Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Friday, October 14, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Oct 15, Mt 10

Today’s reading is Mt 10. Tomorrow's is Mt 14, Mk 6, Lk 9.

In Mt 10, we see the twelve. Jesus sends them out, giving them the authority to proclaim the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and cast out demons (Mt 10:7-8). There are those who claim this is for all believers. Perhaps so, but those who think it is prescriptive of the Christian life frequently neglect to read the rest of the passage. 

The disciples are to do it without pay, without material belongings, without a home, staying with the people preached to along the way (Mt 10:8b-13). They will be flogged, arrested, put to death (Mt 10:17-19). Their families will hate them and there will be hostile division between them and the ones they love (Mt 10:34-39). When all this happens they are to speak the gospel by the power of the Spirit.

Furthermore, they are to do it all only in Israel and only to Israelites (Mt 10:5). Clearly, these instructions are not to the entire body of Christ, but to a select group of people.

These instructions and prophecies are made directly to the twelve. The original prophecy was that the gospel would go to the Jews and Jerusalem first (Ro 1:16; 2:9-10; Acts 1:8). This is how God will use these twelve to spread the gospel. This is also how He will establish His church. The twelve are given this type of authority in order to authenticate the validity of their teaching at a time when the church needs it most. 

During those first few years, there was no completed set of Scriptures to which we can refer. They were still being written. God empowered a small group of men to do extraordinary things in order to give authority to what they wrote and taught. A close examination of the rest of the New Testament will reveal that no one outside the twelve is on record as performing miracles like this.   

While we have the same charge to spread the gospel, we may not necessarily have authority to raise the dead nor the need to be flogged in the synagogues nor have the necessity to travel to Israel to do so. God can certainly heal people, even raise the dead, if He so desires. But, to take what Jesus says to His twelve disciples as a mandate for all Christians would be a mistake. If we do, we would have to take the rest of Mt 10 as a mandate as well.  

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