This passage seems to combine elements from at least 2 commissioning of short erm missions.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Here Jesus is sending out His Apostles to a short term mission
Specifically, Jesus tells them where he is sending them, to the Jews and not the Gentiles. Why?
Jesus mission was indeed to redeem all peoples to Himself, not Just the Jews.
However, He was to do this as a Jew
18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
Jesus’ mission was therefore to the Jews and through the Jews because that is how God chose to justify the world.
7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.
Verse 6 told where the mission was, 7-8 tell what the mission is.
Specifically, they were to teach people that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
This was the message of both John the Baptist and Jesus earlier which also includes repentance.
As evidence, they were to provide a healing ministry without pay.
9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.
In a parallel passage, we are told that they are to take a staff, sandals and tunic with them.
Here, we read that they were to not take any extra with them.
This is similar to the expressions shirt off you back.
11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
They were to live of the hospitality of those who receive their message.
Shaking dust off was a common Jewish symbol after leaving a Gentile city to signify ceremonial cleaning.
By doing this after visiting Jews was a strong condemnation that further contributes to Matthew’s overall theme.
The comparison to Sodom and Gomorrah is even stronger.
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
wise as serpents = shrewdness
innocent as doves = sincerity
Begin Point 2
Jesus now transitions to future ministry
17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,
They will be punished by Jewish authorities for spreading the Gospel
18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
They will be punished by Gentile authorities for the same thing
19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Jesus encourages them not to fear because the Spirit will empower them to speak to anyone
21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
The picture of cost is becoming stronger. Even family will turn against you
23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
This is a difficult verse
one commentator says
“This verse is among the most difficult in the NT canon.”
Carson thinks the best interpretation is that the Son of Man comes in judgment against Israel in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
That is possible, and there are several others
We are not going to solve this today but I offer you this thought
No matter what this verse is referring to, the meaning is the same, as persecution come, yes flee from it, but don’t give up on your mission because the Son of Man, the King, the Messiah is on your side.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.