The Mission of the Twelve. 1* Then he summoned his twelve disciples* and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.a 2The names of the twelve apostles* are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; 4Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
The Commissioning of the Twelve. 5b Jesus sent out these twelve* after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. 6c Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’d 8* Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. 9e Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; 10f no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. 11g Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. 12As you enter a house, wish it peace. 13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.* 14* h Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. 15Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.i
Coming Persecutions. 16j “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. 17* But beware of people,k for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues,l 18and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.m 20For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21* n Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 22You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end* will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.* 24o No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. 25It 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!
Courage Under Persecution. 26p “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.* q 27What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.r 29Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. 30Even all the hairs of your head are counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 32* Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. 33But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.s
Jesus: A Cause of Division. 34t “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. 35For I have come to set
a man ‘against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’
The Conditions of Discipleship. 37u “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up his cross* and follow after me is not worthy of me. 39* v Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Rewards. 40“Whoever receives you receives me,* and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.w 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. 42And 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.”x
* [10:1–11:1] After an introductory narrative (Mt 10:1–4), the second of the discourses of the gospel. It deals with the mission now to be undertaken by the disciples (Mt 10:5–15), but the perspective broadens and includes the missionary activity of the church between the time of the resurrection and the parousia.
* [10:1] His twelve disciples: although, unlike Mark (Mk 3:13–14) and Luke (Lk 6:12–16), Matthew has no story of Jesus’ choosing the Twelve, he assumes that the group is known to the reader. The earliest New Testament text to speak of it is 1 Cor 15:5. The number probably is meant to recall the twelve tribes of Israel and implies Jesus’ authority to call all Israel into the kingdom. While Luke (Lk 6:13) and probably Mark (Mk 4:10, 34) distinguish between the Twelve and a larger group also termed disciples, Matthew tends to identify the disciples and the Twelve. Authority…every illness: activities the same as those of Jesus; see Mt 4:23; Mt 9:35; 10:8. The Twelve also share in his proclamation of the kingdom (Mt 10:7). But although he teaches (Mt 4:23; 7:28; 9:35), they do not. Their commission to teach comes only after Jesus’ resurrection, after they have been fully instructed by him (Mt 28:20).
* [10:2–4] Here, for the only time in Matthew, the Twelve are designated apostles. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent,” and therefore fits the situation here described. In the Pauline letters, the place where the term occurs most frequently in the New Testament, it means primarily one who has seen the risen Lord and has been commissioned to proclaim the resurrection. With slight variants in Luke and Acts, the names of those who belong to this group are the same in the four lists given in the New Testament (see note on Mt 9:9). Cananean: this represents an Aramaic word meaning “zealot.” The meaning of that designation is unclear (see note on Lk 6:15).
* [10:5–6] Like Jesus (Mt 15:24), the Twelve are sent only to Israel. This saying may reflect an original Jewish Christian refusal of the mission to the Gentiles, but for Matthew it expresses rather the limitation that Jesus himself observed during his ministry.
* [10:8–11] The Twelve have received their own call and mission through God’s gift, and the benefits they confer are likewise to be given freely. They are not to take with them money, provisions, or unnecessary clothing; their lodging and food will be provided by those who receive them.
* [10:13] The greeting of peace is conceived of not merely as a salutation but as an effective word. If it finds no worthy recipient, it will return to the speaker.
* [10:14] Shake the dust from your feet: this gesture indicates a complete disassociation from such unbelievers.
* [10:17] The persecutions attendant upon the post-resurrection mission now begin to be spoken of. Here Matthew brings into the discourse sayings found in Mk 13 which deals with events preceding the parousia.
* [10:22] To the end: the original meaning was probably “until the parousia.” But it is not likely that Matthew expected no missionary disciples to suffer death before then, since he envisages the martyrdom of other Christians (Mt 10:21). For him, the end is probably that of the individual’s life (see Mt 10:28).
* [10:23] Before the Son of Man comes: since the coming of the Son of Man at the end of the age had not taken place when this gospel was written, much less during the mission of the Twelve during Jesus’ ministry, Matthew cannot have meant the coming to refer to the parousia. It is difficult to know what he understood it to be: perhaps the “proleptic parousia” of Mt 28:16–20, or the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, viewed as a coming of Jesus in judgment on unbelieving Israel.
* [10:26] The concealed and secret coming of the kingdom is to be proclaimed by them, and no fear must be allowed to deter them from that proclamation.
* [10:32–33] In the Q parallel (Lk 12:8–9), the Son of Man will acknowledge those who have acknowledged Jesus, and those who deny him will be denied (by the Son of Man) before the angels of God at the judgment. Here Jesus and the Son of Man are identified, and the acknowledgment or denial will be before his heavenly Father.
* [10:38] The first mention of the cross in Matthew, explicitly that of the disciple, but implicitly that of Jesus (and follow after me). Crucifixion was a form of capital punishment used by the Romans for offenders who were not Roman citizens.
* [10:39] One who denies Jesus in order to save one’s earthly life will be condemned to everlasting destruction; loss of earthly life for Jesus’ sake will be rewarded by everlasting life in the kingdom.
* [10:41] A prophet: one who speaks in the name of God; here, the Christian prophets who proclaim the gospel. Righteous man: since righteousness is demanded of all the disciples, it is difficult to take the righteous man of this verse and one of these little ones (Mt 10:42) as indicating different groups within the followers of Jesus. Probably all three designations are used here of Christian missionaries as such.