Immediately after Jesus chooses His twelve disciples, a great honor to them, I’m sure, He pumps them up with a pep rally of all the horrible things that would happen to them. I guess He wanted to be sure that none of them were just fair-weather followers.
- V1 – There has been mention of disciples before (as opposed to the crowds) but now He’s narrowed them down to 12. Too bad for the guy in 8:21-22. Authority over spirits, diseases, and affliction is all found in Christ. The Spirit of Christ is in me…
◊ Lord of everything, help me to better understand the power over sin and sickness that You have. Help me to understand the power of Your Spirit in me and help me to use the authority You’ve given me through Your Spirit to bring You glory.
- V2-4 – Here’s the line-up: Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen. They were two sets of brothers who were already friends and worked together sometimes. Philip was from the same town as they were and Bartholomew/Nathanael was friends with Philip. Matthew was a tax collector who probably wasn’t too popular with the working class fellas. (Notice they didn’t make him treasurer.) Thomas was a twin, but his brother wasn’t in the group. James, well, we don’t know much about him, but one commentary I read suggested it was possible that he was related to Jesus, like an uncle or something. (I can’t find the commentary or the verse it used to come to that conclusion now, so take that with a grain of salt.) Simon was a zealot, which was a radical political party that was directly opposed to Roman influence, so under any other circumstances, Simon and Matthew (who worked for the Romans as a tax collector) would not have been pals. All that I can find about Judas/Thaddaeus is that he’s not to be confused with Judas Iscariot who was a seemingly trustworthy guy (they made him treasurer) but ultimately was a betrayer. It seems like apart from Jesus most of these guys wouldn’t get along at all and as a group it’s amazing that they could work together so well.
◊ Am I willing to work with, learn from, and do life with people in God’s family who are very different from me?
- V2-4 – It’s pretty crazy that even though they were part of the 12, there’s several of these guys we know little to nothing about. Hmm, fancy that, it must not be about them! It’s about Jesus!!! They weren’t glory hogs! Glory only to Him!
- V5 – Jesus had the disciples start with “their people” and gives them specific instructions of what to say and do. Their message is the same as His and their power comes from Him.
◊ Is my message the same as Jesus’? Do I add anything or leave anything out? Do I even have a message?
- V5 – This was like a practice run before they get sent out to the rest of the world. The Jews were looking for the Messiah.
◊ I gotta start where I’m at.
- V8-10 – This time Jesus is giving them an exercise to practice trusting in God to provide for them.
- V8 – “You received without paying, give without pay.” Freely share the gospel as you have been given it for free.
◊ Who am I pouring the gospel into like someone poured it into me?
- V10 – Jesus tells them that the people they’re giving the Good News to will take care of them.
◊ Are my doors open to God’s laborers? Am I taking care of those who have made spreading the gospel their primary business?
- V11 – This was a good chance for them to develop relationships with those families.
- V13 – Do I bring peace (or blessing) to those I interact with and minister to?
- V15 – Once you have heard the good news, the ball is in your court. If you choose to reject God’s free gift, you will be without Him for eternity. Things didn’t go well for Sodom and Gomorrah.
- V16 – Jesus switches from the immediate mission to Jewish Galilee to the global mission to come.
- V16 – “I’m sending you out as sheep among wolves.” It doesn’t sound like we’ll stand much of a chance, and yet… 2000 years later His church is still here.
◊ How can I be wise and cunning like a serpent when it comes to sharing the gospel with my neighbors? How can I be gentle and innocent like a dove when it comes to sharing the gospel with my neighbors?
- V17 – Wow. I wonder if they were having 2nd thoughts at this point.
- V19-20 – When you live your life in the open, fearing God and not fearing man, and have testified to others about God’s work in you, you will be accused before the authorities. But don’t worry – remember, you don’t need to fear them – the Holy Spirit will let you know what to say when you are standing there and it’s your turn to talk!! What a great (but slightly nerve-wracking) promise! However, we shouldn’t confuse this to mean “never be prepared to eloquently share the gospel.” We should know how to tell anyone the good news of the gospel, but we should also be in tune with what the Holy Spirit wants us to say in that particular situation.
- V17-20 – Shane Claiborne’s book Irresistable Revolution has some great examples of a regular guy who ended up sharing the gospel in a courtroom because he was following Christ. I really liked the part where he accidentally called the prosecutor the persecutor.
- V21-22 – These promises are so sad. Within the next several decades after Jesus’ death and resurrection, this would happen as Christians began to be persecuted in really awful ways by the Romans. Following Jesus can’t be a half-hearted commitment. He must come first!
- V22 – Just like in 5:45, you’re not saved because you endured, you can endure because you have been given the power of the Holy Spirit and salvation.
- V23 – My study Bible gives several interpretations of what this means, but the point is, it’s important to make sure everyone hears!
◊ Am I sharing the gospel with as many people as I can?
◊ What’s the balance between the persistence that He just taught us and the suggestion in v23 – don’t spend too long in one place if they’re rejecting my message?
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?