16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
As I have already said, apostle literally refers to those who are sent. Jesus is the Apostle from God. The 12 apostles were rulers and missionaries for the early church. Now we are apostles. I agree with those who see verse 23 above, as an indication that the work of going from town to town talking about Jesus and His kingdom will not be completed until he returns. The commission of disciples here foreshadows the Great Commission in chapter 28 where the apostles are sent out to Jerusalem, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. We need to see ourselves as having a mission to these three phases. We must step up and share the truth, as God has revealed it, and overcome our fear of mankind. I know that I have trouble overcoming my fears, but Jesus has warned us that there will be opposition. In the end the truth will win, however, for now all might not seem like it is going well. Agnosticism and atheism are on the rise in North America. This generation wants the freedom to construct their own religions in a way that they think best serves themselves. They acuse us of following a man-made religion that is false, but our God is so much more ‘other’ than the God they are constructing. White Europeans construct a nationalistic Jesus who upholds those who wield power. Women create a feminist God whose primary concern is for women. Homosexuals construct a gay Jesus who never married because he loved his disciples in sexual ways. The Jesus of the Bible does not fit into these false constructions. The Jesus of Matthew warns that when his disciples present a picture of the kingdom that demands change and not blanket affirmation, people will react violently and persecute Jesus’ followers. However, the truth must be told and we must stand until the end.
- About what does Jesus warn his apostles?
- What area will apostles still be reaching when Jesus comes?
- About what should apostles not worry?
- In what ways are you NOT an apostle?
- In what ways are you called to be an apostle?