Dive230622 – Matthew…10vv1-8

From our previous study ...

    • There is only one God.
    • God is one Being.
    • God is one Being in three Persons.
    • The three Persons in the Godhead are distinct, but not separate.

When used as adjectives, distinct means capable of being perceived very clearly, whereas separate means apart from (the rest)1. Distinct is used when you want to say that something is obviously separate or different from other things. It is often used when talking about more than one thing.

3.1 Who is God the Son?

The Son of God is the second Person of the Trinity, eternally begotten of the Father.  Like the Father, there never was a time when the Son did not exist.  The Son is the eternal Word and the express image of the Father.  The Father created all things through the Son, and the Son sustains all things by his Word.  He was sent by the Father to be God revealed in the flesh for our salvation, Jesus Christ.

  • John 1:1, 10, 14  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • Colossians 1:15-17  15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or [a]principalities or [b]powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
  • Hebrews 1:1-3    God, who [a]at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,   
  • John 3:16  For God so loved the world that He ga ve His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Comment: Note that the question asks “Who is God the Son?” The Son is just as much God as the Father and the Holy Spirit are. Jesus is not a lesser God or a created being. He is fully God

3.2 What do Christians believe in confessing their faith in Jesus Christ as "God's only Son"?

That without ceasing to be the uncreated Son of God, the eternal Son was sent by God the Father “from above” to do a unique work in the Spirit as a true human being, here “below.”  There is only one eternal Son of God by nature.  We become the adopted children of God by the grace of the only eternal Son of God, sharing in the gift of his sonship.

  • Luke 3:21-22  When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”  
  • Luke 12:49-50  “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!  
  • John 8:23  And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  

Comment: While we are sons and daughters of God, we are not eternal like Christ. His sonship and his work as a human paves the way for our adoption as children, but we are not sons and daughters in the same way that Christ is the “Son.” When Jesus became human he didn’t cease to be God.

3.3 How do Christians understand the uniqueness of Jesus Christ?

No one else will ever be God incarnate. No one else can reconcile God and humanity in his own Person. No one else can make us sons and daughters of God except the Son of God. No one else will ever die for the sins of the world, judge all sin, and overcome all evil and the death it brings. Only Jesus Christ is such a Person. Only he could do such a work, and he has done it. Jesus Christ is himself the only true mediator between God and humanity.

  • Isaiah 53:5    But He was wounded for our transgressions,  He was bruised for our iniquities;  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,  And by His stripes we are healed. 
  • John 1:29    The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
  • Colossians 1:15- 20  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or [a]principalities or [b]powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.  19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.   
  • 1 Timothy 2:5    For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Comment: It’s very important that we understand that it is Christ who is unique and not the Church. The Church is not the savior or the way to salvation, Christ is.

3.4 What does the Creed mean when it says that Jesus was "conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary"?

First, that being born of a woman, Jesus was truly a human being. Second, that our Lord's incarnation was a supernatural, holy event, brought about solely by the free divine grace of the Holy Spirit, surpassing any human possibilities. Third, that from the beginning of his life on earth, Jesus was set apart by his unique origin that joined his divine nature with human nature in the womb of Mary, all for the sake of accomplishing our salvation.

  • Luke 1:31, 35  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus ... 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  
  • Hebrews 2:14  Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil
  • Philippians 2:5-7   Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  

Comment: Jesus was a union of human and divine. As God he took on our humanity in himself. As God he experienced life as a human being in the way that we do. He fully experienced the temptation all humans experience.

3.5 What do Christians affirm when they confess their faith in Jesus Christ as their "Lord"?

That having been raised from the dead, Jesus Christ reigns with compassion and justice over all things in heaven and on earth, especially over those who confess him by faith; and that by trusting, loving and serving him above all else, we give glory and honor to God.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,  
  • Revelation 11:15    Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The [a]kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
  • Ephesians 1:20-23  which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  
  • Philippians 2:9-11    Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  

Comment:  The term “Confess your faith” means more than just telling people about Christ.  It means being able to tell people in detail what you believe about him and how that affects your values and lifestyle.  To “affirm” means to state without doubt.  When you affirm, you mean it!

3.6 What is the significance of affirming that Jesus Christ is “true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father”?

Only God deserves worship and only God can reveal to us who God is.  Only God can save us from our sins, forgive us, rescue us from all evil and bring about a new heaven and earth.  Only God can make us truly and eternally his beloved children. Being truly one in being with the Father, Jesus meets these conditions.  As true God, Jesus, the Son incarnate, is the proper object of our worship as the self-revelation of God and the Savior of the world.

  • John 20:28  And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
  • Matthew 11:27  All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 
  • 1 John 4:14    And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Comment:  Jesus is just as much God as the Father. Jesus was not made or created or born in the sense that there was a time that he didn’t exist.  Rather, Jesus is eternal, as is the Father.

3.7 What is the significance of affirming that Jesus is also “truly human”?

Being truly human, Jesus entered fully into our fallen situation and overcame it from within.  By his pure obedience of faith in his Father, he lived in unbroken unity with God, even to the point of accepting a violent death.  As sinners at war with grace, this is precisely the kind of life we fail to live.  When we accept him and what he has done for us by faith, Jesus by his Holy Spirit removes 11 the alienation our disobedience causes, clothes us with his perfect righteousness, and restores us to the right relationship with God that he worked out in his humanity and earthly life.

  • Hebrews 2:17-18  Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being [a]tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.  
  • Hebrews 4:15    For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
  • Hebrews 5:8-9   though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,  
  • Romans 5:19    For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Comment: Because Jesus was human he was able to live the sort of life that we are not able to. Alienation means isolation or distance or separation but it’s a perceived isolation, because in reality God never stops loving us. Sin prevents us from accepting it and makes us feel distanced.

3.8 How can Jesus be both truly God and truly human?

The mystery of Jesus Christ's divine-human unity surpasses our understanding; only faith given to us by the Holy Spirit enables us to affirm it.  When the Bible depicts Jesus as someone with divine power, status and authority, it presupposes his humanity.  When the Bible depicts Jesus as someone with human weakness, neediness and mortality, it presupposes his deity.  Though we cannot understand how this could be, we can trust that the God who made heaven and earth and fashioned humanity according to his image revealed in his Son, is free to become God incarnate and thus to be God with us in this wonderful, awe-inspiring way.

  • Mark 1:27  Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this?  For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”
  • Mark 4:41  And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
  • Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  
  • Luke 22:44  And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
  • John 1:1-5, 14  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it . . . 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  
  • Job 5:9  Who does great things, and unsearchable, Marvelous things without number.  

Comment: In simple terms we can’t really explain this concept. It’s something that God helps us to accept and believe. To presuppose is to assume that something is already in place. So when we talk of Jesus as a man we do it assuming that he is still God and vice versa.

3.9 Was the covenant that God made with Abraham everlasting?

Yes.  The covenant, made first with Abraham, was extended to Israel, then expanded, confirmed and fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.  By faith in Jesus, Gentiles were welcomed into the covenant with God, thus confirming the promise that through Israel, God's blessing would come to all peoples.  Although for the most part Israel has not yet accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the God who has reached out to unbelieving Gentiles will not fail to show mercy to Israel as his people in an everlasting covenant.

  • Jeremiah 31:3  The Lord has appeared [a]of old to me, saying:  “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;  Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.  
  • 2 Samuel 23:5  “Although my house is not so with God, Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things and secure.  For this is all my salvation and all my desire; Will He not make it increase?
  • Romans 11:29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Comment: The covenant made with Abraham pointed the way to Christ.

3.10 How did God use Israel to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus?

When God extended the covenant to Israel, God said they would be his people and he would be their salvation.  He also promised that through them all the peoples of the earth would be blessed.  Therefore, no matter how often Israel turned away from God, God still cared for them and acted on their behalf.  God sent them prophets to declare God's Word, priests to lead them in worship and to make sacrifice for the people's sins, and kings to rule justly in the fear of God, upholding the poor and needy, and defending the people from their enemies.

  • Genesis 17:3-4  Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.  
  • Exodus 6:4-5   I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.  And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.  
  • Galatians 3:14   that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
  • Jeremiah 30:22   ‘You shall be My people, And I will be your God.’ ”
  • 1 Peter 2:9-10   But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.  
  • Zechariah 1:6   Yet surely My words and My statutes, Which I commanded My servants the prophets, Did they not overtake your fathers?   “So they returned and said: ‘Just as the Lord of hosts determined to do to us, According to our ways and according to our deeds, So He has dealt with us.’ ” ’ ” 
  • Leviticus 5:6     and he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin.
  • Psalm 72:1, 4   Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s Son . . . He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor.  

Comment: God’s faithfulness to Israel despite their faithlessness to him created the society into which Jesus was born. God also used Israel to create and preserve the scriptures.

3.11 Why was the title "Christ" applied to Jesus?

“Christ” means “anointed one.” Israel’s prophets, priests and kings were anointed and their offices culminated in Jesus.  By fulfilling the offices of prophet, priest and king, Jesus transformed them. In doing so he fulfilled Israel's election for the sake of the world.

  • 2 Corinthians 1:20  For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
  • Acts 10:37-38  that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
  • Luke 4:17-19   And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”   

Comment:  The term “Christ” was applied to Jesus because he embodied all the characteristics of a king, priest and prophet rolled into one. He was the longed for Savior and Redeemer Israel had hoped for.

3.12 How did Jesus Christ fulfill the office of prophet?

Jesus was God's Word to a dying and sinful world; he embodied the love he proclaimed. His life, death and resurrection became the great “yes” that continues to be spoken despite how often we have said “no” to God. When we receive this Word by faith, Christ enters our hearts that he may dwell in us forever, and we in him.

  • Acts 3:20, 22   and that He may send [a]Jesus Christ, who was [b]preached to you before . . . For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.   
  • John 1:18   No one has seen God at any time.  The only begotten [a]Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.  
  • Ephesians 3:17  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

Comment:  The job of a prophet was to speak to the people for God and tell them what he wanted.  Jesus was a prophet because his life sent a message to Israel telling them of God’s love.

3.13 How did Jesus Christ fulfill the office of priest?

As the lamb of God who took away the sin of the world, Jesus was both our priest and sacrifice. Confronted by our hopelessness in sin and death, he interceded by offering himself in order to reconcile us to God. Jesus now mediates all the things of God to us and our responses back to God. He even mediates and leads in our worship.

(Heb. 4:14; John 1:29; Heb. 2:17; Eph. 1:7)

Comment: The role of a priest is different from a prophet. A priest intercedes for humanity to God i.e. a priest speaks to God on behalf of people. He presents our case.

3.14 How did Jesus Christ fulfill the office of king?

Jesus was the Lord who took the form of a servant; perfecting royal power in temporal weakness. With no sword but the sword of righteousness, and no power but the power of God’s holy love, Christ defeated sin, evil and death by reigning from the cross. He continues to reign at God’s right hand. He is Lord over all authorities and powers whether earthly or heavenly, natural or human, private or political.

(John 19:19; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Cor. 1:25; John 12:32)

Comment: Christ rules very differently from earthly kings. He is first and foremost a servant. It’s important that the Church, the body of Christ reflects this type of leadership.

3.15 What does the Creed affirm in saying that Jesus "was crucified under Pontius Pilate"?

First, that Jesus was rejected and abused by the religious and secular rulers of his day. His lordship was a threat to all evil powers and authorities since his righteousness exposed their injustice. Jesus’ death at the hands of these authorities provided a display that exposed the guilt of all humanity in all times and places.

Second, and even more importantly, though innocent, Jesus submitted to condemnation by an earthly judge so that through him we, though guilty, might be acquitted before our just heavenly Judge.

(Luke 18:32; Is. 53:3; Ps. 9:9; Luke 1:52; 2 Cor. 5:21; 2 Tim. 4:8)

Comment: Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, at a specific time and place, but the significance of his death extends to all times and places. Scripture describes it in several ways: he died for us, he died for our sins, and we died with him.


3.16 What does the Creed affirm in saying that Jesus “suffered death and was buried"?

That Jesus died, just like we do, showing that there is no sorrow he has not known, no grief he has not borne, and no price he was unwilling to pay to reconcile us to God. Jesus’ real death (confirmed by his burial) shows that he has taken on the ultimate consequence of sin, which is death. Rather than shrinking back, he endured death in order to overcome it. There is nothing we go through, not even death, that Jesus cannot redeem.

(Matt. 26:38-39; Is. 53:5; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:19)

Comment: The Creed says he “suffered death and was buried” but the statement is deeper and more profound than many of us imagine.


3.17 Why did Jesus have to suffer as he did?

Because grace is more abundant, and sin more serious, than we suppose. However cruelly we may treat one another, all sin is primarily against God. God condemns sin, yet never judges apart from grace. In giving Jesus to die for us, God took the burden of our sin into himself, where he judged it and removed it once and for all. The cross in all its severity reveals an abyss of sin endured and swallowed up by the suffering of divine love. Undoing sin and its consequences involves great cost to God — the price Jesus paid to make all things right, a price he willingly paid “for the joy that was set before him.”

(Ps. 51:4; Rom. 8:1, 3-4; 1 Cor. 1:18; 5:8; Col. 1:20; James 2:13; Heb. 12:2)

Comment: Sometimes because we are sheltered or don’t experience certain things we don’t often realize the depravity and cruelty that occurs in the world. But the suffering on the cross lays bare the depth of the pain and agony that Jesus endured to heal.  I’d just add … Sin has consequences other than death.  Sin doesn’t just cause death … Sin causes suffering (pain, sorrow, etc.).  Christ paid for everything that sin causes – suffering, as well as death.

3.18 What does the Creed affirm in saying about Jesus that "on the third day he rose again"?

That our Lord could not be held by evil and the power of death. Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus overcame all evil and its ultimate consequence, renewing and restoring human nature to reach God’s intended purposes for all human beings. Jesus rose triumphant from the grave in a new, exalted kind of human life. In showing his followers the scars on his hands, feet and side, the one who was crucified revealed himself to them as the living Lord and Savior of the world.

(Acts 2:24; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Luke 24:36-40; John 20:15-18; 1 Cor. 15:5-8; John 20:27)

Comment: When the Church Fathers crafted the Creed to say “rose on the third day,” it has a deep level of meaning, much deeper than we initially anticipate. It’s not just about a physical resurrection. Some words and phrases carry weight. For example, the term “marriage.”Its meaning is much more than just a legal ceremony, it encompasses the impact of the union of two people.


3.19 What does the Creed affirm in saying that Christ "ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father" and that he will “come again in glory”?

Forty days after his bodily resurrection, Jesus was taken up bodily and visibly into heaven to be with the Father. He did not leave his human nature behind, but remains fully human, though now glorified. One with us and with the Father, Jesus is the one mediator between human beings and God. As one of us, he continues his intercessions on our behalf. Though now visibly hidden from us, Jesus is not cut off from us in the remote past, nor is he in a place from which he cannot reach us. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is present to us by grace. From heaven he reigns with the authority of the Father, protecting us, guiding us, and interceding for us until he returns visibly and bodily to earth in glory. We now live between the times of his first and second advents, awaiting his return.

(Acts 1:6-11; Col. 3:1, 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25)

Comment: Look at 1 Tim 2:5. You may not have noticed this but the scripture tells us that Jesus is still a man, that is he still retains his humanity even at the right hand of God.


3.20 What does the Creed mean when it says that Jesus, when he returns in glory, will “judge the living and the dead”?

Scripture teaches that all humans will stand in the general resurrection before the judgment seat of Christ. The Judge before whom they will stand is the one who submitted to God’s judgment for our sake. By him our sin is identified and judged as evil, and in him it is condemned to obliteration so that we can be separated from our sin and be saved in him from evil’s ultimate destruction. That is the grace of God’s judgment in Jesus Christ.

(John 5:22; 2 Cor 5:10; Rom. 14:10-11)


3.21 What will be the results of such a judgment?

Standing personally before the One who is their Lord and Savior, everyone will give an answer as to whether they will bow to him willingly and enter the kingdom of God prepared for them, or unwillingly bow and refuse to enter and exist under his gracious lordship forever. Thus, there will be a final separation of all those who repent and acknowledge their sin and their need for grace to deliver them from sin and be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, and those who refuse to repent and receive God’s grace.

(Phil. 2:10-11)


3.22 What will be the spiritual condition of those who refuse to acknowledge their need for forgiveness, refuse to repent and confess their sin, and despise God’s grace for them in Jesus Christ?

All those who refuse will have rejected God’s righteous and merciful judgment in Christ, and the separation of themselves from their sin that is available in Christ. They will have come to the place of knowingly and deliberately blaspheming or repudiating the Spirit who draws them and extends to them forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God accomplished for them by Jesus according to the Father’s will. Clinging to their sin in pride, they will condemn God and justify themselves against God, charging God with being evil.

(Matt. 12:32; Heb. 2:3; 4:1-2; 6:3-6; 10:36-39)

Comment: This describes a situation where a person knowingly and deliberately rejects Christ. This is not a situation where a person is deceived or confused. This is an informed or consciously chosen decision.


3.23 What will be the ultimate consequences for those who self-righteously repudiate and despise God and all his benefits in Jesus Christ?

Repudiating God’s grace to deliver them from evil, bound to their sin, they will experience the ultimate condemnation of evil. They will experience this condemnation, not so much because of their sins, but because of their refusal to repent and the rejection of the grace extended to them through the merciful judgment executed upon sin for them in Jesus Christ.

(2 Cor. 5:10; Eccl. 12:14; Acts 17:31; Rom. 8:38-39; 1 John 4:17; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; Acts 10:42)

Comment: While God never stops loving people, it looks like there will be some sort of final separation from God. This is not driven by God’s desire to punish but the outcome of a final and blanket refusal to acknowledge Christ and the grace that he offers. If someone freely chooses not to be included, God is not going to force him or her to be so.


SONG – His Eye is on The Sparrow – Lynda Randle et al

Matthew 10:1-8 w/ Barclay’s Commentary


From Barclay's Commentary on  Matthew ... 

Matt. 10:1-4  

Methodically, and yet with a certain drama, Matthew unfolds his story of Jesus.  In the story of the Baptism, Matthew shows us Jesus accepting his task. I n the story of the Temptations, Matthew shows us Jesus deciding on the method which he will use to embark upon his task.  In the Sermon on the Mount, we listen to Jesus' words of wisdom.   In Matt. 8, we look on Jesus' deeds of power. In Matt. 9, we see the growing opposition gathering itself against Jesus. And now we see Jesus choosing his men.  

If a leader is about to embark upon any great undertaking, the first thing that he must do is to choose his staff.  On them the present effect and the future success of his work both depend.  Here Jesus is choosing his staff, his right-hand men, his helpers in the days of his flesh, and those who would carry on his work when he left this earth and returned to his glory.  

There are two facts about the men which are bound to strike us at once.

(i) They were very ordinary men.  They had no wealth; they had no academic background; they had no social position.  They were chosen from the common people, men who did the ordinary things, men who had no special education, men who had no social advantages.  

It has been said that Jesus is looking, not so much for extraordinary men, as for ordinary men who can do ordinary things extraordinarily well.  Jesus sees in every man, not only what that man is, but also what he can make him.  Jesus chose these men, not only for what they were, but also for what they were capable of becoming under his influence and in his power.  

No man need ever think that he has nothing to offer Jesus, for Jesus can take what the most ordinary man can offer and use it for greatness.  

(ii) They were the most extraordinary mixture.  There was, for instance, Matthew, the tax-gatherer.  All men would regard Matthew as a quisling, as one who had sold himself into the hands of his country's masters for gain, the very reverse of a patriot and a lover of his country.  And with Matthew there was Simon the Cananaean. Luke (Lk.6:16) calls him Simon Zelotes, which means Simon the Zealot. 

Josephus (Antiquities, 8. 1. 6.) describes these Zealots; he calls them the fourth party of the Jews; the other three parties were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes.  He says that they had "an inviolable attachment to liberty," and that they said that "God is to be their ruler and Lord."  They were prepared to face any kind of death for their country, and did not shrink to see their loved ones die in the struggle for freedom.  They refused to give to any earthly man the name and the title of king.  They had an immovable resolution which would undergo any pain.  They were prepared to go the length of secret murder and stealthy assassination to seek to rid their country of foreign rule.  They were the patriots par excellence among the Jews, the most nationalist of all the nationalists.  

The plain fact is that if Simon the Zealot had met Matthew the tax-gatherer anywhere else than in the company of Jesus, he would have stuck a dagger in him.  Here is the tremendous truth that men who hate each other can learn to love each other when they both love Jesus Christ.  Too often religion has been a means of dividing menIt was meant to be -- and in the presence of the living Jesus it was -- a means of bringing together men who, without Christ, were sundered from each other.  

We may ask why Jesus chose twelve special apostles.  The reason is very likely because there were twelve tribes; just as in the old dispensation there had been twelve tribes of Israel, so in the new dispensation there are twelve apostles of the new Israel.  The New Testament itself does not tell us very much about these men.  As Plummer has it: "In the New Testament it is the work, and not the workers, that is glorified."  But, although we do not know much about them, the New Testament is very conscious of their greatness in the Church, for the Revelation tells us that the twelve foundation stones of the Holy City are inscribed with their names (Revelation 21:14 ... cf. Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:28-30).  These men, simple men with no great background, men from many differing spheres of belief, were the very foundation stones on which the Church was builtIt is on the stuff of common men and women that the Church of Christ is founded.  



Matthew 10:1-4 (continued)

When we put together the three accounts of the calling of the Twelve (Matt. 10:1-4; Mk.3:13-19; Lk.6:13-16) certain illuminating facts emerge. 

(i) He chose them.  Lk.6:13 says that Jesus called his disciples and chose from them twelve.  It is as if Jesus' eyes moved over the crowds who followed him, and the smaller band who stayed with him when the crowds had departed, and as if all the time he was searching for the men to whom he could commit his work.  As it has been said, "God is always looking for hands to use."  God is always saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (Isa.6:8).  

There are many tasks in the Kingdom, the task of him who must go out and the task of him who must stay at home, the task of him who must use his hands and the task of him who must use his mind, the task which will fasten the eyes of all upon the doer and the task which no one will ever see.  And always Jesus' eyes are searching the crowds for those who will do his work.   

(ii) He called them. Jesus does not compel a man to do his work; he offers him work to do.  Jesus does not coerce; he invites.  Jesus does not make conscripts; he seeks volunteers.  As it has been put, a man is free to be faithful and free to be faithless.  But to every man there comes the summons which he can accept or refuse.   

(iii) He appointed them. The King James Version has it that he ordained them (Mk.3:14).  The word which is translated ordain is the simple Greek word poiein (GSN4160), which means to make or to do; but which is often technically used for appointing a man to some officeJesus was like a king appointing his men to be his ministers; he was like a general allocating their tasks to his commanders.  It was not a case of drifting unconsciously into the service of Jesus Christ; it was a case of definitely being appointed to itA man might well be proud, if he is appointed to some earthly office by some earthly king; how much more shall he be proud when he is appointed by the King of kings?  

(iv) These men were appointed from amongst the disciples. The word disciple means a learnerThe men whom Christ needs and desires are the men who are willing to learn.  The shut mind cannot serve him. The servant of Christ must be willing to learn more every dayEach day he must be a step nearer Jesus and a little nearer God.  

(v) The reasons why these men were chosen are equally significant. They were chosen to be with him (Mk.3:14).  If they were to do his work in the world, they must live in his presence, before they went out to the world; they must go from the presence of Jesus into the presence of men.   

It is told that on one occasion Alexander Whyte preached a most powerful and a most moving sermon.  After the service a friend said to him: "You preached today as if you had come straight from the presence of Jesus Christ."  Whyte answered: "Perhaps I did."  

No work of Christ can ever be done except by him who comes from the presence of Christ.  Sometimes in the complexity of the activities of the modern Church we are so busy with committees and courts and administration and making the wheels go round that we are in danger of forgetting that none of these things matters, if it is carried on by men who have not been with Christ before they have been with men.

(vi) They were called to be apostles (Mk.3:14; Lk.6:13). The word apostle literally means one who is sent out; it is the word for an envoy or an ambassadorThe Christian is Jesus Christ's ambassador to men.  He goes forth from the presence of Christ, bearing with him the word and the beauty of his Master.  

(vii) They were called to be the heralds of Christ.  In Matt.10:7 they are bidden to preach. The word is kerussein (GSN2784), which comes from the noun kerux (GSN2783), which means a herald. The Christian is the herald Christ. That is why he must begin in the presence of ChristThe Christian is not meant to bring to men his own opinions; he brings a message of divine certainties from Jesus Christ -- and he cannot bring that message unless first in the presence he has received it.   



Matt. 10:5-8a   

Here we have the beginning of the King's commission to his messengers.  The word which is used in the Greek for Jesus commanding his men, or giving them orders is interesting and illuminating.  It is the word paragellein. This word in Greek has four special usages.

  1. It is the regular word of military command; Jesus was like a general sending his commanders out on a campaign, and briefing them before they went. 
  2. It is the word used of calling one's friends to one's help.  Jesus was like a man with a great ideal summoning his friends to make that ideal come true. 
  3. It is the word which is used of a teacher giving rules and precepts to his students.  Jesus was like a teacher sending his students out into the world, equipped with his teaching and his message. 
  4. It is the word which is regularly used for an imperial command.  Jesus was like a king despatching his ambassadors into the world to carry out his orders and to speak for him. 

This passage begins with what everyone must find a very difficult instruction.  It begins by forbidding the twelve to go to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans.  There are many who find it very difficult to believe that Jesus ever said this at all. This apparent exclusiveness is very unlike him; and it has been suggested that this saying was put into his mouth by those who in the later days wished to keep the gospel for the Jews, the very men who bitterly opposed Paul, when he wished to take the gospel to the Gentiles.  

But there are certain things to be remembered.  This saying is so uncharacteristic of Jesus that no one could have invented it; he must have said it, and so there must be some explanation.  

We can be quite certain it was not a permanent command.  Within the gospel itself, we see Jesus talking graciously and intimately to a woman of Samaria and revealing himself (Jn.4:4-42); we see him telling one of his immortal stories to her (Lk.10:30); we see him healing the daughter of Syro-Phoenician woman (Matt. 15:28); and Matthew himself tells us of Jesus' final commission of his men to go out into all the world and to bring all nations into the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20).   What then is the explanation?  

The twelve were forbidden to go to the Gentiles; that meant that they could not go north into Syria, nor could they even go east into the Decapolis, which was largely a Gentile region.  They could not go south into Samaria for that was forbidden. The effect of this order was in actual fact to limit the first journeys of the twelve to Galilee.  There were three good reasons for that.  

(i) The Jews had in God's scheme of things a very special place; in the justice of God they had to be given the first offer of the gospel. It is true that they rejected it, but the whole of history was designed to give them the first opportunity to accept.

(ii) The twelve were not equipped to preach to the Gentiles. They had neither the background, nor the knowledge nor the technique. Before the gospel could be effectively brought to the Gentiles a man with Paul's life and background had to emerge. A message has little chance of success, if the messenger is ill-equipped to deliver it. If a preacher or teacher is wise, he will realize his limitations, and will see clearly what he is fitted and what he is not fitted to do.

(iii) But the great reason for this command is simply this -- any wise commander knows that he must limit his objectives.  He must direct his attack at one chosen point.  If he diffuses his forces here, there and everywhere, he dissipates his strength and invites failure.  The smaller his forces the more limited his immediate objective must be.  To attempt to attack on too broad a front is simply to court disasterJesus knew that, and his aim was to concentrate his attack on Galilee, for Galilee, as we have seen, was the most open of all parts of Palestine to a new gospel and a new message (compare on Matt. 4:12-17).  This command of Jesus was a temporary command.  He was the wise commander who refused to diffuse and dissipate his forces; he skilfully concentrated his attack on one limited objective in order to achieve an ultimate and universal victory.    



Matt. 10:5-8a (continued)

The King's messengers had words to speak and deeds to do.

(i) They had to announce the imminence of the Kingdom. As we have seen (compare on Matt. 6:10-11) the Kingdom of God is a society on earth, where God's will is as perfectly done as it is in heaven. Of all persons who ever lived in the world Jesus was, and is, the only person who ever perfectly did, and obeyed, and fulfilled, God's will. Therefore in him the Kingdom had come. It is as if the messengers of the King were to say, "Look! You have dreamed of the Kingdom, and you have longed for the Kingdom. Here in the life of Jesus is the Kingdom. Look at him, and see what being in the Kingdom means." In Jesus the Kingdom of God had come to men.

(ii) But the task of the twelve was not confined to speaking words; it involved doing deeds. They had to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cleanse the lepers, to cast out demons. All these injunctions are to be taken in a double sense. They are to be taken physically, because Jesus Christ came to bring health and healing to the bodies of men. But they are also to be taken spiritually. They describe the change wrought by Jesus Christ in the souls of men.

(a) They were to heal the sick. The word used for sick is very suggestive. It is a part of the Greek verb asthenein (GSN0770), the primary meaning of which is to be weak; asthenes (GSN0772) is the standard Greek adjective for weak. When Christ comes to a man, he strengthens the weak will, he buttresses the weak resistance, he nerves the feeble arm for fight, he confirms the weak resolution. Jesus Christ fills our human weakness with his divine power.

(b) They were to raise the dead. A man can be dead in sin. His will to resist can be broken; his vision of the good can be darkened until it does not exist; he may be helplessly and hopelessly in the grip of his sins, blind to goodness and deaf to God. When Jesus Christ comes into a man's life, he resurrects him to goodness, he revitalizes the goodness within us which our sinning has killed.

(c) They were to cleanse the lepers. As we have seen, the leper was regarded as polluted. Leviticus says of him, "He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp" (Lev.13:46). 2Kgs.7:3-4 shows us the lepers who only in the day of deadly famine dared to enter into the city. 2Kgs.15:5 tells us how Azariah the king was smitten with leprosy, and to the day of his death he had to live in a lazar house, separated from all men. It is interesting to note that even in Persia this pollution of the leper was believed in. Herodotus (1: 138) tells us that, "if a man in Persia has the leprosy he is not snowed to enter into a city or to have any dealings with any other Persians; he must, they say, have sinned against the sun."

So, then, the twelve were to bring cleansing to the polluted. A man can stain his life with sin; he can pollute his mind, his heart, his body with the consequences of his sin. His words, his actions, his influence can become so befouled that they are an unclean influence on all with whom he comes into contact. Jesus Christ can cleanse the soul that has stained itself with sin; he can bring to men the divine antiseptic against sin; he cleanses human sin with the divine purity.

(d) They were to cast out demons. A demon-possessed man was a man in the grip of an evil power; he was no longer master of himself and of his actions; the evil power within had him in its mastery. A man can be mastered by evil; he can be dominated by evil habits; evil can have a mesmeric fascination for him. Jesus comes not only to cancel sin, but to break the power of cancelled sin. Jesus Christ brings to men enslaved by sin the liberating power of God.  



Matt. 10:8b-10   

This is a passage in which every sentence and every phrase would ring an answering bell in the mind of the Jews who heard it. In it Jesus was giving to his men the instructions which the Rabbis at their best gave to their students and disciples.

"Freely you have received," says Jesus, "freely give." A Rabbi was bound by law to give his teaching freely and for nothing; the Rabbi was absolutely forbidden to take money for teaching the Law which Moses had freely received from God. In only one case could a Rabbi accept payment. He might accept payment for teaching a child, for to teach a child is the parent's task, and no one else should be expected to spend time and labour doing what is the parent's own duty to do; but higher teaching had to be given without money and without price.

In the Mishnah the Law lays it down that, if a man takes payment for acting as a judge, his judgments are invalid; that, if he takes payment for giving evidence as a witness, his witness is void.  Rabbi Zadok said, "Make not the Law a crown wherewith to aggrandize thyself, nor a spade wherewith to dig."  Hillel said, "He who makes a worldly use of the crown of the Law shall waste away.  Hence thou mayest infer that whosoever desires a profit for himself from the words of the Law is helping on his own destruction."  It was laid down: "As God taught Moses gratis--so do thou."

There is a story of Rabbi Tarphon. At the end of the fig harvest he was walking in a garden; and he ate some of the figs which had been left behind.  The watchmen came upon him and beat him.  He told them who he was, and because he was a famous Rabbi they let him go.  All his life he regretted that he had used his status as a Rabbi to help himself.  "Yet all his days did he grieve, for he said, `Woe is me, for I have used the crown of the Law for my own profit!'"  

When Jesus told his disciples that they had freely received and must freely give, he was telling them what the teachers of his own people had been telling their students for many a day.  If a man possesses a precious secret it is surely his duty, not to hug it to himself until he is paid for it, but willingly to pass it onIt is a privilege to share with others the riches God has given us.     






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