Christ calls twelve apostles
1: And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2: Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The 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 publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4: Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Christ gives instructions regarding their mission
5: These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7: And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9: Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10: Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11: And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12: And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13: And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14: And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15: Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 16: Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17: But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18: And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19: But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20: For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21: And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22: And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23: But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24: The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25: It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
At this stage of Christ’s Ministry he calls the Disciples together and specifically gives them Apostolic Power over unclean Spirits and to heal all manner of diseases. This power never leaves them until the end of their ministry in about AD 70. Christ also names them and numbers them. These twelve were ‘sent forth’ in other words they were Apostles. They were instructed very carefully not to go to Gentiles. There ministry would always be exclusively to the Jews and even after Gentiles are brought into the church late in the Acts their ministry is still to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews. They were sent specifically to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And their message was to call on Israel to return unto the LORD their God, because the Kingdom was near at hand. Their ministry was to be given freely. (This was the reason why Paul in particular supported himself as much as possible) They were to go out relying on the custom of hospitality in Israel, having no money or script. They were not to take spare shoes coats or even a staff. Because says Christ the workman is worthy of his hire. They are to be self supporting and dependant on the customary kindness of Israel and relying on God. Next the Lord explains that if they come to a house and they find they are worthy them their peace is to remain but if not their peace is to return to them. If they are not welcomed and if they are not listened to then they are to shake off the dust from their feet. The judgment of God will be very stringent on those who reject them. The Apostles are to be a wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Next Christ warns them that they will be betrayed by their own country men who will deliver them to councils and scourge then in Synagogues. This explains the persecution and imprisonment of Peter and Paul. They will be delivered to Kings and governors and when this happens, they are not to worry but rely on the LORD for help. (In this passage Christ is speaking as if the Church age never happens. He goes right on to describe the continuation of the apostolic mission right on into the Tribulation and the end of it by the tribulations saints. There will be betrayals even in the family and they will be hated of all men for Christ’s sake but those who endure to the end will be delivered from death.) When they are persecuted in one city they are to flee to another (Paul escapes from Damascus) and their mission will not be completely finished before Christ returns in glory and power to establish the Kingdom. Christ lastly warns them of terrible persecution.