Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
2. The Calling of the Twelve Disciples
(Matthew 10:1-4)
1And when He had called his twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.2Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;4Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. (Mark3:13-19;6:7; Luke6:12-16;9:1)


Christ commanded His disciples, before ordaining them, to be His servants, that they should pray for God to send out laborers into His harvest. The Lord calls you, before every activity or movement, to pray. He that does not pray for the lost, nor loves them, nor visits them, cannot be a preacher for Christ. Neither your talents, nor your diplomas, can qualify you to the ministry of the Lord. It is only your prayers, faith and care for the salvation of many that are the start to the fulfillment of the calling.
All that while, Christ had kept these twelve in a state of probation. He knows what is in a man, and though He knew what was in them, yet He used this method as an example for His church.
The service for Jesus is a great trust. It is fit that a minister should be tested for a time, before he is entrusted with it. Let him first be proved. Therefore, hands must not be laid hastily on any minister, for “some men’s sins precede them, others follow” (1 Timothy 5:22,24).
Christ called His ambassadors from among those who had repented with John the Baptist and those who had followed Jesus for a long time. They had heard Him preaching and seen Him healing and received from Him spiritual power. He who aims at the ministry of preaching without being called by Christ, gives empty teaching and hurts himself and his church with thoughts originating from his dry mind. But he who is sent by Christ received power to lead many to repentance and renewal of heart. He does not glorify his own name by his acts, but gives the whole glory to his Savior Jesus, who was raised from the dead, who works through His servants as if He were present in them. The apostles healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons, not by their own power nor in their own name, but in the name of the living Christ.
The secret of success in the Acts of the Apostles finds its explanation in Christ’s calling. Examine yourself. Are you really called by Christ to serve Him, or do you want to minister because you have failed to master any other job? Beware, for the Lord has no delight in those who intrude upon ministry and are not called into it. Pray that you may receive the guidance and the call from the Lord, for the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest, now, by faith, to send out laborers into His harvest.
Christ is the king who supervises His kingdom. He chose ambassadors and sent them according to His plan. He tested them, not in a human way, but in His supernormal wisdom. He, who looks great in this world, is lowly before God, yet God will fill the one that looks simple before men with His divine power.
Christ’s disciples did not come from those who were highly educated or cultured. They were like other men. Some of them were fishermen who experienced weariness and exhausting hard work amidst the storms and the danger of the high seas of practical life. We have all been spiritually feeding on the power of Christ through His disciples up to this day for they have carried His gospel and power into the world. We have been saved as a result of their ministry and are living by their testimony and sacrifices.
Those disciples were with Christ as students, and He taught them privately, besides the benefit they derived from His public preaching. He explained the scriptures to them and opened their understanding to comprehend the scriptures. To them it was given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, and to them they were made plain.
All who desire to be teachers must first be learners. They must receive that they can give. They must be able to teach others. The gospel must be firm in them, before they be commissioned to be gospel ministers. To give men authority to teach others, that have not ability, is but a mockery to God and the church. It is sending “a message by the hand of a fool” (Proverbs 26:6). Christ taught His disciples before He sent them forth. These preachers were sent out destitute of all external advantages to recommend them. They had no wealth, nor learning, nor titles of honor, and they made a very mean figure. It was therefore necessary that they should have some extraordinary power to advance them above the scribes.
If we ponder on the names of the disciples and their relation to Jesus, we find three overlapping circles. The first is a selection of four disciples that were close to Jesus, whom He acquainted with the spiritual mysteries and the secrets of His heart. The second is a group of four disciples whom we know by virtue of their manners. However, Mathew considers himself one of them and called himself the tax collector. The third group is the farthest from the center, which is composed of four disciples of whom we know no more, from the scripture, than their names, excluding Judas Iscariot, the traitor. There was wisdom in calling the twelve, for their number symbolizes three multiplied by four, referring to the mixing between heaven and earth. Christ always carried the names of the twelve within His heart as the chief priest carries the names of the twelve tribes of his people in the plaque on his chest. Thus, Christ carries you today. If your heart is broken or renewed, the Lord will send you out into His harvest.
Judas Iscariot is always named last and with a black brand upon his name: “who also betrayed him.” This indicates that from the beginning, Christ knew what a wretch he was and that he would prove a traitor! Yet Christ took him among the apostles, that it might not be a surprise to His church, if, at any time, the vilest scandals should break out in the best societies. Such spots there have been in our feasts, tares among the wheat and wolves among the sheep. But there is a day of discovery and separation coming, where hypocrites shall be unmasked and discarded. The authority of the apostles was not weakened by the fact that Judas was one of the twelve. While his wickedness remained hidden to others, Jesus knew he would betray Him.
As for Christ, he offered him a divine call to serve Him. He allowed His enemy several opportunities that he might put away his wickedness, come to his senses and turn from his sins. This shows that Christ loved all the people even those who bore ill will against Him and waited for an opportunity to kill Him.

Prayer
O Heavenly Father, thank You for You have called us by the gospel into adoption, cleaned our hearts with the blood of Christ and filled us with the love of Your Spirit. The call of Jesus moves us towards the despairing lost. Your Son carries us by His intercession during our service. We therefore beg for the guidance of Your Holy Spirit. Give wisdom, obedience, power and constant love to all Your ambassadors, in our world, that we may be able to gather the harvest in the name of Jesus.
Question
What is the content of the authority that Jesus gave His disciples?