Matthew 10:1
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.
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(1) What is described here is not the choice, but the mission of the Twelve. That selection had been made before (Luke 6:13), and the number at once suggested the thought that they represented the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28), and were as such to be His messengers to the whole people of the dispersion. The name Apostle (which He had given them before—Luke 6:13) signified literally “one who is sent;” but it had acquired in classical Greek a more specific meaning, as the “ambassador,” or “envoy,” of a state. According to our Lord’s teaching they were sent by Him, even as ‘He had been sent by the Father (John 20:21).

All manner of sickness.—See Note on Matthew 9:35. The repetition of the same words emphasises the delegation of authority.

Matthew 10:1. And when he had called his twelve disciples — From the evangelist’s naming them the twelve, it appears that he considered them as elected before this, though he has given no account of it in his gospel. The number seems to have relation to the twelve patriarchs and the twelve tribes of Israel. He gave them power against unclean spirits — Evil spirits are called unclean, because they are wicked, and delight in wickedness; which is the only pollution of a spiritual being. And to heal all manner of sickness, &c. — By this power of working miracles the apostles, though men of low degree and illiterate, were enabled to draw the attention of their countrymen, and to gain credit to the before unheard-of doctrine which they were to preach; and by our Lord’s giving them this power he gave a striking proof of his Deity, for who but God can communicate any such power to man?

10:1-4 The word apostle signifies messenger; they were Christ's messengers, sent forth to proclaim his kingdom. Christ gave them power to heal all manner of sickness. In the grace of the gospel there is a slave for every sore, a remedy for every malady. There is no spiritual disease, but there is power in Christ for the cure of it. There names are recorded, and it is their honour; yet they had more reason to rejoice that their names were written in heaven, while the high and mighty names of the great ones of the earth are buried in the dust.And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples ... - This account of sending the apostles forth is recorded also in Mark 6:7-11, and Luke 9:1-6. Mark says that he sent them out two and two. This was a kind arrangement, that each one might have a companion, and that thus they might visit more places and accomplish more labor than if they were all together. These twelve were the original number of apostles. The word "apostle" means one that is "sent," and was given to them because they were "sent forth" to preach the gospel. They were ambassadors of Christ. To this number Matthias was afterward added, to supply the place of Judas Acts 1:26, and Paul was specially called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 15:8-9; Galatians 1:1. In all, therefore, there were 14 apostles.

In selecting "twelve" at first, it is probable that the Saviour was somewhat guided by the number of the tribes of Israel. Twelve was, with them, a well-known number, and it was natural that he should select one for every tribe. Their office was clearly made known. They were to heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, preach the gospel. They were to be with him to receive his instructions, to learn the nature of his religion, be witnesses to his resurrection, and then to bear his gospel around the globe. The number twelve was the best number for these purposes that could be selected. It was sufficiently "large" to answer the purpose of testimony, and it was "so small" as not to tend to disorder, or that they could easily be divided into parties or factions. They were not learned men, and could not be supposed to spread their religion by art or talents. They were not men of wealth, and could not bribe men to follow them. They were not men of rank and office, and could not compel people to believe. They were just such men as are always found the best witnesses in courts of justice - plain men, of good sense, of fair character, of great honesty, and with favorable opportunities of ascertaining the facts to which they bore witness. Such men everybody believes, and especially when they are willing to lay down their lives to prove their sincerity.

It was important that the Saviour should choose them early in his ministry, in order that they might be fully acquainted with him; might treasure up his instructions, and observe his manner of life and his person, so that, by having been long acquainted with him, they might be able to testify to his identity and be competent witnesses of his resurrection. No witnesses were ever so well qualified to give testimony as they, and none ever gave so much evidence of their sincerity as they did. See Acts 1:21-22.


Mt 10:1-5. Mission of the Twelve Apostles. ( = Mr 6:7-13; Lu 9:1-6).

The last three verses of the ninth chapter form the proper introduction to the Mission of the Twelve, as is evident from the remarkable fact that the Mission of the Seventy was prefaced by the very same words. (See on [1251]Lu 10:2).

1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power—The word signifies both "power," and "authority" or "right." Even if it were not evident that here both ideas are included, we find both words expressly used in the parallel passage of Luke (Lu 9:1)—"He gave them power and authority"—in other words, He both qualified and authorized them.

against—or "over."Matthew 10:1-4 Christ sendeth out his twelve apostles with power to do


Matthew 10:5-15 He instructs them,

Matthew 10:16-39 and forewarning them of persecutions, suggests

motives of comfort and constancy.

Matthew 10:40-42 He promiseth a blessing to those who should receive them.

Mark saith, Mark 3:14,15, And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. Luke repeats almost the same words, Luke 9:1,2; only he saith he gave them power and authority over devils, —and to preach the kingdom of God. This was the first mission which the apostles had, much different from that given them after his resurrection; they were now sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, then they were sent to all nations. They were not called disciples as that term signified only the common hearers of Christ, but in a more emphatic sense. He chooseth out twelve, that as the twelve patriarchs begat the Jewish church, so these twelve men might be the fathers to all the gospel church. The number of twelve seems a sacred number. The new Jerusalem, Revelation 21:12, is described as having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and to have written (on the gates) the names of the twelve tribes; and, Revelation 21:14, the wall of the city is said to have had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles; the dimensions of it twelve thousand furlongs, Revelation 21:16.

The power he gave to the apostles was:

1. To preach the kingdom, that is, the gospel, which as it showeth the way to the kingdom of glory, so it was the means to gather the Christian church, which is the kingdom of grace, and to subdue men’s hearts to the obedience of Christ.

2. To cast out devils, and heal all manner of sicknesses. By which they gained repute amoungst people, confirming people that they were sent of God, doing (though not as Christ did them) things which none but God could do, by a derivation of power from him: Christ did the same things, but by a power inherent in himself.

These twelve were ordinarily to be with Christ, and to go forth (as occasion served) clothed with his power to preach and to work miracles.

And when he had called to him his twelve disciples,.... These persons had been for some time called by the grace of God, and were already the disciples of Christ, and such as were more familiar and intimate with him, than others, that went by that name. They had sat down at his feet, and had received of his words; they had heard his doctrines, and had seen his miracles, and had been by him training up for public work; but as yet had not been called and sent forth to enter on such service: but now all things being ready, they being properly instructed, and the time for the conversion of a large number of souls being up, he called them together privately; and gave them a commission to preach the Gospel, ordained them ministers of the word, and installed them into the office of apostleship. The number "twelve", is either in allusion to the twelve spies that were sent by Moses into the land of Canaan, or to the twelve stones in Aaron's breast plate; or to the twelve fountains the Israelites found in the wilderness; or to the twelve oxen on which the molten sea stood in Solomon's temple; or to the twelve gates in Ezekiel's temple; or rather, to the twelve patriarchs, and the tribes which sprung from them; that as they were the fathers of the Jewish nation, which was typical of God's chosen people; so these were to be the instruments of spreading the Gospel, not only Judea, but in all the world, and of planting Christian churches there. And that they might appear to come forth with authority, and that their doctrine might be confirmed,

he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out; or "over all devils", as Luke 9:1. It was usual with the Jews to call a demon or devil , "an unclean spirit"; especially such as frequented burying places: so in one place (l), an unclean spirit is interpreted by the gloss, , "the spirit of the demons", or devils; and in another (m) place, , "the demon of the graves"; where necromancers sought to be, that these spirits might be their familiars, and assist them in their enchantments: accordingly the devils are here called, "unclean spirits"; being in themselves, in their own nature, unclean, and being the cause and means of defiling others, and delighting in impure persons, places, and things. There were many of these spirits, who, because of the great impiety of the Jews, the prevalence of magic arts among them, and by divine permission, had at this time taken possession of great numbers of persons; whereby Christ had an opportunity of giving proof of his deity, of his being the Messiah, the seed of the woman, that should bruise the serpent's head, by his ejecting them; and of confirming the mission of his disciples, and establishing the doctrine preached by them, by giving them power and authority over them, to cast them out also: and whereas various diseases frequently followed and attended such possessions; he likewise gave them power

to heal all manner of sicknesses, and all manner of diseases, as he himself had done. The expressions are very full and strong, and include all sorts of maladies incident to human bodies, either of men or women; all distempers natural or preternatural, curable or incurable, by human methods: so that at the same time they were sent to preach the Gospel, for the cure of the souls of men, they were empowered to heal the diseases of their bodies; and which, one should think, could not fail of recommending them to men, and of ingratiating them into their affections.

(l) T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 3. 2. (m) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 65. 2.

And {1} 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.

(1) The apostles are sent to preach the gospel in Israel.

Matthew 10:1. Not the choosing, but merely the mission of the Twelve, is here related; Mark 6:7; Luke 9:1. The choosing (Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13; comp. also John 6:70), which had taken place some time before,—although a still earlier one, viz. that of the five (Matthew 4:18 ff., Matthew 9:9), is recorded,—is assumed, as far as the complete circle of the Twelve, to be generally known, which is certainly an omission on the part of the narrator.

ἐξουσίαν] Authority over unclean spirits. The following ὥστε is epexegetical: so that they would cast them out. But καὶ θεραπεύειν, etc., is not dependent on ὥστε also, but on ἐξουσίαν (1 Corinthians 9:5). Power was given to them both to cure demoniacs and to heal those who suffered from natural disease as well; comp. Matthew 10:8. The manner of imparting this power, whether through a laying on of hands, or breathing on them (John 20:22) through a symbolic act (de Wette), or by communicating to them certain sacred words or signs, or by certain movements of the hands (Ewald), or even by magnetic influences (Weisse), or by the mere effectual word of the Lord (which is more likely, since nothing is specified), is not stated.

On the genitive, comp. Mark 6:7; John 18:2; Sir 10:4.

Matthew 10:1-15. The Twelve: their names, mission, and relative instructions (Mark 3:14-19; Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6).

1. his twelve disciples] The first passages in St Mark and St Luke record the choice or calling of the Twelve, this chapter and Mark 6 and Luke 9 narrate the mission or a mission of the disciples. Possibly they were sent forth more than once.

sickness … disease] See note ch. Matthew 4:23, and Matthew 9:35.

Matthew 10:1. Καὶ, and) This is clearly connected with the end of ch. 9, as the repeated mention of sheep indicates. He sends, before He is greatly entreated to do so.—προσκαλεσάμενος, having called to Him) solemnly.[441] All did not hear and see all things together.—τοὺς δώδεκα μαθητὰς, the twelve disciples)[442] In the following verse they are called the twelve apostles. Matthew the apostle calls them apostles once, sc. in the present passage, where they are first sent forth; St Mark does so once (Matthew 6:30), and that when they just returned from that mission; John, the apostle, never does so; for in ch. Matthew 13:16 he uses the word in its general, not its particular meaning; St Luke does so in his Gospel particularly, but only on occasions, and those the same as Matthew and Mark, or subsequently, for other weighty reasons: see Luke 6:13; Luke 9:10; Luke 11:49; Luke 17:5; Luke 22:14; Luke 24:10. For they were, during the whole of the period which the Gospels embrace, disciples, i.e. scholars, and are therefore so called. But, after the advent of the Paraclete, in the Acts and Epistles they are never called disciples, but apostles. In the Acts, those only are called disciples, who had either learnt with the apostles, or were then learning from the apostles, and were apostolic men, and the seed of all Christian posterity; see Acts 6:1; Acts 21:16. After which last passage the word disciple does not occur again in the New Testament: but they are called brethren, Christians, believers (fideles), saints, etc.—ἔδωκεν, κ.τ.λ., He gave, etc.) The apostles made gradual progress. Great is the authority of conferring authority.[443]—αὐτοῖς, to them) The disciples, when in the Lord’s presence, were employed in miracles only to a certain extent, as in ch. Matthew 14:19 and Matthew 17:27; but they did not themselves perform miracles (see ch. Matthew 17:18), unless when sent forth by Christ (see Luke 10:17), or after the departure of Christ; see John 14:12.—πνευμάτων, of spirits) i.e. against spirits.—ἀκαθάρτων, unclean) A frequent epithet: sometimes they are called πνευμάτα πονηρὰ, evil spirits.—θεραπεύειν, to heal) sc. in His name: see ch. Matthew 9:35.

[441] This is that remarkable embassy or mission, to which the Lord appeals in Luke 22:35. He sent forth the Seventy also without purse, scrip, and shoes, Luke 10:4. But in Luke 22:35 He is speaking not of the Seventy, but of the Apostles. We have the return of the Apostles recorded in Mark 6:30, Luke 9:10. In the intervening period, the Lord is represented more than once as having had the disciples present with Him. Luke 12:1; Luke 12:49; Luke 13:10; Mark 6:1. I feel well persuaded, that no considerable portion of that time elapsed, without the Saviour having had present with Him at least some of His Apostles, as witnesses of those most important things, which He during that time both spake and performed. Nor even was the whole body of the Apostles long away from Him; comp. Matthew 10:23. Meanwhile they returned one after the other: in which way it may have happened that some individuals out of the Twelve are named οί δώδεκα; or even it may have been that, coming and going from time to time, they took their turns with the Lord, when making His journeys, until at length it was the privilege of them all to be with Him together again. It seems indeed to be tacitly intimated in Luke 9:10, that their actual return took place somewhat earlier, their narration or report of their proceedings following subsequently more than once.—Harm., p. 292.

[442] The election of whom as Apostles, the sacred writer takes for granted as having taken place before the sermon on the mountain.—V. g.

[443] i.e. His great authority is evinced in the fact of His being able to give them authority to do all these miracles.—ED.

Verse 1. - Parallel passages: Mark 6:7; Luke 9:1. The prayer (Matthew 9:38) is answered in the persons of those who were taught to pray. Christ establishes his new agency. And when he had called unto him. From the circle of the bystanders. His twelve disciples. Who had already been chosen to be specially with him (cf. Matthew 9:35, note; and Matthew 5:1). Twelve. To be heads of the tribes of the new Israel (Revelation 21:14; cf. James 1:1; Matthew 19:28). Observe that the office of the tribes of the covenant nation corresponded to the symbolism of the number 12 (3, Deity, x 4, world = Church). He gave them power; authority (Revised Version); ἐξουσίαν: the greater including the less. So Mark, but Luke expands to δύναμιν καὶ ἐξουσίαν. Against; over (Revised Version); simple genitive (so Mark). Unclean spirits (Matthew 4:24. note). Unclean. As belonging to the unholy, non-theocratic kingdom, the realm of darkness. "Hence also unclean animals (Matthew 8:31, sqq.; Revelation 18:2) and places (Matthew 12:43, sqq.) have a kind of natural relationship with such spirits" (Kubel). To cast them out. Their authority was to ex-send to this (ὥστε ἐκβάλλειν αὐτά, cf. Mark 3:15). And to heal. Probably connected, not with ὥστε, but with ἐξουσίαν (cf. Luke). Observe that nothing is said of their receiving authority to convert. This God himself keeps. But they can remove all hindrances other than those purely subjective and spiritual, whether the objective hindrances be intruding evil spirits affecting body and mind or only bodily diseases. All manner, etc. (Matthew 9:35, note). Matthew 10:1The disciples (τούς μαθητὰς)

The or his, referring to them as already chosen, though he nowhere relates their choosing. See Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13.

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