Matthew 10:1-25 Study Notes

Matthew 10:1-25        Study Notes prepared by WC McCarter from D. A. Carson’s Commentary
Jesus chooses the twelve to be Apostles from among the multitudes of disciples.
Jesus had been demonstrating His authority in word (Matt 5-7) and in deed (Matt 8-9. Now He commissions His twelve to do what he had been doing. The term “apostle” can refer simply to a messenger, a missionary, a representative, or specifically to the twelve plus Paul who were chosen by Jesus and commissioned to be the authoritative foundation of the church.
The lists of the twelve are found here as well as Mark 3, Luke 6, and Acts 1.
Peter is always first and Judas is always last.
Peter was the first among equals. He was obviously the leader. The first four names of all four lists are those of two pairs of brothers. In each list there are three groups of four headed by Peter, Philip, and James. It appears the twelve were broken into smaller groups, each having a leader.
For this mission the twelve were restricted to only ministering among the Jews in Galilee. Jesus was to fulfill the Jewish history and seek the faithful remnant out first. Remember, Jesus was a Jew. Salvation was for the Jew first and then for the Gentiles. (Paul is clear about this).
The disciples were not supposed to take anything with them. They would learn a few principles: the worker is worth his keep, rely on God, and rely on the hospitality of others. A “worthy” person was the one who would take them in, but not necessarily the most comfortable place. They were not to “shop around.”
A household would be blessed by having the presence of the disciples there because they were Jesus’ ambassadors. They would certainly face opposition.
V16, the shepherd sends His sheep into dangerous territory. The serpent theme is proverbial for prudence. The dove represents innocence. This would be a difficult balance, but a needed one.
VV17-19 explicitly talk about persecution, but in V20 Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will help them. The Holy Spirit came with the kingdom's dramatic entrance and is a vital part of the church's witness.
VV21-23, not only will the disciples be persecuted by Jewish officials and even Roman rulers, but also by their own families. “All men” hating them refers to all kinds of men. Christians must have enough faith that they will lay down their life for Jesus if need be. V23 is difficult to interpret. The coming of the Son of Man most likely refers to His coming in judgment against the unbelieving Jews. This culminated in Jerusalem and the Temple being destroyed in AD 70. Just as the coming of the kingdom is in stages, so too the coming of the Son of Man is in stages.
VV24-25 are proverbial phrases. The disciples are forbidden from being surprised when they suffer persecution. The title “Beelzebub” refers to the Lord of the Flies or Lord of Dung, but in the New Testament it refers to the Prince of demons, even Satan himself. However Jesus is treated the disciples should expect no less.