Matt 10: 1-14
The authority to heal and exorcise came from Jesus. The disciples did not possess this power on their own. They were paired in twos, so they could look after each other. The names are listed some of the names are better known.: Simon Peter and Andrew, the fisherman brothers; James, and John, who Jesus also called “sons of Thunder” for their quick emotional reactions (Mark 3:17); Bartholomew (who is called Nathaniel in John’s gospel) was introduced to Jesus by Philip (John 1:43-50). Matthew, the tax collector, and author of the gospel; Little is know about Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot; Judas Iscariot, the last named, was the betrayer of Christ.
The instructions given by Jesus included where to go, who to speak to, what to say, and what actions to perform. It was not time yet for the Gentiles or Samaritans to hear the message. Note that Jesus did not group the Samaritans in with the Gentiles, but mentioned them specifically, indicating the Samaritans were not considered gentiles. Jesus likens Israel to “lost sheep”, a common metaphor for Israel, and God was often portrayed as their shepherd. God’s covenant was with Israel, his elected people, so the mission to them is first, but the mission to the world was always God’s plan. The message to be proclaimed was that the kingdom of God was near– the messiah was coming, repent of your sins.
Disciples were given powers that carried the purpose of defeating Satan: healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead. They were permitted to heal the sick with a specific references to leprosy, a disease which marked the sufferer untouchable under Jewish law. The disciples could drive out demons. It is remarkable that disciples were told to raise the dead. No disciple is described doing this in the gospels. Only Jesus raised the dead. This gift is not to be thought of as the same as necromancy of the pagans, the consulting of spirits or raising of the dead which was practiced by the occult. The Bible clearly forbids such works of magic and divination. The disciples did not use ritual or magic, only the name of Christ. Mediums and magicians of the time would charge fees for their consulting or ritual performances. The disciples were to charge nothing for their actions. They received the authority to do so at no cost, so they were to give, at no cost, thereby representing the free grace of God. The works were not meant to distract from the message, but to enhance it.
The disciples were to travel light and unburdened, in the practical sense. Spiritually, disciples were to learn to rely on God for all their needs, so they took nothing with them. They go out as workers for God, and hence God will care for their needs. They were to find an person of good character to stay with, a righteous person, whom the Lord would make available. They were to stay at the house and use only that house. As the one house was found worthy, it would be foolish to subject themselves to trouble or sin in other houses.
In inquiring of a house, they were to introduce themselves peacefully and respectfully, and if the house was welcoming to the message, they were to give it theri blessing of peace. If the house was not receptive, the blessing would be returned to the disciples.
Shaking the dust from their separation from the unbelievers. This dervies from the Jewish practice of shaking the dust from their sandal after traveling in the gentile regions, as not to profane the Holy Land. Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed for their sinful practices, and the punishment for rejecting teh message of salvation would be far worse.
Christ is our authority. Jesus calls his workers. The work of God cannot be attempted on our own authority, nor on the authority of another, nor through the use of sorcery and spells. Jesus calls his people to ministry according to their gifts. The Lord will tell us where to go, what to say, and what to do. We must obey his will, and not wander into places his has not prepared a way for us to go. The message of salvation remains true. The gifts of the spirit are the powers of ministry. Healing, prayer, encouragement, teaching, patience, peace-keeping, music, writing, preaching– all examples of gifts meant to glorify God and his message. No one should use Christ for selfishness or greed. It is best not to burden ourselves with earthly comforts. God provides all we need. In an evil world it is good to find a place secure in God’s Word, and not depart from it. While God sends to the world to preach, a good home built on Christ is our refuge. Seek out your family of Christ in the midst of trouble. Be respectful and peaceful to all non-believers. Bless them, and should they reject your blessing, it will return to you. At all times be peaceful. Figuratively shake the dust from your feet: know you are separate from the unsaved and those who reject Christ. The judgment that awaits those who deny Jesus is unbearable.