I remember teaching my kids to drive. In our house we were teaching a teenager to drive a car every year for four years. I blame the gray in my beard on that. Learning to drive is a rite of passage in our culture and I still remember it well. It’s one thing to be along for the ride as a care-free kid, it’s another when the keys are in your hands and steering that metal box flying down the road is up to you. It can be daunting at first, and it certainly isn’t something done lightly. A lot of instruction goes along with that responsibility.
Jesus’ disciples will experience something like that in our text for this Sunday, Matthew 10:1-15. Jesus will essentially be handing the keys of his ministry to his 12 closest followers and send them out to do what he has been doing. As I said, a daunting task that requires instruction. We’ll be reading Jesus’ instructions for the mission.
This event is called the “limited commission”, because it’s targeted at Israel only, in an limited region, and for a limited time. The “great commission” of chapter 28 will expand on this mission, but here we have the basic instructions laid out.
In v 1-4, Jesus sends them out as “apostles” – it’s the first time this designation is used. It basically means someone sent…by Jesus, in this case. V1 tells us where they get the ability to do this mission, where does it come from? When you look at the list of apostles, what stories about them come to mind? What are their credentials and backgrounds that we’re aware of? Does this tell you anything about who Jesus is willing to send?
When you read the instructions of v5-8a, what feelings are inspired? Is the tone angry, threatening, confrontational? How would you describe the tone and atmosphere of this mission?
Jesus draws very specific boundaries in terms of provisions the disciples should take or receive in V8b-10. Why do you think he is doing that? What lessons should the church today take from those instructions?
In v11-15 Jesus talks about finding people who are willing to listen to the message (worthy) and staying with them. Why doesn’t he want his disciples going from house to house? If people reject the message, he instructs them to shake the dust from their feet. Do you think he means that literally? Why do you believe he gives that instruction instead of telling them to force the issue when the stakes are so high?
Hope to see you this Sunday!