INSTRUCTIONS TO APPRENTICES
Matthew 10 (read the chapter)
vs 5ff – Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!
“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.
“Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.
“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.
“Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
Your enemies will be right in your own household!’
“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
“Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”
Jesus called His disciples around Him and gave them authority to cast out unclean spirits and heal sickness and disease. They were Peter and Andy, James and John, Phil and Bart, Tom and Matt, Jim and Thad, Simon and (hey) Jude. Jesus was sending these 12 out on their first ministry tour, so He gave them these instructions:
“Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans. Go only to the Jews. Preach this message: THE REALITY AND SUBSTANCE OF GOD IS NOW IN REACH! Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Pour out freely what you have freely received. Don’t take money or baggage or extra provisions for the journey. You will eat what you are given as a sojourning laborer.”
The beginnings of service seem to always be meager. But that isn’t just because, like in the business world, you start out small and work your way up. Making parallels between business and ministry seems to be a very common mistake lately and has caused many problems in the Church. The beginnings are meager for a very specific purpose: To establish dependency upon God.
That is a great irony. Jesus loads these human vessels up with priceless gifts and they don’t even have the price of a donut. As they carried out His specific instructions they were totally dependent for their basic daily needs on the people they were distributing those gifts to. That could be very humbling. That means it would be pretty difficult for them to use this “giftedness” for personal gain. One more little thing it means; They had to be nice.
Now, if you know that this was not the only trip Jesus sent them on, you also surely agree that this scene is not there to cause us to take a “vow of poverty”. The point is that these men needed to establish the foundation stone of trusting-dependency in their relationship to God. It probably took a while to get free from the anxiety that comes from not knowing if you will have any dinner. But once that stone was firmly in place they were free to focus on and enjoy doing the work that Jesus had given them to do. When they returned, they weren’t testifying of how well they ate. They were excited about the result of the authority they had in Jesus’ name. [Of course, that brought up the need for another little lesson. That will come in Luke 10:20] The point is, they weren’t caught up in planning and managing things so that their basic needs would be met. They were busy doing the specific job that they had been given.
Stop for a moment and ask the Lord to show you how this example should be applied to your present circumstances. Remember, don’t think of anything Jesus says as words for someone else. Whatever He speaks, He’s speaking to you.