1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
4 Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts,
10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.
11 “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.
12 And when you go into a household, greet it.
13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.
14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.
15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.
18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!
26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 For 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’;
36 and ‘A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THOSE OF HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD.’
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”
Following Christ and going out into the world as His disciple is the greatest opportunity we’ve been given. It is the sharing of this amazing life we’ve received that is deliverance from the darkness and into the wonderful light of His presence. The same blessings we have freely received we have the power to impart. Our invitation to follow does not leave anything out about what following will actually include, though. It will not be to light, fluffy clouds of bliss that we go, but to incredible challenges and threats that will take endurance to overcome. When those trials arise, then, they cannot be used to determine that following was not the right or Godly choice. They will actually be validation that your life has taken on significance and meaning. We don’t discover our true life until the life that can be dissuaded by these things is lost.
What an honor it is to join with Christ in receiving opposition and resistance from an ungodly world. We should have it no other way, disallowing any relationship, no matter how near, from diverting us from truly following Him all the way to our triumphant end.
14And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
The time in which this was written has a lot to do with the directives to “shake off the dust and leave if not received.” There was much persecution and danger in this time but as we know, this is still an issue for us as believers. People are unwilling to receive from us or rejecting our message in this hour. It seems to have heightened even in recent years as we approach the end of time.
We can’t possibly move every time someone rejects the message we bring. There is also something to be said about persevering through adversity and not losing our confidence in what God is doing in and through us. We don’t run away every time things get hard.
It is vital for us to remember that everything we do in life is seed. If we are rejecting a fellow believer and/or the message they carry, based on something we have reasoned in our minds or purely out of criticisms, we are planting seeds into our own future to reap a harvest of rejection. “Whatever a man sows, that will he reap.”
The world will deny Christ at times, reject the help we offer, at times, and refuse to hear the heart of God through the messages we carry, at times. The body of Christ should be the very place where our message is welcomed and we are loved and received, not judged or criticized. I’m remembering an old song we used to sing in youth…” and they’ll know we are Christian’s by our love, by our love and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
Do they see/feel our love If we are backbiting or carrying offense or a critical spirit (even if we find scripture and back it up with the Word— remember, the devil did that against Jesus during his wilderness season.) The love of Christ should be evident in and through us. It’s FRUIT! The love chapter tells us to “believe the best and to not look at a suffered wrong.”
Accusing others is a wrong spirit and is not the heart of God. We MUST check our own hearts and not look to our brothers and sisters as our enemies. If we have ought against someone, we are to pray and then leave it with God. The Holy Spirit will make the adjustments. We have to trust our prayers are working. Fault finding is not a “gift from God.” Let’s not be wolves within our own pack. Let’s be doers of the Word- always looking for the best in others, only seeing each other through Gods eyes. Knowing no man after the flesh but by the Spirit! This is how we are wise and harmless!
We have so much to give! Don’t allow the enemy to trip you up over small things. We serve a big God. He is able to make all grace abound! Give the grace that you’ve freely received and plant good seeds into your future!