Matthew 10:6
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
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10:5-15 The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, till the Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles was only in their first mission. Wherever they went they must proclaim, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. They preached, to establish the faith; the kingdom, to animate the hope; of heaven, to inspire the love of heavenly things, and the contempt of earthly; which is at hand, that men may prepare for it without delay. Christ gave power to work miracles for the confirming of their doctrine. This is not necessary now that the kingdom of God is come. It showed that the intent of the doctrine they preached, was to heal sick souls, and to raise those that were dead in sin. In proclaiming the gospel of free grace for the healing and saving of men's souls, we must above all avoid the appearance of the spirit of an hireling. They are directed what to do in strange towns and cities. The servant of Christ is the ambassador of peace to whatever place he is sent. His message is even to the vilest sinners, yet it behoves him to find out the best persons in every place. It becomes us to pray heartily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to all. They are directed how to act as to those that refused them. The whole counsel of God must be declared, and those who will not attend to the gracious message, must be shown that their state is dangerous. This should be seriously laid to heart by all that hear the gospel, lest their privileges only serve to increase their condemnation.But go rather to the lost sheep ... - That is, to the Jews. He regarded them as wandering and lost, like sheep straying without a shepherd. They had been the chosen people of God; they had long looked for the Messiah; and it was proper that the gospel should be first offered to them. 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel—Until Christ's death, which broke down the middle wall of partition (Eph 2:14), the Gospel commission was to the Jews only, who, though the visible people of God, were "lost sheep," not merely in the sense which all sinners are (Isa 53:6; 1Pe 2:25; compare with Lu 19:10), but as abandoned and left to wander from the right way by faithless shepherds (Jer 50:6, 17; Eze 34:2-6, &c.).Ver. 5,6. Here Christ limiteth their ministry to the Jews. The apostle tells us, Romans 15:8, Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to conform the promises made unto the fathers; and the apostle tells the Jews, Acts 13:46, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you. Therefore in this his first mission, he restrains his apostles from going to the Gentiles, to whom they had afterwards a commission to go, Matthew 28:19, and did go, but not before the Jews had judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life, Acts 13:46, by rejecting and blaspheming the gospel, and persecuting the ministers of it. They are also commanded not to go

into any city of the Samaritans. The Samaritans were partly Jews apostatized, and partly heathens, descended from those whom the king of Syria sent thither, when the ten tribes were carried into captivity, 2 Kings 17:6, and from some Jews left in the land. You shall read of their religion there, 2 Kings 17:31-41. They were perfectly hated by the Jews, and as perfect haters of them, as may be gathered from Luke 9:52,53Jo 4:9. Our Lord, partly in regard they also were no better than Gentiles, and so hated as they were of the Jews, would not suffer these his first ministers to go and preach amongst them. Not that they were forbidden (if some particular persons, whether Gentiles or Samaritans, came to them) to preach to them, but only not to make it their work to go into their country or cities; the time was not yet come for this great light to shine upon the Gentiles.

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. By Israel he here meaneth the two tribes that clave to the house of David, for the ten tribes ever since their captivity {2 Kings 17:6} had lost their share in that name. He calls them lost sheep in the sense that Jeremiah speaks, Jeremiah 1:6, My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray. So that lost sheep here signifies wandering sheep, for want of proper guides. The Jews at this time had miserable teachers, so as they wandered as lost sheep. And this comporteth with what we had in the last verses of the former chapter. There was a great harvest and but few labourers; he is therefore providing them labourers, shepherds that should gather those scattered sheep into one fold.

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. To whom he himself was sent, Matthew 15:24. By "the house of Israel" is meant the whole Jewish nation; for though this phrase, when distinguished from the house of Judah, designs only the ten tribes; yet here it intends all the Jews, then living in the land of Judea, among whom there were some of all the tribes: and by "the lost sheep" of this house, are meant either all the people of the Jews in general, who were wandering, and were lost in error and sin, and to whom the external ministry of the Gospel came; or rather the elect of God among them, for whose sake particularly the apostles were sent unto them. These are called "sheep", because they were chosen of God, and given to Christ to be redeemed, looked up, sought out, and saved by him; and "lost" ones, not only because lost in Adam, and by their own transgressions, so that neither they themselves, nor any mere creature, could save them from eternal ruin and destruction; but also, because they were made to go astray, and were lost through the negligence and errors of their pastors, the Scribes and Pharisees: and this character is the rather given of them, partly to reflect upon the characters of the shepherds of Israel: and partly to magnify the grace of God, in having regard to such ruined and miserable creatures; and also to excite the compassion and diligence of the apostles, to preach the Gospel to them: respect seems to be had to Jeremiah 1:16. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 10:6-7. Τὰ πρόβαταἸσραήλ] the members of Israel, the family of Israel (Leviticus 10:6; Exodus 19:3), the theocratic nation, who were alienated from the divine truth and the divine life, and so were found wandering in error, like sheep without a shepherd. Comp. Matthew 15:24. And such sheep (Matthew 9:36) were they all, seeing that they were without faith in Him, the heaven-sent Shepherd. For the figure generally, comp. Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 50:8; Ezekiel 34:5.

Matthew 10:7. ἤγγικεν, κ.τ.λ.] being precisely the same terms as those in which Jesus Himself (Matthew 4:17), and the Baptist before Him, had commenced their preaching (Matthew 3:2).

Matthew 10:6. ἀπολωλότα, “the lost sheep,” an expression consecrated by prophetic use (Jeremiah 50:6, Swete’s ed., Matthew 27:6), the epithet here first introduced, often occurring in Gospels, was used by Jesus not in blame but in pity. “Lost” in His vocabulary meant “neglected” (Matthew 9:36), in danger also of course, but not finally and hopelessly given over to perdition, salvable if much needing salvation. The term is ethical in import, and implies that the mission had moral and religious improvement mainly in view, not mere physical benefit through healing agency; teaching rather than miraculous acts.

Matthew 10:6. Πρόβατα, sheep) See ch. Matthew 9:36.—ἀπολωλότα, lost) He uses this expression in preference to led astray: cf. ch. Matthew 18:12; Matthew 18:14. The apostles would find sufficient occupation in attending to these.—Ισραὴλ, Israel) from which the Samaritans had departed.

Verse 6. - But go. On your daily journeying (πορέεσθε, present). Rather. With conscious preference. To the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Thus also he describes his own mission (Matthew 15:24). The words recall Jeremiah 50:6 (27:6, LXX.), "My people hath been lost sheep." Observe that our Lord implies a special relation of Israel to God (for the house has its owner) which was lacking in the case of all other nations. Yet, their proper teachers having proved faithless, they were now as shepherdless as these (Matthew 9:36). Lost. Notice here the basis of the parable related in Luke 15:4-7; cf. Matthew 18:12, 13 (ver. 11 of the Received Text is a gloss), where the term "wandering" is not so strong (Bengel). Matthew 10:6The lost sheep (τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα)

The Greek order throws the emphasis on lost; the sheep, the lost ones. Bengel observes that Jesus says lost oftener than led astray. Compare Matthew 18:12, Matthew 18:14.

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