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Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament

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Matthew 10

CALLING AND COMMISSIONING OF THE TWELVE


 
Verse 1
And he called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease, and all manner of sickness.

The difference between a disciple and an apostle is a matter of authority. The disciples became apostles upon their reception of authority from the Lord.


 
Verses 2, 3
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

There are four listings of the Twelve in the New Testament, always occurring in groups of four, with positions 1, 5, and 9 always listing Peter, Philip, and James the son of Alphaeus in that order. See Mark 3:13; Luke 6:12; Acts 1:13. From this, it is conjectured that Peter, Philip, and James the son of Alphaeus were the respective leaders in each of their groups of four. The other names do not always follow a given order, but they do not occur outside the group of four. Oddly, there are two Simons, two Jameses, and two Judases. Thaddaeus was also named Judas the brother of James, or son of James, the Greek word meaning either "son" or "brother."

The twelve apostles have a rank and dignity in the kingdom of heaven beyond that of all others. The number twelve is suggestive of the twelve tribes of Israel; and just as the patriarchs were the foundation of all that came afterwards for Israel, just so the Twelve are the foundation, in one sense, for the church of our Lord (Ephesians 2:20). Even Paul confessed that he was not of the Twelve (1 Corinthians 15:5), and that he was not worthy to be accounted an apostle, because he "persecuted the church of God" (1 Corinthians 15:9). Their names, including, no doubt, that of Matthias instead of Judas, are inscribed upon the twelve foundations of the Eternal City (Revelation 21:14). They are ruling now upon twelve thrones, with Jesus Christ in his kingdom, that is, during the "times of the regeneration (or `new birth')" (Matthew 19:28). It is specifically declared that God set some in the church, "FIRST, apostles" (1 Corinthians 12:28).

These men were not princes of the blood, but fishermen, a tax collector, and followers of other ordinary occupations. They were industrious, more than ordinarily successful in business, keen of mind, sensitive of soul, honest, perceptive, and courageous. They were ambitious, hard-working men, an excellent lot indeed; but apparently they possessed no skills or talents of an extraordinary nature. They were men most remarkably like the best men of any stable community anywhere on earth, peculiarly fitted to be the chosen representatives of all mankind, and eminently qualified for the possession of that power and dignity to which the Master called and elevated them.


 
Verses 4, 5
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying, Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans.

These words prove that the commission Jesus here gave the Twelve pertained only to them and that special mission and is far different from the commission later given to the entire church (Matthew 28:18-20). Therefore, requirements Jesus made of the Twelve on that occasion should not be construed as mandatory upon God's ministers today. The church is commanded to preach to "all nations"; the apostles were not sent to Gentiles or Samaritans. This view has prevailed in the church from the very earliest times. Tertullian said, "We maintain that this belongs specially to the persons of the apostles, and to their times and circumstances." F1 The purpose of their going forth was to counteract the poisonous campaign of the Pharisees and to arouse Israel to the acknowledgment and reception of their true King.


 
Verse 6
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Conditions in Israel at that time were dark and discouraging. The leaders were notoriously corrupt. The King had appeared, but his enemies were determined to prevent his acceptance on the part of the people. And yet the people were entitled to their chance.


 
Verse 7
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The kingdom would soon be set up. Mark 9:1 reveals that Christ promised it to be done during the lives of some of the apostles; but, since both the Master and the traitor were to die before the kingdom was set up (on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ), Mark's words of record present a precisely technical accuracy: "There are SOME here, of them that stand by, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God come with power."


 
Verse 8
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely ye received, freely give.

There is no suggestion here that Judas was in any manner excluded from the power and ability conveyed by this commission, if Judas was, even at this hour, a servant of Satan, it would lend color to the charge of the Pharisees that Jesus cast out demons by the prince of demons. Of course, no such thing occurred. Therefore, this is proof that at the time of the commissioning of the Twelve, Judas was not yet fallen from his apostleship, for he did FALL (Acts 1:25).


 
Verse 9
Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses.

Considering the countless miracles of the most astounding nature that these men were then empowered to perform, this admonition partook of that wisdom from God himself. Covetousness is a sin that eventually claimed Judas, and seeds of it are in all people. If the apostles had been free to take money, they would have returned rich in silver and gold, but poor in those virtues Christ came to establish.


 
Verse 10
No wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food.

The mission of the Twelve was totally spiritual. Christ took temptations out of their way by forbidding them even to take a wallet! Barefooted, without staff, and with only one coat, they went forth as the embodiment of the Lord's premise, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

The laborer is worthy of his food
... is the Saviour's first utterance of the principle that his ministers are entitled to their support. More on this subject is found in 1 Corinthians 9:14 and 1 Timothy 5:17,18.


 
Verse 11
And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go forth.

Among the Israelites, there were many, perhaps, in that day, like aged Simeon, who were looking for "the consolation of Israel"; and it was into such homes that the apostles were to go. The prohibition on going from house to house was strongly in their best interests and would prevent their being caught up in a round of dinners, entertainment, and social activities, which, although innocent in themselves, would have seriously hampered their work. In our own times, many a gospel meeting has been hindered by the constant shuttling of the messenger from place to place, three or four times a day, to eat here, to eat there, or to visit yonder, and to be entertained.


 
Verses 12, 13
And as ye enter into the house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

Not the house, but the family were to be saluted. The Emphatic Diaglott gives the place thus, "When you enter the house, salute the family." This conveys the idea that the apostles were to pronounce a benediction or blessing upon the homes they entered, or at least to make some expression of good will on behalf of every member of the home into which they came.

No curse or malediction was to be uttered, ever. Retributions belong to God alone. Not even the Twelve were to pronounce judgments or exact or assign penalties. See more on this under Matthew 7:1.


 
Verse 14
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, as ye go forth out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet.

The Jewish rabbis taught that the dust of heathen cities defiled, and the symbolical action of shaking off the dust of the feet indicated that any person or city rejecting the apostles' words was no better than the heathen. Paul and Barnabas, on their first missionary journey, were rejected by the Jews and certain women of honorable estate, "But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium" (Acts 13:51). This shows that the custom here initiated by Jesus was continued after the church was established.


 
Verse 15
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Why were the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah less reprehensible than the sins of cities and villages that rejected the apostles? Simply because they sinned in ignorance, whereas the cities of Jesus' day sinned against the light.

The day of judgment
is an expression often used by Christ and refers to the final reckoning of all mankind before the Great White Throne. See more under Matthew 12:41.


 
Verse 16
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

The serpent was considered a symbol of wisdom among the ancients, especially the python. The maid at Philippi who followed Paul and Silas was said to have had a "spirit of divination" (Acts 16:16), but the Greek word denotes that she had a PYTHON! Genesis declares that "The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field" (Genesis 3:1). The dove as a symbol of harmlessness and innocence derived significance from Noah's use of it as a messenger in the ark. See more on the dove under Matthew 3:16.

The brutal and vicious dangers to which the apostles would be exposed were not concealed by the Lord. Their mission was dangerous and fraught with countless perils. The figure "sheep in the midst of wolves" is peculiarly apt and expressive. One wolf in a flock of sheep is a source of incredible slaughter and destruction. Ask any herdsman upon the far slopes of the Rockies how sickening is such a sight! Far worse, even than that, would be a few sheep in the "midst of wolves"!


 
Verse 17
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues will scourge you.

The mention of synagogues identifies the enemies mentioned a moment before. Opposition to Christ and his holy religion, at first, came almost exclusively from the Jews.


 
Verse 18
Yea, and before governors and kings shall ye be brought for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

This prophecy was fulfilled when the apostles were arraigned before Herod (Acts 5:18; 12:1), before the Sanhedrin, and perhaps before other authorities.


 
Verses 19, 20
But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.

This is one of the strongest statements in the New Testament of that inspiration which guided the apostles into all truth. It is surprising that this text is not more often cited in that connection. From the epistles of Cyprian comes this statement "And ought not the same texts to be more faithfully accepted in explaining the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures? Language could hardly be stronger. `It is not ye that speak'." F2 God's ministers NOW must study. Paul commanded even Timothy to study (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul himself studied diligently and placed a very high priority upon his books, "especially the parchments" (2 Timothy 4:13).


 
Verse 21
And brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father his child: and children shall rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death.

Tertullian referred this verse to others than the Twelve, writing:

He has clearly announced with reference to the others, that they would be subjected to this form of unrighteous conduct, which we do not find exemplified in the case of the apostles. For none of them had experience of a father or a brother as a betrayer, which very many of us have. F3

In spite of Tertullian's opinion, one may not set aside the possibility that such things actually did happen to the apostles. Tradition teaches that all of the Twelve were martyred; and yet the details are known in only a couple of cases; and Christ's words in the verse before us strongly support the probability, if not indeed proving, that the apostles did meet such a fate. Aside from that, Jesus' words are surely indicative of the bitter hatred that would prevail in the hearts of so many against his church; and, certainly, the beginnings of that hatred were borne by the apostles.


 
Verse 22
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end, the same shalt be saved.

The diabolical hatred that was vented against the Twelve still exists. In the Jefferson Room of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., one may see in PRAVDA and ISVESTIA caricatures and slanders of every kind against Christ and the apostles. There was a report in PRAVDA of a farmer who named his asses after the Twelve and called a sow "The Virgin Mary"!

He that endureth to the end
... This is the principal admonition in all times and places to apostles, disciples, servants, and followers of Christ. Unless one endures to the end, all is lost. On this, Cyprian wrote,

Confession is the beginning of glory, not the full desert of the crown, nor does it perfect our praise, but it initiates our dignity. ... But after confession, his peril is greater because the adversary is more provoked. ... For this cause, he ought the more to stand on the side of the Lord's gospel. F4

Other Scriptures enjoining endurance and continuity to the end are: Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Revelation 3:11, etc.


 
Verse 23
But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

Origen in quoting this passage wrote:

Jesus, in teaching his disciples not to be guilty of rashness, gave them (this) precept. He added the example of a consistent life, acting so as not to expose himself to danger, rashly, or unreasonably, or without good grounds. F5

Likewise, Clement of Alexandria said:

He also who presents himself before the judgment seat becomes guilty of his (own) death. And such is also the case with him who does not avoid persecution, but, out of daring, presents himself for capture. F6

It is plain that Christ desired that his disciples should avoid bringing against themselves any persecutions due to unwise, rash, or improper conduct; and they were cautioned to avoid animosities by flight whenever possible.

The words "till the Son of man come" do not refer to the final judgment but to the coming of Christ in his kingdom.


 
Verse 24
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord.

Christ's followers shall receive the same type of opposition, hatred, and persecution that he received. The same expression is also used in John 15:20. Christ also used it to mean that the disciples of the Pharisees were as blind as their leaders (Luke 6:40) and that, as Christ humbly washed the feet of others, so should his disciples (John 13:16). Tertullian used the words of the verse to teach that no disciple may advocate a doctrine contrary to Christ's teaching, saying, "If Marcion be even a disciple, he is not yet `above his master'." F7


 
Verse 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?

On this place, Adam Clarke pointedly wrote,

Can any man who pretends to be a scholar or disciple of Jesus Christ expect to be treated well by the world? Will not the world love its own? and them only? Why then so much impatience under suffering, such an excessive sense of injuries, such delicacy? Can you expect anything from the world better than you receive? F8

Beelzebub
is actually "Beelzebul" in the Greek (English Revised Version (1885) margin); and Clarke details the meaning thus, "Baal," the old god of the Canaanites, was coupled with "zebul" which means "dunghill"! By this, they called the old god of their ancient enemies "the dunghill god"! Their unqualified hatred of Christ is seen in their employment of this vile word as a name for him.


 
Verse 26
Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

This meant that the persecution and opposition of the Pharisees would not succeed in hiding the truth but would result in its being published. Persecution actually provided then, as always, the following benefits for the thing, doctrine, or person persecuted: (1) it intensifies the zeal of the persecuted party; (2) arouses sympathy for the underdog; (3) if intense enough, multiplies centers of dissemination for the hated truth. All these results were clearly observable in the history of the early church.


 
Verse 27
What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light; and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

The mystery which had been kept in silence through times eternal (Romans 16:25) was at that time, by the apostles, to be made known unto all people. God's great secret of redemption was about to be published! Clement of Alexandria construed the words as "Bidding them receive the secret traditions of the true knowledge and expound them aloft conspicuously." F9


 
Verse 28
And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Tertullian wrote of this:

Here we have a recognition of the natural immortality of the soul, which cannot be killed by men; and of the mortality of the body which may be killed: whence we learn that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of the flesh; for, unless it were raised again, it would be impossible for the flesh to be "killed in hell." F10

The question of hell, that is, "Gehenna," will be examined more fully under Matthew 25:41, which see. Suffice it here to note that Gehenna, or the Valley of Hinnon, was used by Christ as a metaphor to describe the place of eternal punishment of the wicked. Whatever metaphor was employed, Christ left no doubt of the reality and dreadful nature of that punishment.


 
Verse 29
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father.

See more on God's providence under Matthew 6:25-30. The proof that God does actually watch over the tiniest citizens in his universe is seen in the fact that the sparrows one sees now are the descendants of sparrows which have lived upon earth for uncounted thousands of years.


 
Verses 30, 31
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

The message of this passage is simply that of God's providential care for his children. Reference to numbering the hairs of the head suggests the infinite detail and solicitude of that loving care lavished by the Father upon his human creation. Some of the ancients made deductions from this passage which appear quite astonishing to Christians today.

For example, Clement of Alexandria came up with this:

It is therefore impious to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness. But the embellishment of smoothing (I am warned by the Word), if it is to attract men is the act of an effeminate person, ... if to attract women, is the act of an adulterer; and both must be driven as far as possible from our society. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered," says the Lord; and those on the chin too are numbered, and those on the whole body. There must, therefore, be no plucking out, contrary to God's appointment, which has counted them in according to his will. F11

This view still prevails among some religious groups; but their error, if it is an error, is due to pressing more than was intended, certainly more than was said, into an utterance of our Lord which is equally revered by all believers.


 
Verse 32
Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven.

The notable promise, made here for the first time by Christ, is that he will confess those who confess him. The usual limitation on these words is that if one confesses Christ AND REMAINS FAITHFUL UNTIL DEATH then, in the judgment, Christ will confess him! However, there is the strongest indication that something much more immediate is meant. True, Jesus did not say WHEN he would confess those who confess him; but he gave an example of it the very first time a man confessed him. THAT is in the case of the apostle Peter (Matthew 16:17,18) whom Jesus confessed then and there. From this it would appear that when any person confesses Christ and is buried with him in baptism (the two actions being considered together in such passages as Ephesians 5:26; 5:26 (Goodspeed's )), Christ confesses those who have been born again in the presence of God and the angels. It is possible that such is precisely the occasion when the redeemed have their names written in the "Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 20:15; 21:27). Inscriptions in the book of life do not wait upon the judgment, nor even upon the death or proved fidelity of the persons thus honored; but their names are written there while they still live and work on earth (Philippians 4:3).

Confession of faith in Jesus Christ as God's only begotten Son is a basic requirement of the Christian religion (Romans 10:10). Paul called it "the good confession" twice in a single utterance (1 Timothy 6:12,13); and the following reasons may be cited for calling it the "good" confession: (1) Jesus made it under oath and was condemned to death for doing so (John 19:7; Mark 14:62); (2) God made it from heaven on three different occasions (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; John 12:2:8); (3) all people must make it eventually (Philippians 2:11); (4) it is "unto salvation" (Romans 10:10), being made thereby a part of the plan of salvation; (5) Christ will confess those who make it (Matthew 10:32); (6) it has been made by the saints of all ages; and (7) it constitutes, actually a concise summary of all Christian doctrine, namely, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God!


 
Verse 33
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

This is the negative of the proposition stated in the preceding verse; but it is not likely that denial of Christ is limited to any formal, blasphemous remark but pertains to all godlessness, or failure to confess him. People may deny Christ by their works as well as by their words (Titus 1:16). Note how frequently Jesus refers to "MY Father." Disciples were taught to pray "OUR" Father; but throughout the gospel narratives, Jesus is continually represented as saying "MY" Father, indicating the unique relationship between Christ and Almighty God. This fine distinction is too scrupulously observed by the sacred writers to be accounted accidental or irrelevant. In view of this, the common, profane exclamation, "My God," is a double sin, being idle and profane in the first place, and, secondly, claiming a relationship to God which none of the apostles ever used in addressing deity, and which was constantly used by Christ as an affirmation of his divinity. True, Paul said, "I thank my God ..." (Philippians 1:3); but even so, it is not used as direct address and does not carry the same connotation as Jesus' expression, "My Father." It is freely admitted that this viewpoint is subject to challenge.


 
Verse 34
Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace but a sword.

That a sword should be identified with Christ in any sense is a warning of the severity which is one characteristic of his glorious nature. "Behold the goodness and severity of God" (Romans 11:22). One who obeys Christ despite filial or parental opposition feels the edge of that sword. A young woman who maintains her ideals and purity in an office where low standards prevail soon feels that sword in her heart. All who live for Christ and bleed inwardly when his name is profaned or his word denied have felt it. A similar thought is contained in the voice from heaven that commanded John to eat the little book. "Take it and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but in thy mouth it shall be as sweet as honey" (Revelation 10:9).

The sword of Christ is: (1) a sword of separation, (2) the word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12), (3) the sword of civil authority (Romans 13:1-8), (4) the sword of judgment (Genesis 3:24), (5) the sword of correction (Revelation 2:16), and (6) the sword of victory (Revelation 19:13). Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was acquainted with that sword. "Yea, and a sword shall pierce thine own soul" (Luke 2:55).


 
Verse 35
For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Lines of cleavage between Christ's followers and the world cut sharply through the dearest and most intimate relationships on earth. In every church, almost in every household, there are scars caused by this sword.


 
Verse 36
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

It was a "faithful" servant who betrayed William Tyndale to his death. It was the trusted disciple, Judas, who sold his Lord. The long and tragic history of the inquisitions, massacres, and bloody disturbances which have attended the efforts of the faithful to honor and serve the Christ afford countless examples fulfilling the Saviour's words. Even in modern times, every form of discrimination, partiality, bias, preferment, and rejection have been exercised against Christians, not merely by the world of strangers but by closest friends, relatives, and members of the family.


 
Verse 37
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

This is one of the "hard sayings" of Christ. Luke's account phrases it even more bluntly: "If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). Actually, these accounts (Matthew's and Luke's) have identical meanings; and, by comparison, it is learned that "hate" as used in this context actually means "to love less," and does not imply malice or vicious hatred in the ordinary meaning of the word "hate." An Old Testament example is Jacob's "hatred" of Leah (Genesis 29:31), which can only mean that he loved her less than Rachel. The teaching in this place is simply that Christ must be FIRST in the lives of those who would truly follow him.


 
Verse 38
And he that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me.

How does one take his cross? Cross bearing is the assumption of a burden, a task, or an obligation, which one has the power to refuse, but which is willingly received, carried forward, and discharged because of the good to be accomplished and the glory believed to accrue to the name of Christ. The cross, as set forth here, is not a mere ornament nor some unavoidable burden like sickness, old age, or taxes. There are orphans to be fed, schools to be built, endowed, and maintained. There are churches to be built, and countless good works of all descriptions; and when people willingly, not through compulsion, provide support and encouragement for these and many other endeavors, they "take up the cross," provided always that they do so through love for Christ and in his service.


 
Verse 39
He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

This verse emphatically states the law of true spiritual living. Note the qualification, "for my sake." Whatever good one does, or whatever sacrifice is made, if such is not undertaken for the glory of Christ, it may not claim the reward promised here.

Practically all the Ante-Nicene writers hail this verse as the sacred talisman of the martyrs who approached the flame, or the wild beasts, or the burning sands, with this verse in their hearts and on their lips. This blessed meaning of these holy words is freely allowed; but there is a message here, not merely for martyrs but for every member of God's family in every generation. That person who gives his life without reservation in the pursuit of God's will is also losing his life in the sense of this verse. To submerge one's own life and will in those of Christ, so that he may say with Paul, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20), is to lose one's life, and also to find it. This is the great antidote for selfishness.


 
Verses 40, 41
He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 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. 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.

These words conclude the charge of Jesus to the Twelve as they were about to depart on this mission. The principle taught here is that receiving the apostles is equivalent to receiving Christ, and that receiving Christ is equivalent to receiving God. The importance of the apostolic mission is underscored by these words. It is "through their word" (John 17:20) and "through your apostles" (2 Peter 3:2) that all the benefits of the Christian faith may be acquired. Note also the limitation, "in the name of a disciple," equivalent to "for my sake" in Matt. 10:39. All spiritual blessings are of and through Christ; and unless related to him, the best of good works must fail of any heavenly reward. On the other hand, the least of good works, even a cup of cold water, "in his name," is sure of eternal acceptance and credit. This was the forerunner of the doctrine of "binding and loosing" set forth in Matthew 16:19. The utmost heavenly concern for the apostles and their message is seen in the fact that even a single cup of cold water given to them shall not lose its reward.

These little ones
is a term of endearment spoken by Christ of the Twelve. One may suppose that the principle of heavenly recognition for any favor extended to a disciple still holds, and that in heaven all such generous actions shall certainly be rewarded.

The departure of the Twelve on their mission took place about five weeks before the second Passover of Jesus' ministry. They were gone about a month during which Jesus taught in both Galilee and Jerusalem, where he went to keep the feast of Purim at the beginning of March (John 5:1). The Twelve rejoined him before the Passover (John 6:4); and, shortly after that, Christ fed the five thousand (Luke 9:10). Matthew does not chronicle the events in chronological sequence and does not mention the return of the Twelve, picking them up in the narrative, without mention of their absence, at the beginning of Matt. 12.


Footnotes for Matthew 10
1: Tertullian, De Fuge in Persecutione in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1951), Vol. IV, p. 119.
2: Cyprian, Elucidations, No. xxii in Ibid., VoL V, p. 420.
3: Tertullian, Scorpiace in Ibid., Vol. III, p. 641.
4: Cyprian, Treatise in Ibid., Vol. V, p. 428.
5: Origen, Against Celsus in Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 425.
6: Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata in Ibid., Vol. II, p. 423.
7: Tertullian, Against Marcion in Ibid., Vol. III. p. 349.
8: Adam Clarke, Commentary (New York: T. Mason and G. Lane, 1837), Vol. V, p. 122.
9: Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II, p. 313.
10: Tertullian, On the Resurrection in Ibid., Vol. III, p. 570.
11: Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor in Ibid., Vol. II, p. 276.
12: J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 642.
13: Roman Catholic Testament.
14: Revised Standard Version.
15: Emphatic Diaglott.
16: Goodspeed, New Testament in Modern Speech.
17: Williams, The New Testament.
18: Moffatt, The New Testament.
19: Paul Blanchard, American Freedom and Catholic Power (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press), pp. 138-139.
20: J. W. McGarvey, Commentary on Matthew and Mark (Nashville, Tennessee: The Gospel Advocate Company), p. 16.
21: Ibid., p. 16.
22: Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Sermons, Volume 5 (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company), p. 20.
23: Robert Milligan, Commentary on Hebrews (Nashville: World Vision Publishing Company), pp. 73-74.

Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=010>. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.  

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