MISSION OF THE
The last three verses of the ninth chapter form the proper introduction
to the Mission of the Twelve, as is evident from the remarkable fact
that the Mission of the Seventy was prefaced by the very same words.
1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them
power--The word signifies both "power," and "authority" or "right."
Even if it were not evident that here both ideas are included, we find
both words expressly used in the parallel passage of Luke
--"He gave them power and authority"--in other words, He both
qualified and authorized them.
2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these--The other
Evangelists enumerate the twelve in immediate connection with their
But our Evangelist, not intending to record the appointment, but only
the Mission of the Twelve, gives their names here. And as in the Acts
we have a list of the Eleven who met daily in the upper room with the
other disciples after their Master's ascension until the day of
Pentecost, we have four catalogues in all for comparison.
The first, Simon, who is called Peter--(See on
and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his
brother--named after James, as the younger of the two.
3. Philip and Bartholomew--That this person is the same with "Nathanael
of Cana in Galilee" is justly concluded for the three following reasons:
First, because Bartholomew is not so properly an individual's name as a
family surname; next, because not only in this list, but in Mark's and
he follows the name of "Philip," who was the instrument of bringing
Nathanael first to Jesus
and again, when our Lord, after His resurrection, appeared at the Sea
of Tiberias, "Nathanael of Cana in Galilee" is mentioned along with six
others, all of them apostles, as being present
Matthew the publican--In none of the four lists of the Twelve is
this apostle so branded but in his own, as if he would have all to know
how deep a debtor he had been to his Lord. (See on
Mt 1:3, 5, 6;
James the son of Alphaeus--the same person apparently who is called
Cleopas or Clopas
and, as he was the husband of Mary, sister to the Virgin, James the
Less must have been our Lord's cousin.
and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus--the same, without doubt,
as "Judas the brother of James," mentioned in both the lists of Luke
while no one of the name of Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus is so. It is he who
is sweetly called "Judas, not Iscariot." That he was the author of the
Catholic Epistle of "Jude," and not "the Lord's brother"
unless these be the same, is most likely.
4. Simon the Canaanite--rather "Kananite," but better still, "the
Zealot," as he is called in
where the original term should not have been retained as in our version
("Simon, called Zelotes"), but rendered "Simon, called the Zealot." The
word "Kananite" is just the Aramaic, or Syro-Chaldaic,
term for "Zealot." Probably before his acquaintance with Jesus, he
belonged to the sect of the Zealots, who bound themselves, as a sort of
voluntary ecclesiastical police, to see that the law was not broken
and Judas Iscariot--that is, Judas of Kerioth, a town of Judah
so called to distinguish him from "Judas the brother of James"
who also betrayed him--a note of infamy attached to his name in all
the catalogues of the Twelve.
This directory divides itself into three distinct parts. The first
contains directions for the brief and temporary mission on which they
were now going forth, with respect to the places they were to go to,
the works they were to do, the message they were to bear, and the
manner in which they were to conduct themselves. The second part
contains directions of no such limited and temporary nature, but opens
out into the permanent exercise of the Gospel ministry. The
is of wider application still, reaching not only to the ministry of the
Gospel in every age, but to the service of Christ in the widest sense.
It is a strong confirmation of this threefold division, that each
part closes with the words, "VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU"
(Mt 10:15, 23, 42).
Directions for the Present Mission
5. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not
into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter
ye not--The Samaritans were Gentiles by blood; but being the
descendants of those whom the king of Assyria had transported from the
East to supply the place of the ten tribes carried captive, they had
adopted the religion of the Jews, though with admixtures of their own:
and, as the nearest neighbors of the Jews, they occupied a place
intermediate between them and the Gentiles. Accordingly, when this
prohibition was to be taken off, on the effusion of the Spirit at
Pentecost, the apostles were told that they should be Christ's witnesses
first "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea," then "in Samaria," and lastly,
"unto the uttermost part of the earth"
6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel--Until
Christ's death, which broke down the middle wall of partition
the Gospel commission was to the Jews only, who, though the visible
people of God, were "lost sheep," not merely in the sense which all
but as abandoned and left to wander from the right way by faithless
(Jer 50:6, 17;
7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at
8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out
devils--(The italicized clause--"raise the dead"--is wanting in
many manuscripts). Here we have the first communication of supernatural
power by Christ Himself to His followers--thus anticipating the gifts
of Pentecost. And right royally does He dispense it.
freely ye have received, freely give--Divine saying, divinely said!
De 15:10, 11;
--an apple of gold in a setting of silver
It reminds us of that other golden saying of our Lord, rescued from
oblivion by Paul, "It is more blessed to give than to receive"
Who can estimate what the world owes to such sayings, and with what
beautiful foliage and rich fruit such seeds have covered, and will yet
cover, this earth!
9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses--"for"
your purses; literally, "your belts," in which they kept their money.
10. Nor scrip for your journey--the bag used by travellers for holding
neither two coats--or tunics, worn next the skin. The meaning is, Take
no change of dress, no additional articles.
neither shoes--that is, change of them.
nor yet staves--The received text here has "a staff," but our
version follows another reading, "staves," which is found in the
received text of Luke
The true reading, however, evidently is "a staff"--meaning, that they
were not to procure even that much expressly for this missionary
journey, but to go with what they had. No doubt it was the
misunderstanding of this that gave rise to the reading "staves" in so
many manuscripts Even if this reading were genuine, it could not mean
"more than one"; for who, as ALFORD well asks,
would think of taking a spare staff?
for the workman is worthy of his meat--his "food" or "maintenance"; a
principle which, being universally recognized in secular affairs, is
here authoritatively applied to the services of the Lord's workmen, and
by Paul repeatedly and touchingly employed in his appeals to the
and once as "scripture"
11. And into whatsoever city or town--town or village.
ye shall enter inquire--carefully.
who in it is worthy--or "meet" to entertain such messengers; not in
point of rank, of course, but of congenial disposition.
and there abide till ye go thence--not shifting about, as if
discontented, but returning the welcome given with a courteous,
contented, accommodating disposition.
12. And when ye come into an house--or "the house," but it means not
the worthy house, but the house ye first enter, to try if it be worthy.
salute it--show it the usual civilities.
13. And if the house be worthy--showing this by giving you a welcome.
let your peace come upon it--This is best explained by the injunction
to the Seventy, "And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be
to this house"
This was the ancient salutation of the East, and it prevails to this
day. But from the lips of Christ and His messengers, it means something
far higher, both in the gift and the giving of it, than in the current
salutation. (See on
but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you--If your peace
finds a shut, instead of an open, door in the heart of any household,
take it back to yourselves, who know how to value it; and it will taste
the sweeter to you for having been offered, even though rejected.
14. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye
depart out of that house or city--for possibly a whole town might not
furnish one "worthy."
shake off the dust of your feet--"for a testimony against them," as
Mark and Luke add
By this symbolical action they vividly shook themselves from all
connection with such, and all responsibility for the
guilt of rejecting them and their message. Such symbolical actions
were common in ancient times, even among others than the Jews, as
strikingly appears in Pilate
And even to this day it prevails in the East.
15. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable--more bearable.
for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city--Those
Cities of the Plain, which were given to the flames for their
loathsome impurities, shall be treated as less criminal, we are here
taught, than those places which, though morally respectable, reject the
Gospel message and affront those that bear it.
Directions for the Future and Permanent Exercise of the Christian
16. Behold, I send you forth--The "I" here is emphatic, holding up
Himself as the Fountain of the Gospel ministry, as He is also the Great
Burden of it.
in the midst of wolves--ready to make a prey of you
To be left exposed, as sheep to wolves, would have been startling
enough; but that the sheep should be sent among the wolves would
sound strange indeed. No wonder this announcement begins with the
be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves--Wonderful
combination this! Alone, the wisdom of the serpent is mere cunning, and
the harmlessness of the dove little better than weakness: but in
combination, the wisdom of the serpent would save them from unnecessary
exposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove, from sinful expedients
to escape it. In the apostolic age of Christianity, how harmoniously
were these qualities displayed! Instead of the fanatical thirst for
martyrdom, to which a later age gave birth, there was a manly
combination of unflinching zeal and calm discretion, before which
nothing was able to stand.
17. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the
councils--the local courts, used here for civil magistrates in
and they will scourge you in their synagogues--By this is meant
persecution at the hands of the ecclesiastics.
18. And ye shall be brought before governors--provincial rulers.
and kings--the highest tribunals.
for my sake, for a testimony against them--rather, "to them," in order
to bear testimony to the truth and its glorious effects.
and the Gentiles--"to the Gentiles"; a hint that their message would
not long be confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Acts
of the Apostles are the best commentary on these warnings.
19. But when they deliver you up, take no thought--be not
solicitous or anxious. (See on
how or what ye shall speak--that is, either in what manner ye shall
make your defense, or of what matter it shall consist.
for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall
20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which
speaketh in you--How remarkably this has been verified, the whole
history of persecution thrillingly proclaims--from the Acts of the
Apostles to the latest martyrology.
21. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the
father the child: and the children shall rise up against their p