These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles…
Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. We may find reason for this limitation of the sphere of the apostles in the fact that this was strictly a trial-mission, in which they were to learn how to fulfil the larger mission which would be entrusted to them by-and-by. When the war-ship is nearly ready for sea, it is required to make a trial-trip; but then its course is strictly defined and limited. But there is something more than this suggested. Our Lord really taught, by these limitations, that every man's work is strictly defined. He should spend his strength on work within his bounds; and neither worry himself, nor let any one else worry him, by pressing claims outside his bounds. One of the great sources of Christian fretfulness is the pressure of claims on men beyond their proper spheres. The man who is only a popular preacher is worried by people because he does not teach. The man whose gift is teaching is worried because he does not preach the gospel, and save souls. The truth is that every man has his limited commission. Each one has no business with Gentiles or Samaritans. Each one has his proper sphere with his Israel, and he is wise if he keeps to it.
I. CHRISTIAN COMMISSIONS ARE LIMITED. The honour of doing a whole thing was never given to a single Christian yet. No man ever yet either sowed or harvested God's entire field. Parts of work are given to individuals. Pieces of the field are given to each. We are seldom, if ever, wise when we go stepping over our borders, breaking down the fences that hedge round our particular work. Within our limits there is sphere for all our powers.
II. CHRISTIAN COMMISSIONS ARE VARIED. These particular men were to go to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel;" but other men were to go to the "Gentiles;" and yet others to the "Samaritans." These were to go and preach; others following them would have to teach. Some have just to live for Christ; some have to sing for him, to write for him, to suffer for him. Happy they who can say, "This one thing I do."
III. CHRISTIAN COMMISSIONS ARE UNITED. In the Divine thought and plan they fit into each other, like the strangely shaped puzzle-pieces, and make up the great whole of service for Christ. This workman and that should be doing well his own piece of work, and so the building will be surely growing into a "holy temple of the Lord." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: