Matthew 9:35-38 Jesus is in ministry, and talking with his disciples about the need of the people and in Matthew 10:1-8 Jesus sends his disciples out on a mission trip to address that need, telling them how to focus their labors.
Then there is a transition away from the actual work. Instructions on where to stay lead to warnings that are increasingly apocalyptic:
- 10:9-14 Jesus adds specifics about where to stay and not to stay while on the trip.
- 10:15 Jesus gives a warning about how rotten it will be on Judgment Day for towns that reject the disciples.
- 10:16 Jesus says how he’s sending them into danger.
- 10:17-20 Jesus predicts that they’ll be arrested and have to testify for him, but the Spirit will provide.
- 10:21-22 Jesus predicts that families will be divided over him, and they’ll have to endure through being hatred.
- 10:23 Jesus tells them to flee persecution, and keep preaching as they go, which won’t be done “before the Son of Man comes.”
There is a real shift here.
At first Jesus is talking to the twelve about what they are going to do over the next chapter or so. (Matthew is not at all clear about when they came back. Mark is much tidier about such narrative details.) There is no indication that on this mission trip they faced opposition, arrest, or hatred.
By the end, Jesus is talking about things that go on between the end of his earthly ministry and his return at the end of the age — things like opposition, arrest, and hatred.
Used with permission – Gary Neal Hansen, Ph.D Website & Blog: garynealhansen.com
Book: Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers (InterVarsity Press, 2012)