The Warfare of Our Calling, Part 1

In Matthew 10, Jesus sends out the twelve to preach among the Jews. They are warned that their families will resist them and that the way will not always be smooth. Nonetheless, they are to go, ministering without discrimination among their kinsmen with power to heal every disease and sickness, and to cast out devils. In this early commissioning, we find many lessons for those of us that seek to fulfill their calling today.

[Mat 10:1-42 KJV] 1 And when he had called unto [him] his twelve disciples, he gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2 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; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

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: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for [your] journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

While we have in Matthew an account of the first few disciples, in verse 1 of chapter Matthew 10, we now see listed the names of all twelve. Jesus has gathered them together to send them out in the itinerant fashion that He has ministered throughout Galilee. He begins by giving them power over unclean spirits and the power to heal all manner of sickness and disease. The word power used here gives us important insight into the nature in which Jesus expected His disciples to proceed. It is the word “exousia” which means “privilege” as contrasted with the “dunamis” which would imply generated, or raw power. In this, we understand that the actual delivering power originates in God. We are simply those chosen and privileged to represent God’s delivering power to those that are suffering. An example of this type of power could be that of a driver’s license. A driver’s license gives you privileges to operate a vehicle and to travel at speeds you do not have the raw power to do on your own. The raw power is in the engine; you are just the person behind the wheel. Likewise, it is foolish when we pray for the sick to try to summon up power through emotional demonstrations or mental gymnastics. The power is in the drive train; we are simply the person who has been given privileges to direct the power at our disposal. So, it is with healing and deliverance.

When Jesus sends the twelve out in verse 5, He instructs them to preach only to the Jews and not to go to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans. This is interesting because Jesus felt it was necessary to restrict them in this way because they apparently had picked up on the larger implications of the availability of the gospel after Jesus healed the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:5. The message they were to preach was also specified. They were not given leave to preach whatever they wanted to. They were to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, followed by healing the sick, cleansing of the lepers, and casting out devils.

With these two initial instructions, Jesus further tells the twelve not to be discriminating in who they ministered to among the Jews. The KJV translation says, “freely you have received, freely give…” The Greek word used for “freely” here if you consult your lexicon, means “undeservedly.” Many have taken this phrase and used it to insist that Christian ministers are wrong to take any compensation for their ministrations. This cannot be and is plainly demonstrated when you read the very next sentence where Jesus said the “workman is worthy of his meat…” The word meat there is where we get the word “trophy” and, by implication, means wages. Jesus is not schizophrenic. He isn’t insisting them to work in poverty without compensation in one breath and then telling them they deserve to get paid in the next. The only reason this is a question is not that Jesus isn’t clear, but because of religious attitudes about money and denigration of Christian leaders.

When the disciples entered into homes on their way, Jesus tells them to let their peace come upon that home. If they are not received, they are to shake the dust off their feet. We need to learn from this. Today, if someone doesn’t receive us, we take that as a cue to begin arguing and entering into controversy. Jesus is saying instead just to shake it off and move on. The dust is representative of the flesh. Your feet are that which you walk with. What Jesus is saying is, when someone rejects you, do not allow their fleshly actions to affect your walk. Shake it off and move on in your ministry. To fail to do so means you will always be ministering out of woundedness and offense.

To Be Continued Next Week
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