The second major discourse in Matthew is to the Apostles, who are called and sent with this challenge in Matthew 10. The connection to ministry today is interesting. Craig Blomberg makes the suggestion that v. 16 marks a pivot between the immediate calling the 12 had to go to the “lost sheep of Israel (v. 6), and their later ministry. Note that v. 17 refers to local councils, synagogues and also governors and kings (i.e. Gentiles). It makes sense that v. 1-15 is an initial ministry directed to the children of Israel, but the second half is more general.
One result of that is the mission to the “lost children of Israel” appears in both parts (v. 6 and v. 23) – so that will continue to the end. The ministry of signs and wonders is found in the first part (v. 1, 7), so it is a good question what role healing might have in our time.
Can we pull out applications to ministry today? Why not, every one else writes church leadership books, why not Jesus by way of Matthew?
- Christian ministry is a call to continue Jesus’ work (compare 9:35-38 to 10:1, 7,8). One is called by Christ, and is not self-appointed to this role. Note v. 8 calls them to do works he as done in chapters 8 and 9: Healing 8:16; 9:35; Raising the Dead 9:18ff; Leprosy 8:1; Demonic 8:16, 28ff.
- Ministry is free – v. 8b – the “blessing” freely received is freely passed on, to be received or to be rejected. So what about giving, tithing, salaries and budgets? I guess that we in paid ministry should be glad of the gifts we receive, not proud of the salary we deserve. I once saw a signboard with a list of prices for services offered by the church – like the one behind the counter at McDonald’s!
- Expect opposition – v 16-23 shows opposition from religious and civil authorities and family. We face this with shrewdness and innocence. Most of the church in history experienced this as reality not mere theory.
- As with Jesus, so with us v. 24, 25. How Jesus is treated, so we will be treated. In the NT, he was crucified and the church was persecuted. In a post-Christian culture, this will be challenging. We will need to be heavenly minded to endure – see v. 28.
- Choose well –
- to Confess or Reject v. 32, 33 – Letting your light shine has high stakes.
- Whom to love most. v. 34-39 – family, self or the Lord.
- Whom to Receive. v. 40-42 – in a hostile environment, we need to receive both Jesus and his people, prophets, leaders and little ones.”