Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
I. THE PERSONS COMMISSIONED AND CHARGED.
1. They were twelve in number.
(2) As the sons of Jacob were the fathers of Israel according to the flesh, so are the twelve apostles the fathers of Israel after the Spirit.
(3) Twelve is a remarkable number in relation to the things of Christ (see Revelation 7:4; Revelation 12:1; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 21:12, 14). It has, therefore, been distinguished from the "number of the beast" as the number of the Lamb.
(4) In this number the apostles of Christ ever remained. For Paul (not Matthias) filled the place forfeited by Judas. The election of Matthias took place before the outpouring of the Spirit, and of the apostleship of Matthias we read no more (see Introduction in Mosheim).
2. Their names are given in order.
(1) Peter stands first in the lists (ver. 2; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). He was the first called to a constant attendance upon Christ, though Andrew had seen Jesus before Simon (cf. Luke 5:3-10; John 1:40, 41). But he had no authority over his brethren, or it had surely been mentioned; neither had he any authority over the Church in which his brethren did not share. James the son of Alphaeus presided in the council at Jerusalem (see Acts 15:19). The New Testament gives no countenance to the papal claims.
(2) In the groups we find brothers together. Peter and Andrew; James and John; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbeeus, or Jude. "God here unites by grace those who were before united by nature. Nature must not be deemed a hindrance to grace.
(3) Last in the lists is the name of Judas Iscariot. He has the unenviable distinction of the traitor." Unworthy persons may be found in the holiest societies on earth.
II. THE CHARGE.
1. As to the apostles preaching.
(1) To whom were they to go?
(a) Not to the Gentiles.
(b) Not to the Samaritans.
(c) They were to limit their preaching to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (cf. Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 1.6; Matthew:12; Romans 9:1-4). The gospel must first be preached to the Jews (cf. Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8). The restriction, however, was temporary (see Acts 1:8; Acts 3:26; Acts 13:46).
(2) What gospel were they to proclaim?
(a) The gospel of the "kingdom." Its spiritual nature. Spiritually, as well as literally, they were to "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils."
(b) Its near approach. "At hand," viz. when the Spirit should be given on the Day of Pentecost.
(c) Therefore the need of preparation for it, viz. by repentance (cf. Mark 6:12).
2. As to its authentication.
(1) To this end miraculous powers were conferred upon the apostles. These were to continue with them. Unless in the spiritual sense, neither did they raise the dead nor cleanse the leper until after the resurrection of Christ.
(2) These they were to exercise freely, without restriction and without reward (see 2 Kings 5:15, 16, 26). Herein they differed from the exorcists mentioned by Josephus ('Ant.,' lib. 8. c, 11).
3. As to their maintenance.
(1) This they were to receive from those to whom they should minister (vers. 9-12; see also 1 Corinthians 9.; Galatians 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:17). They must be under no necessity otherwise to earn their living.
(2) Where hospitably entertained their peace was to come. "Peace be to this house" was their salutation (see Luke 10:5). "Great is peace," say the rabbins, "for all other blessings are comprehended in it" (cf. John 14:27; Philippians 4:7)..
(3) When inhospitably treated they were to "shake off the dust of their feet," viz. as a witness against them before God (see Nehemiah 5:13; Acts 13:51; Acts 18:6). See that you refuse not the gospel message, for the case of the rejecter is fearful.
1. This sin is worse than that of the men of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:48, 49). Who sin against the clear light of revelation are more guilty than those who offend against the dim light of tradition.
2. The full judgment upon sin is reserved to the last great day.
(1) The men of Sodom have yet to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. The severest temporal judgments upon sinful men do not satisfy the claims of the offended justice of God.
(2) Terrible as their case will be, it will be more tolerable than that reserved for the rejecters of the gospel, of Christ. - J.A.M.
Matthew the publican.I. THE POWER, AND GRACE OF THE DIVINE CALL. Power is measured by the amount or degree of resistance which it is able to overcome. There were three chief obstacles in the way of this man's conversion.
1. His business exposed hint constantly to temptations which were well nigh irresistible.
2. The standard of morality recognized by his associates was proverbially low.
3. He had no character to sustain.
II. A SINNER'S CONVERSION IS A CAUSE OF JOY.
III. CONVERTED SOULS DESIRE TO PROMOTE THE CONVERSION OTHERS.
IV. MATTHEW'S CHIEF CHARACTERISTIC WAS HUMILITY.
(W. F. Bishop.)
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