These small group studies of Matthew contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, verse by verse commentary, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Matthew 10:1-15 Inductive Bible Study – Discussion Questions and Verse by Verse Commentary
- The Twelve Disciples (1-4)
- Jesus Sends out the Twelve (5-15)
Where did this authority come from?
What does this teach us about Jesus?
Which diseases were they able to heal?
Why might Jesus have given this authority to them?
What observations do you have about these twelve disciples?
Verse by Verse Commentary
- Notice the source of the authority – Jesus has this authority and He gave it to them. He can give this power/authority to whom He wishes for the purpose He wishes and for the amount of time He wishes. Since Jesus has this power, He is the one we should turn to when we need help. The word used for this is quite interesting, authority. It means that Jesus is in charge. Demons are forced to obey His voice. Even sickness must obey Him. Neither one desires to so. Demons willfully and consciously desire to twist and destroy God’s work and His people. Sickness and disease naturally spreads and infects. Both are forced to stop when Jesus gives the command. His command is all powerful. With a word, He created light and this world all around us. With a word He can intervene in your life miraculously.
- Notice the extent of the authority – He gave them the authority over every unclean spirit. He is more powerful than any of them. No demon, even Satan himself, would be able to stand against them since they spoke as representatives of Christ Himself. He gave them authority over every kind of sickness and disease. This doesn’t include only the easy ones or simple ones or common ones. The most insidious, the most infectious, the most contagious, the most debilitating diseases of all time are under His authority. Application: We must not despair when we see the evil and sick world around us. We must not despair even if our loved ones are sick. God sees this. He knows this. He can heal. Sometimes He does. And sometimes He has another plan. In both cases, He loves and cares for us. In both cases it is not just a random chance happening. All things are under His control and this gives us hope. It also gives us someone to turn to who can change what we see happening all around us.
- The list of the disciples – The lists recorded in the gospels do have some similarities. For example Simon is always recorded first as the spokesman of the group. Andrew and John and James are always included in the first group of four. And Judas is always included last.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
What can you learn from the phrase “sent out?” How is this an integral part of the mission of the church?
Why did Jesus tell them not to go the Gentiles or the Samaritans? What does this show us about God’s plan for that time? Does this mean that the Gentiles are less valuable or important? Why or why not?
How does he describe the Israelites?
What is the message they were supposed to preach? What does it mean “the kingdom of heaven is at hand?” What is the kingdom of heaven?
What else were they supposed to do? Why do you think Jesus told them to receive no pay for this?
What do you learn from verse 9? Should believes go out without money? Is this instruction just intended for this event or does it still apply? When should we not collect and take money and when should we prepare ahead?
Is there any contradiction between the instruction not to receive pay and the “laborer deserves his food?” What principle can we get from these two statements?
What does it mean to find the one who is worthy?
Why stay there?
How can we understand verse 13?
Is shaking off the dust of our feet a Christian thing to do? Why would Jesus command this? How does this apply to our modern gospel sharing efforts?
Psalm 96:3 – Declare His glory among the nations.
Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
John 12:48 – The one who rejects me will be judged on the last day.
Matthew 7:6 – Do not cast your pearls before swine.
Luke 10:1-12 – Parallel passage.
Mark 6:7-13 – Parallel passage.
Acts 13:47 – I have made you a light to the Gentiles.
1 Timothy 5:18 – A worker is worthy of his wages.
1 Thessalonians 2:9 – We worked night and day so that we would not be a burden to you.
Acts 20:24 – I consider my life as worth nothing to me. My aim is to finish the race.
Mark 8:35 – Whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.
Verse by Verse Commentary
- Jesus sent out the twelve – He had been training them. They had been learning from him. Now was the time to put in to practice what they had been learning. Note that they had not finished (ie: graduated) the three year program yet. There were many questions they couldn’t answer. There were many things they couldn’t understand. They didn’t even understand about Jesus’ coming death and resurrection. But nonetheless Jesus sent them. We learn from here a few important principles:
- We learn by doing. We need to get out and share the gospel rather than just read more books about how to do it. We need to start teaching others the Word rather than just read more books how to do it. An apprentice learning how to fix cars would learn best by opening a car hood and digging in with a set of tools than by reading a book on the theory of fixing cars.
- One need not finish a curriculum or a seminary training or a set of books before starting to go out and share. After sharing they would report back to Jesus what they had experienced and He would help them evaluate it. One example of this is in Mark 9:28. Jesus is modeling for us how to make disciples and the M.A.W.L. (Model – Assist – Watch – Leave or Launch) process.
- He sent them – They went. The first word in the Great Commission is “Go!” One reaches the world by going, not by waiting for people to come to you, your fellowship, or your church. We need to get out of our living rooms and into our neighborhoods, our cities, our campuses, and our communities. Do you go out? Does your church go out? Do you help people in your fellowship or church go out? What is one way or place you can go to share the gospel?
- Verses 5-6 – The disciples had a specific goal, a specific vision. They had a target. This is very important for sharing the gospel. How can you go if you don’t know were you are going or who you are going to? This gave them a clear direction and a clear mission. God had a plan to reach all of the nations. We see this plan carried out in Acts. And we see it prophesied in Isaiah 49:6. However, it was also part of His plan to share first with the Jews. From a methodology standpoint it makes perfect sense. The Jews had knowledge of the Messiah. They had been taught the Old Testament Scriptures. In addition, the disciples spoke the same language. They could communicate with other Jews and understand each other easier. It would have been an easier group for them to start sharing with, with fewer cultural barriers. Beyond this, it was part of God’s sovereign plan to demonstrate that even His own chosen people rejected His Son, which highlights the sinfulness of man and also His mercy in that He never rejects them. Application: What is your vision? Who do you want to reach out to? Do you have a target? Do you pray for these people? Do you take initiative to reach out to them?
- Verse 7 – Preach. Preaching was the center of their message. And they preached that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. What does this mean? To us, it may seem a bit ambiguous. But I don’t think it was to the Jews. See Daniel 2:44, Zechariah 14:9, Revelation 11:15. They would have been expecting a literal kingdom of God over which the Messiah would rule like other governments have done in the past in part, but this one would be over the whole world. Jesus and the disciples preached that this kingdom is at hand. In other words, it is nearby. The people would then be expected to prepare to enter it. Also, they would have realized that Jesus was in essence claiming to be the Messiah. We know that in God’s sovereign plan it wasn’t actually the time for this kingdom yet. People would reject Christ and this literal kingdom would be delayed. One day He will still reign over this literal kingdom. In the meantime, the kingdom of heaven takes spiritual form. He reigns in the heart of those who follow Him. See Philippians 3:20. Application: What are we preaching? Our preaching should have a central message and the central message should be Christ, His death, and His resurrection. It is these things which take first importance.(1 Corinthians 15:3)
- Verse 8 – They were given a secondary goal to take care of people’s physical needs, which goes back to what Jesus had told them in verse 1 of this chapter. It would not be effective to preach a spiritual reality while ignoring a physical need right in front of them. Jesus wanted them to heal and to help these people, which would be visible evidence that what they were saying was trustworthy. Application: We have not been directly given this authority of Christ to do these things as they were. However, His power and authority are still there. So we can boldly pray for healing and cleansing in Jesus’ name. And we should. Offering to pray for people has been one very effective way of sharing the gospel in many regions of the world. Share the story of the wagon driver. He was a poor man who drove a people in a wagon like a cab. On the way he would offer to pray for the passenger. He marked down his request. And over time he saw they were all being answered. After a while people began lining up to take his wagon rather than others. He was a poor and uneducated man who cared for people’s needs and many doors were opened because he prayed for them.
- Verses 9-10 – Jesus wanted His disciples to learn faith. He wanted them to depend completely upon Him and no one and nothing else. Remember that this was also training for them. It is much like a mission training school Brother Andrew attended did, when they sent out the students on a mission trip for several weeks with only one pound (and they were required to give the pound back when they returned). These students saw God work in amazing ways. You see, God wants us to place our trust and hope and security in Him, not in money or our possessions. He may not always require us to minister in the exact same way as the disciples. Neither is this to say that it would be sinful to buy insurance or carry money in your wallet. But the lesson is clear. We must depend on God, not on those physical things? Where is your security? What are you depending on? Would you be willing to trust God and go out to serve Him with nothing to back you up, with no plan B, with no money to fall back on in case of need? Share the example of Brother Andrew and his broken car. He needed 50 additional marks to fix it and he didn’t know where they would come from. A lady on the street walked up and gave his passenger 50 marks saying, “God told me to give this to you.”
- Verse 11 – Inquire who is worthy. In Luke this is referred to as a “son of peace.” It is a person who opens up his home and household to the disciples. He is welcoming. He provides. He is gracious. He is hospitable. He is a good host. And he is willing to listen to the message. Thus he is worthy. Application: We need to look for these kinds of people to share with. We should look for people whose hearts are open, who are hungry and responsive to the Word. Then we should invest our times in these people.
- Task if time allows – Assign one person or two (if enough) to be the evangelist. Assign roles to the other people in the group. Some roles could include not interested, hostile, distractor, and person of peace.The evangelist needs to try to follow the principles in this passage to find the correct person of peace. Afterwards discuss thoughts and share feedback. This activity can be repeated a second time with either 0 or 2 people of peace (without telling the evangelist).
- Verse 12-13 – The disciples were to pronounce a blessing on this person of peace and his house. If he continued to listen and respond to the message the blessing would stay on them. If he finally rejected the message, then the disciples would “take it back.”
- Verses 14-15 – After taking back the blessing, they would leave and shake the dust off of their feet. We see that rejecting Christ comes with very real and very serious consequences (15). We also see that we should invest our time in people who are responsive, not people who reject the Word. One practical application is not to get caught up spending lots of time debating with people who are hostile or apathetic to the gospel. Do not focus on trying to convince them. You won’t be able to. Instead focus your time on the ones who are faithful, available, and teachable. Try to find the people of peace who will receive the message and then share with them. Beyond this ask them to open up their whole “oikos” (group.) And then train them up to be the spiritual leader of that group.
More to come soon
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