5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.”

11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Matt 10:5-16 (NIV)

Here our Lord gives specific directives to the Twelve Apostles prior to their first mission. What was given to them at this time in its entirety should not be assumed applicable to those commissioned by Jesus at various other times. Indeed, in Luke the Lord sends His disciples on special mission to the Gentiles with instructions quite opposite from those in our verses for today:
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. 36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Luke 22:35-36 (NIV)

Also, the Great Commission given by Jesus prior to His Ascension included going into all the world – teaching all nations. Yet the first offer of salvation was to be made to the Jewish nation. It is the chronological pattern throughout the Gospels and Acts. The establishing of the kingdom depended and still depends upon the response of Israel. In speaking to a Jewish audience, Peter’s words in Acts confirm this point:

25 “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” Acts 3:25-26 (NIV)

Regarding the comparisons in the differing commissions Jesus set forth, I am reminded of the Truth of King Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes:

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: Eccl 3:1 (NIV)

The message Jesus both preaches and passes on, however, forever remains the same - 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Both He and the Baptist taught it as well as every other subsequent true witness for the Lord Jesus. The message was and is one of preparation and repentance for the hearer. It is the basics that are to be continually preached and gone over. People need to have these good truths pressed again and again upon them. We discover earlier in Matthew the words of John the Baptist and of our Lord Jesus as they preached to the lost sheep of Israel:

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Matt 3:1-2 (NIV)

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Matt 4:17 (NIV)
“Sometime after 1950 we forgot what Jesus said to Peter and what was passed on to us. ‘Take care of my sheep’ (John 21:16). There are ferocious wolves (Matthew 7:15). ‘You are to be a witness to the ends of the Earth’ (Acts 1:8). This is a commission that still holds true today. This is a very personal command to each believer, personally, privately. The all important question is whether you are getting out the work of God, or have you retired?” Wales Goebel
If one desired or desires participation in the Kingdom of God, repentance was and is mandatory. God was and is moving towards establishing His glorious kingdom and if fellowship with Him was and is to be enjoyed, one must turn (repent) from sinful and erring ways and embrace Christ’s righteousness and Truth. The disciples were to go forth in love - courteously and civilly. Souls are drawn to Christ with cords of human kindness and kept with ties of love.

"The gospel...should be seen as not only a message of good news for lost people to be saved from sin's penalty, but also a message of good news for Christian people to be saved from sin's domineering power. The goal of the gospel is not merely to forgive us, but to change us into true worshippers of God and authentic lovers of people." Dr. Steve Childers

“Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.” D. T. Niles

What I Glean

  • I am to go forth in Jesus’ Name preaching peace through repentance.
  • The Great Commission still holds true for me today.
  • The gospel not only is a message of salvation but also changes me into a true worshipper of God and an authentic lover of people.