Terry Baxter Devotional

Preparing the Church: Matthew 10:1

Preparing the Church: Matthew 10:1
“1) And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Matthew‬ ‭10:1
Many times chapter divisions interrupt the flow and continuity of a text. This is definitely the case between Matthew 9 and 10. To illustrate this point, let’s compare Matthew 9:35 and Matthew 10:1.
“35) Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
“1) Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
What Jesus alone had the authority to do He suddenly bestowed on His Disciples. He gave them the authority to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness as He alone was previously doing. The serious Bible student should ask the question; “What happened between these two verses to create this radical shift?” The answer has three parts:
Jesus was deeply moved by the universal suffering and brokenness of humanity. (Matthew 9:36-37) Jesus beseeched the disciples to entreat the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers. (Matthew 9:38) Jesus took action and bestowed His authority on twelve of His disciples to do as He was doing. (Matthew 10:1)
You may need to read the previous post, but I believe a major paradigm shift took place within Jesus. His focus shifted from sitting as King on the throne of a restored kingdom to going to the cross as the Savior of mankind. Instead of establishing an immediate kingdom on earth (Revelation 20), He decided to start building His church. (Matthew 16:18-19)
According to Ephesians 3:4-9, the church age was a mystery totally hidden from the saints throughout the Old Testament. The Jewish biblical mindset was expecting the Messiah to set up and rule over an earthly kingdom. This was the expectation of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus.
Look at their question to Jesus in Acts 1:6; “And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”” He answered their question in the next verse by saying; “7) … it is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.” He did not deny that the kingdom was coming, He merely pushed it to a future time. Then He focused on the promise of the Father related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Three phases are used interchangeably for the time or epoch that Jesus ushered in. It could be called “The Age of the Indwelling Holy Spirit”, or “The Age of Grace” or “The Church Age.”
When Christians talk about “the end times” it technically refers to “the end of this present age!” So you ask; “What comes next?” The answer according to Revelation 20:1-10 is “The Millennial Kingdom.” Jesus is going to rule on earth for 1,000 years. Messiah as King is going sit on His throne and rule the world from Israel.
This present age will end with a period of tribulation for both Israel and the church. But let’s not get further distracted for our text in Matthew 9:35 -10:1.
I may be reading to much into the text, but it appears to me that this is where Jesus shifted His focus from setting up the immediate Kingdom to building His Church. What in the text feeds my suspicion? The answer is the contrast between Matthew 9:35 and Matthew 10:1. Instead of consolidating His authority, Jesus starts handing it out to His followers.
The progression goes from the twelve in Matthew 10, to the seventy in Luke 10, to all of His followers in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8. Beginning with Matthew 10:1, Jesus intentionally began preparing His Church to empower and unleash them all into the world.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
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