Red Letter Year: 4/3

Matthew 10:1-15

Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.

Here are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (also called Peter), then Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (son of Zebedee), John (James’s brother),Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus Simon (the zealot), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).

Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. 10 Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.

11 Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. 12 When you enter the home, give it your blessing. 13 If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. 14 If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. 15 I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.


Chapter 9 told of Jesus casting out diseases and healing various ailments. Chapter 10 begins with Jesus authorizing and sending his followers to carry on this same work. He calls specific people and ones at various points on the political spectrum. Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot would have had as much in common with regard to political views as John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. Yet they are called to work together for the kingdom that has a politics all its own, a politics very much on display in chapters 9 and 10 (and also the Sermon on the Mount earlier). They are initially sent only to the Jews in the surrounding towns. This was a test run. Later they were sent everywhere, but broadening the venue is the only change, the rest of this chapter (sometimes called the Sermon on Mission) describes how those who spread the Gospel are to operate. They are to share the good news that Jesus has come. They are to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons – in short, operate in the same kingdom power Jesus demonstrated. They are to travel light and simply, earning sustenance – but not wealth – by their kingdom work. They are to bless the people that receive them and stay with them, not jumping house to house. And they are to move on when rejected. All of these are essential teachings of Jesus. Few of them enjoy anything approaching serious consideration by most who call themselves ministers. Which is quite a shame.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.