Matthew: First Mission: The Disciples Prayer And Mission

Memory Verse: Matthew 9:37-38

9:35-38 Jesus’ Compassion And Prayer Request

  • 9:35 Jesus, through doing the miraculous, has proven that His authority is from God above. The works that Jesus has done, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead and forgiving sins, can only be attributed to God himself. He continued to do the miraculous as He went everywhere (the cities and villages) healing every sickness and every disease among the people. He also would enter their synagogues (Jewish places of instruction and worship) to teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom—salvation and the victorious life through God’s rule in their life.
  • 9:36 Because of Jesus traveling and the great authority in His words and works, He would draw large crowds. When Jesus saw one of these crowds—the multitudes of people, He was moved with compassion on them—He was moved in His inner being and concerned for these people. Why? Because the people fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. Sheep have no natural defense and are vulnerable to attacks from prey. They are not good at foraging—finding green pastures and water. Sheep need a shepherd to protect them from their predators and to lead them to their necessary provisions. So without a shepherd, sheep are lost and in danger—living a harassed and helpless existence Therefore, Jesus is saying that spiritually—the masses that He sees are in this same condition and it moved Him to have compassion on them.
  • 9:37-38 Then Jesus told His disciples that the harvest truly is plenteous—speaking metaphorically of people who are spiritually ready to enter the kingdom of God. But there was a problem: labourers are few—those who gather in the harvest are few in number meaning that the harvest can’t be collected. As Jesus looked at the multitude, He saw people ready to believe, but He needed more workers to help with the mission, more people to teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom. Therefore—since the labourers are few—they are to pray unto the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest. Jesus answer to this problem was prayer. The harvest is already God’s—it is He who does the saving, but He uses people to gather it in. As we are working in God’s field doing God’s work, we are to constantly be praying for more workers. Jesus’ prayer request for His disciples, and for us today, is to ask for more laborers. As we pray, we need to ask God, “Does that mean me? How do you want me to serve?” We need to look at the nations and be moved with compassion and then pray.

10:1-15 Jesus’ First Mission For His Twelve Disciples

  • 10:1 Jesus’ prayer request for the disciples caused the disciples to know that the mission was greater than themselves, but Jesus’ calling caused them to know that it started with them. Jesus called His twelve disciples unto Himself and gave them power for exorcism (power against unclean spirits, to cast them out), and healing (all manner of sickness and disease). This was a far reaching power similar to what Jesus Himself was doing among the people. Now He was going to send them in His place to do this work.
    Matthew 4:23
  • 10:2-4 The names of the twelve men that Jesus’ chose for special service as “apostles” are as follows: (1) Simon, who is called Peter; (2) Andrew, Peter’s brother; (3) James the son of Zebedee; (4) John, Jame’s brother; (5) Philip; (6) Bartholomew; (7) Thomas; (8) Matthew the publican; (9) James the son of Alphaeus; (10) Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus; (11) Simon the Canaanite; (12) Judas Iscariot—who will betray Jesus.
    Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13
  • 10:5a Jesus has given these twelve men special power over demons and sickness and He sent them forth with the following instructions:
  • 10:5b-6 The People: They were not to go the “way of the Gentiles” or into “any city of the Samaritans,” but were to only go “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The “house of Israel” refers to the descendants of Jacob or the Jews—who are God’s covenant people and they were to be the target of the first mission. Eventually, the permanent mission until Jesus returns would include the whole world, but at this time and during this temporary mission, the target was God’s chosen people who were like “lost sheep” having no shepherd to lead them. First to the Jew, second to the Gentile.
    Romans 1:16; 2:9-10
  • 10:7-8a The Work: While they were going to Israel they were to preach the same message that John the Baptist and Jesus had preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Also, as they were going they were to use their powers to have compassion on the people and authenticate the authority of their words by their supernatural powers, which included: healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and casting out devils—just like Jesus had exemplified to them. (Note: The works weren’t the main focus of the mission, but the preaching was.)
    Matthew 3:2, 4:17
  • 10:8b-10 The Restrictions: They were to also realize that they had received all of this power for the mission freely from God, therefore they were not to charge for it but to do these works among the people freely—to show forth the grace of God among an unworthy people. Instead of charging people for the miracles they would do, they were to trust God, the One who has hired them for this specific mission. So Jesus told them  not to procure extra supplies (provide) for the journey, including money (neither gold, silver, brass in your purses, nor scrip) or clothes (neither two coats, shoes, staves). Jesus tells them that, “The workman is worthy of his meat”—meaning that they can trust God and those whom they labour amongst to take care of these basic needs.
  • 10:11-15 The Accommodations: Whatever city or town that they will enter, they are to search our diligently those who are “worthy”—probably meaning whoever is willing to respond and believe the message they preach—and stay there until they leave. When they come into someone’s house they were to “salute it”—bless it. If the house really was “worthy,” they were to let their peace come upon it, but if it was “not worthy,” they were to let their peace return to them. When they departed out of the house or city of anyone that did not receive them nor hear their words they were to shake off the dust of their feet—as a sign of rejection. Then Jesus said that those who reject His messengers will have greater punishment than sinners in the Old Testament (Sodom and Gomorrha) on the day of judgement. This also implies that Jesus is more than a prophet.
    Genesis 19:1-29

Review Questions

  • Why did Jesus have compassion?
  • What did Jesus say the problem was?
  • What was Jesus’ solution to the problem?
  • Who did Jesus choose for His first mission?
  • What were the instructions for the first mission?

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