you can.” The rule of the spiritual man should be: “Give all you can.” In the spiritual realm, only that which we give away will we keep forever. In the Christian life, we must be reduced to nothing before we become something. Seed kept in the granary will mold and decay, but “thrown away” into the ground it increases 30-, 60-, and 100-fold. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone” (John 12:24).

Remember, Jesus gave His all. He is our example.   By:  M.R. DeHaan (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Lord, shape my life as only You can,
Guiding each day by Your loving plan;
Take what You need and give what You will,
My life is Yours to use and to fill. 

Life is like a game of tennis—you can't win without serving well.

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.

Henry Blackaby - The experience : a devotional and journal : day by day with God Receiving Jesus

“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.” Matthew 10:40
Why does it matter how Christians behave? Aren’t we being phony when we try to act perfect all the time? Aren’t we trying to fool others into thinking Christians are perfect? There is a good reason for Christians to act with integrity. It’s because of who we represent.

There are people who will never know what Christ is like unless they see Christ in you. If you are a Christian, you take Christ with you everywhere you go. When you are at school or at work, Christ is with you. Whether you are out with your friends or speaking to a stranger, Christ is with you. Whenever people meet you, they also meet Christ. How tragic for a non-Christian to see Christ in you and be unimpressed! If you don’t represent Christ to others in a way that honors his name, some people might never know what he is really like.

That’s why it’s so important that you always represent Christ as he is. Others will be attracted to Christ when your life shows that he is loving, forgiving, patient, and kind. The only way some people will ever believe God is forgiving is when they experience Christ’s love as you forgive them. There are many people around you who need to receive Jesus, and you’re the one who can introduce them to him. Have people been impressed with the Christ they have seen in you?

A Friend of God’s Friends

Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Matthew 10:40

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:1–11, 40–42

Something so cordial can happen in first introductions when two persons discover that they have a friend in common. In what may be its most memorable form, a big-hearted host welcomes a guest with something like, “So nice to meet you. Any friend of Sam’s, or Samantha’s, is a friend of mine.”   

Jesus said something similar. He’d been attracting crowds by healing many. But He’d also been making enemies of local religious leaders by disagreeing with the way they were commercializing the temple and misusing their influence. In the middle of a growing conflict, He made a move to multiply the joy, cost, and wonder of His presence. He gave His disciples the ability to heal others and sent them out to announce that the kingdom of God was at hand. He assured the disciples: “Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me” (Matthew 10:40), and, in turn, welcomes His Father who sent Him as well.

It’s hard to imagine a more life-changing offer of friendship. For anyone who would open their house, or even give a cup of cold water to one of His disciples, Jesus assured a place in the heart of God. While that moment happened a long time ago, His words remind us that in big and little acts of kindness and hospitality there are still ways of welcoming, and being welcomed, as a friend of the friends of God. By:  Mart DeHaan (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

What could you do through the Holy Spirit’s leading that might give others a chance to open their hearts to you? How could this point them to the Savior?

Father, thank You for giving us a chance to be part of the good news that has its source in You.

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!) (Borrow The Preacher's outline & sermon Bible : New Testament, King James Version)

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. (Borrow The Preacher's outline & sermon Bible : New Testament, King James Version)

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 (Mt 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 (Mt 25:34 ff.), and ever afterward all the blessings that are bestowed solely by grace, according to works (Mt 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 reward

Spurgeon - Faith's Checkbook -  Matt. 10:42.

WELL, I can do as much as that. I can do a kind act towards the Lord’s servant. The Lord knows I love them all, and would count it an honour to wash their feet. For the sake of their Master I love the disciples.

How gracious of the Lord to mention so insignificant an action—“to give to drink a cup of cold water only”! This I can do, however poor: this I may do, however lowly: this I will do right cheerfully. This, which seems so little, the Lord notices—notices when done to the least of his followers. Evidently it is not the cost, nor the skill, nor the quantity, that he looks at, but the motive: that which we do to a disciple, because he is a disciple, his Lord observes, and recompenses. He does not reward us for the merit of what we do, but according to the riches of his grace.

I give a cup of cold water, and he makes me to drink of living water. I give to one of his little ones, and he treats me as one of them. Jesus finds an apology for his liberality in that which his grace has led me to do, and he says, “He shall in no wise lose his reward.”

Moody - We are in danger of looking too far for opportunities of doing good and communicating. In reaching for rhododendrons we trample down the daisies.

Streams in the Desert -  “A cup of cold water only.” (Mt 10:42.)

WHAT am I to do? I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good work, therefore, any kindness, or any service I can render to any soul of man or animal, let me do it now. Let me not neglect or defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.—An Old Quaker Saying.

  It isn’t the thing you do, dear,
    It’s the thing you leave undone,
  Which gives you the bitter heartache
    At the setting of the sun;

  The tender word unspoken,
    The letter you did not write,
  The flower you might have sent, dear,
    Are your haunting ghosts at night.

  The stone you might have lifted
    Out of your brother’s way,
  The bit of heartsome counsel
    You were hurried too much to say;
  The loving touch of the hand, dear,
    The gentle and winsome tone,
  That you had no time or thought for,
    With troubles enough of your own.

  These little acts of kindness,
    So easily out of mind,
  These chances to be angels,
    Which even mortals find—
  They come in night and silence,
    Each chill reproachful wraith,
  When hope is faint and flagging,
    And a blight has dropped on faith.

  For life is all too short, dear.
    And sorrow is all too great,
  To suffer our slow compassion
    That tarries until too late.
  And it’s not the thing you do, dear,
    It’s the thing you leave undone,
  Which gives you the bitter heartache,
    At the setting of the sun.
—Adelaide Proctor.

Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think.—Longfellow.

Bowes - Life affords but few opportunities of doing great services for others; but there is scarcely an hour of the day that does not afford us an opportunity of performing some little, it may be unnoticed kindness.

A Good Neighbor

Whoever gives....only a cup of cold water....shall by no means lose his reward. —Matthew 10:42

Today's Scripture: Luke 10:25-37

After telling the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said that we should think of all people we meet as neighbors and do what we can to help them when they are in need.

I generally take this responsibility seriously, but sometimes I fail—as I did recently while vacationing in Arizona. In front of a fast-food restaurant, a young man asked me to help him. He and his wife were about 300 miles from home and had used up their cash to fix their car radiator. They had no checkbook or credit card.

I politely said I had no money to spare. I was being honest because 2 days earlier I had spent $200 for a water pump and was running low on funds. I did have my checkbook and a credit card, so I could have given him a little money and told him about Christ’s love for him—but I didn’t.

I try to soothe my conscience by telling myself I can’t help everybody, or that this man shouldn’t have left home with so little money, but I know I am rationalizing. We must be discerning when giving people money, but in this case I believe I missed a chance to help someone. And this bothers me.

Lord, help us every day to be alert for opportunities to be a good neighbor. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

How many lives shall I touch today?
How many neighbors will pass my way?
I can bless so many and help so much,
If I meet each one with a Christlike touch.

Acts of kindness are worth more than feelings of love.

Even a Taco

If anyone gives even a cup of cold water....that person will certainly not lose their reward. Matthew 10:42

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 10:37–42

Ashton and Austin Samuelson graduated from a Christian college with a strong desire to serve Jesus. However, neither felt called to a traditional ministry in the church. But what about ministry in the world? Absolutely. They blended their burden to end childhood hunger with their God-given entrepreneurial skills, and in 2014 launched a restaurant that serves tacos. But this isn’t just any restaurant. The Samuelsons operate from a buy-one-give-one philosophy. For every meal bought, they donate money to provide a meal specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of malnourished children. So far, they’ve made contributions in more than sixty countries. Their goal is to be a part of ending childhood hunger—one taco at a time.

Jesus’ words in Matthew 10 are not cryptic. They are astoundingly clear: devotion is evidenced by actions, not words (vv. 37–42). One of those actions is giving to the “little ones.” For the Samuelsons, that focus is giving to children. But take note, the “little ones” isn’t a phrase limited to chronological age. Christ is calling us to give to any who are of “little account” in the eyes of this world: the poor, the sick, the prisoner, the refugee, those disadvantaged in any way. And give what? Well, Jesus says “even a cup of cold water” (v. 42). If something as small and simple as a cup of cold water classifies, then a taco surely fits right in line too. By: John Blase (Click to go to the full devotional including a related picture and a link at the bottom of the page to one of their excellent devotional booklets. Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Who in your life are little in the eyes of the world? What’s something small you can do today to serve these “little ones”?

Jesus, give me eyes to see and ears to hear today, so that I can serve, even in a small way, the least of these who cross my path.