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The Four-fold Gospel by J. W. McGarvey

LXI. Third Circuit of Galilee. The Twelve Instructed and Sent Forth.

^A Matt. IX.35-38; X.1, 5-42; XI.1; ^B Mark VI.6-13; ^C Luke IX.1-6.

^b 6 And he ^a Jesus ^b went about ^a all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner sickness and all manner of sickness. [In the first circuit of Galilee some of the twelve accompanied Jesus as disciples (see Section XXXIII.); in the second the twelve were with him as apostles; in the third they, too, are sent forth as evangelists to supplement his work.] 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd.37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few.38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest. [These verses contain the reasons why Jesus separated his apostles from himself, and scattered them among the people. The masses of the people of Galilee had been deeply stirred by the teaching and miracles of Jesus, but they knew not as yet what direction was to be given to this popular movement. They were in a bewildered state, like shepherdless sheep, scattered over the hills and faint from running. The twelve were to assist him as undershepherds in gathering these sheep. In the second figure Jesus likens the people to a ripened harvest, and he sends the apostles among them as reapers who shall garner them.] 1 And he called { ^b calleth} ^c together ^a unto him his { ^b the} ^a twelve disciples, ^b and he gave them ^c power and authority over all demons, ^a over the unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease { ^c to cure diseases.} ^a and all manner of sickness. [At this point Matthew gives the names of the apostles, a complete list of which will be found at page 222.] 5 These twelve Jesus sent forth ^b and he began to send them forth by two and two [He sent them in pairs because: 1. Under the law it required two witnesses to establish the truth.2. They could supplement each other's work. Different men reach different minds, and where one fails another may succeed.3. They would encourage one another. When one grew despondent the zeal and enthusiasm of the other would quicken his activities]; ^c 2 And he sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. ^b 8 and he charged them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse; 9 but to go shod with sandals; and, said he, put not on two coats. ^a and charged them, saying, Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans: 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [This first commission restricted Christ's messengers to the Jewish people, and the parts of Palestine which they inhabited, but his second commission impelled them to go everywhere and to preach to every creature (Mark xvi.15). As Jesus himself was sent only to the Jews, so during his days on earth he sent his disciples only to them.] 7 As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. [It was set up about a year later, on the day of Pentecost, under the direction of the Holy Spirit -- Acts ii.] 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give. [Here is the true rule of giving. Paul repeats it at I. Cor. xvi.2. If we would obey this rule, we would make this a happy world.] ^c 3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, ^a 9 Get you no gold, nor silver, ^c nor money; ^a nor brass in your purses; ^c neither staff, nor wallet, ^a for your journey, ^c nor bread, neither have two coats. ^a nor shoes, nor staff: for the workman is worthy of his food. [The prohibition is against securing these things before starting, and at their own expense. It is not that they would have no need for the articles mentioned, but that |the laborer is worthy of his food,| and they were to depend on the people for whose benefit they labored, to furnish what they might need. This passage is alluded to by Paul (I. Cor. ix.14). To rightly understand this prohibition we must remember that the apostles were to make but a brief tour of a few weeks, and that it was among their own countrymen, among a people habitually given to hospitality; moreover, that the apostles were imbued with powers which would win for them the respect of the religious and the gratitude of the well-to-do. The special and temporary commission was, therefore, never intended as a rule under which we are to act in preaching the gospel in other ages and in other lands.] ^b 10 And he said unto them ^a 11 And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go forth. [The customs of the East gave rise to this rule. The ceremonies and forms with which a guest was received were tedious and time-consuming vanities, while the mission of the apostles required haste.] 12 And as ye enter 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. [The form of salutation on entering a house was, |Peace to this house.| The apostles are told to salute each house, and are assured that the peace prayed for shall return to them if the house is not worthy; that is, they shall receive, in this case, the blessing pronounced on the house.] ^b Wheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence. { ^c 4 And into whatsoever house ye enter, there abide, and thence depart.} ^b 11 And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not [Jesus here warns them that their experiences would not always be pleasant], ^a 14 And whosoever ^c as many as ^a shall ^c receive you not, ^a nor hear your words, ^b as ye go forth thence, ^a out of that house or that city [The word |house| indicates a partial and the word |city| a complete rejection], { ^c when you depart from that city,} ^b shake off the dust that is under your feet { ^a of your feet.} ^c from your feet ^b for a testimony unto them. ^c against them. [The dust of heathen lands as compared with the land of Israel was regarded as polluted and unholy (Amos ii.7; Ezek. xxvii.30). The Jew, therefore, considered himself defiled by such dust. For the apostles, therefore, to shake off the dust of any city of Israel from their clothes or feet was to place that city on a level with the cities of the heathen, and to renounce all further intercourse with it.] ^a 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. [For comment on similar remarks, see page 287. God judges all men with reference to their opportunities.] 16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. [At this point Jesus passes from the first, or temporary, to the second, or final, commission of the apostles, for all the persecutions enumerated were encountered under the latter.] 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you [Councils and synagogues were both Jewish powers.] 18 yea and before governors and kings shall ye be brought for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. [The phrase |governors and kings| indicates Gentile powers, for most all governors and kings were then appointed by Rome.] 19 But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. [For comment on similar words, see page 318.] 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. [Jesus here foretells the intense religious bigotry with which his ministers should be opposed. Having foretold persecution, he here predicts actual martyrdom.] 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake [The term |all| is used in its general and not in its absolute sense. The apostles had some few friends among the unbelievers. Jesus gives the exact cause of the hatred. It would not be because of any personal faults or peculiarities, but simply because of adherence to Christ]: but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. [Since the persecution was unto death, the endurance which should meet it must be to the end of life.] 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. [The apostles were not to meet obduracy with obduracy. Moving as swiftly as they could along the line of least resistance, they would not be able to evangelize all the Jewish cities before the time set for their desolation -- before the Son of man should come in the demonstration of his judicial power and destroy the Jewish nationality.] 24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord.25 It is enough for the disciple that he should be as his teacher, and the servant as his lord. [Jesus applied similar words to the Jewish teachers. See page 262.] If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household! [Jesus here warns the apostles that they can not expect better treatment than he himself received -- no, not so good. Nor should they ask exemption from what he himself suffered.] 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.27 What I tell you in darkness, speak ye in the light: and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon the house-tops.28 And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father: 30 but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.31 Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven.33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven. [For comment on similar remarks see page 317.] 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.35 For I am come 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.36 and a man's foes shall be they of his own household. [For comment on similar language see page 324.] 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. [Love for the old religion would make the members of the Jewish and pagan families persecute those who apostasized from it to give their hearts to Christ. But if the Jew and the pagan thus held their religions at a higher value than the ties of kindred, much more should the Christian value his religion above these ties.] 38 And he that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me. [This is doubtless an allusion to the manner of his death, and being the first of the kind it must have been very puzzling to his disciples, unless explained by prior words of Jesus, of which we have no record. As such allusion its full meaning is this: |If I bear for each the vicarious cross and suffer for each the full measure of the divine displeasure, then each should be willing cheerfully to follow me that he may obtain the benefits of my sacrifice, and if the light cross of human displeasure deter him from this, he is not worthy of me.|] 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. [Jesus declares that all self-seeking is self-losing. He that makes his own life the chief object of his endeavor really fails the more he seems to succeed. He who saves and husbands his powers to expend them on those lower carnal joys which a sinner calls |life| shall lose those higher spiritual joys which God calls |life,| and vice versa.40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. [Having depicted in all their darkness the persecutions which awaited the apostles, Jesus here, by an easy transition, proceeds to declare the honor of their apostleship in that they were representatives directly of Christ, and indirectly of the Father.] 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of [that is, because he is] 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.42 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. [Whoever honors a prophet, a righteous man, or a disciple, as such recognizes that person's relation to God as the ground of that act; and to that extent honors God in the act, just as he who performs a similar act in the name of a friend thereby honors that friend. A prophet's reward is not synonymous, however, with final salvation, for salvation is a matter of grace and not of reward.] ^c 6 And they departed, ^b 12 And they went out, ^c and went throughout the villages, ^b and preached that men should repent. ^c preaching the gospel, ^b 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. ^c healing everywhere. ^a 1 And it came to pass when Jesus had finished commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. [Oil was not used as a medicine. The Jews anointed their hair and their faces every day, especially when about to depart from the house to move among their fellows. This anointing was omitted when they were sick and when they fasted (II. Sam. xii.20; Matt. vi.16, 17). When an apostle stood over a sick man to heal him by a touch or a word, he was about to send him out of his sick chamber, and just before the word was spoken, the oil was applied. It was, therefore, no more than a token or symbol that the man was restored to his liberty, and was from that moment to be confined to his chamber no longer. Comp. Jas. v.14. This practice bears about the same relation to the Romish practice of extreme unction as the Lord's Supper does to the mass, or as a true baptism does to the sprinkling of an infant.]

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