Salvation is a free gift but discipleship is costly. In Luke 14:25-33, Yeshua shares a parable related to how one must weigh the cost before they start the journey. The journey is not an easy road, but a lifelong walk of hardship and sacrifice. A journey that can rip apart friends and family, and oftentimes the members of one's own family become the true enemy. I suggest that you read those scriptures before continuing on in this article.
As we await the second greater exodus that is coming it would be wise for us to consider closely the words that Yeshua gave to His 12 apostles as He sent them out. We can read about this in Matthew 10:1-20, Mark 3:13-19;6:7-13, and Luke 6:12-16;9:1-6. In addition, in Luke 10:1-20 we read about His sending out of an additional 70 disciples and the same wording is used when He gives them instructions. For this study I will refer to the scriptures in Matthew chapter 10.
I believe that there are 10 points of interest that can be taken away for followers of Yeshua in these instructions that is just as relevant for us today as it was for them in that day. These 10 things denote how we should live our lives. Please stop now and read Matthew 10:1-20.
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.
Matthew 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
Matt 10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
Matt 10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
Matt 10:5 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:
Matt 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matt 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matt 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Matt 10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
Matt 10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Matt 10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
Matt 10:12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.
Matt 10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
Matt 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Matt 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Matt 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Matt 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
Matt 10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
Matt 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Matt 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
In verses 6 and 7 they are told to “go”. The message has not changed. We are still commissioned to bring the gospel of the kingdom to a lost and dying world. In fact – this will be the ongoing message right up to the end of this age and the return of Messiah Yeshua (read Matthew 24:14, Revelation 14:6-7).
Number 1: We are to live – A Life of Power
In verse 8 they are told to heal the sick, cleanse those with met'zora, raise the dead, and cast out demons. This does not denote a life of sitting in a rocking chair waiting for His return. We are to be about the Father's business. Yeshua was always doing His Father's business by interacting and interceding on behalf of hurting humanity. Matthew is the only gospel writer that mentions “raising the dead”, and I know that we see less of this miracle among believers today. In fact, in all of scripture there is less than 10 times that someone is raised from the dead. Elijah and Elisha raised some from the dead in the Older Covenant, Yeshua raised some from death, Peter and Paul each raised one person from the dead, and then of course – Yeshua Himself raised from the dead. I would say, using the Bible as my reference, that this is probably not going to be a frequent activity of many people in our midst. However, I myself have witnessed many healings and the casting out of demons. These gifts of ministry come with a cost.
Number 2: We are to live – A Life of Faith
In verse 8-10 it states that “freely we have received, freely give”. They are told not to take any extra provisions on their journey. They are not to charge a fee for sharing the gospel of the kingdom. The message was given to them freely and they were to give back freely. They were to trust God for all of their daily provisions. Now, how does God give these daily provisions to His disciples? Well, we could say he rains them down from heaven, but that isn't true (although He could). No, instead He uses people to meet their needs. The Apostle addresses this issue in numerous locations and in I Timothy 5:17-18 he uses two Torah texts for a reference point; “you shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain” (Deut. 25:4), and “the labourer is worthy of his wages” (Lev. 19:13).
You see, we are to help support those who feed us spiritually. Talking about money is a touchy subject with people. No one likes to be told how to spend their money for the kingdom. Yet still, if they were to take no extra provisions on their journey then they lived by faith that their needs would be met. Today it is much harder to “live by faith” because most people only want to take and not give. Many TV evangelists have made people “hard” towards giving into ministries. That being said – consider this: there is no longer a standing temple. There are no priests and Levites who did not receive a land inheritance. Does this mean a person no longer needs to give of their resources (10%) to support those who minister? In Paul's time there was a standing temple but they gave above and beyond their tithe to support the traveling apostles. In fact, ancient Hebrews (with a standing temple) always gave above their 10% to additional causes. Some feel they only have to give to the church they attend because they see it as their storehouse, but is that church the only one who feeds you? I give to my local congregation but I also give to those other ministries from which I find soul food. We need to be givers and help those who are in the work of getting the word out. It is not cheap having and maintaining websites, etc.
We need to support missionaries at home and abroad. Let God use you in providing for those who have given much to provide soul food for you and others.
Number 3: We are to live - A Life of Shalom (peace)
In verse 11, 12-13 they are instructed to extend blessings of shalom upon each house they enter. Anyone unworthy to receive will revert the blessing back upon the disciple.
Yeshua instructs us to be peace keepers. We are to be as harmless as doves but as cunning as the serpent.
Number 4: We are to live – A Life of Contentment
In verse 11 they are instructed to enter a house that is worthy and to stay in that house until they leave that town.
Now let's suppose that someone hears that the Apostle John is in town staying with a neighbor down the street. Well, they may think, I can offer him better provisions if he comes and stays with me. This offer may even be tempting to the Apostle. In fact, several may vie for his company. But, Yeshua says, no. Stay in the first house that offered you shelter. Bigger and better always seems to take sway in our lives. The Apostle Paul told us that he learned contentment in whatever state he was in. Likewise, bigger and better is not always the best. We must learn to be grateful for what God has given and not always be swayed by the grass on the other side. I realize that God does open doors that we must walk through but I have seen many a believer succumb to bigger and better.
Number 5: We are to live – A Life of Caution
In verse 16 they were told that they were being sent out as sheep among wolves. This still hasn't changed. This means that we must live a life of caution. We must be alert at all times. This means that we have the potential to always be in danger. This danger may not always be physical but spiritual as being deceived by false teachers who are among us dressed up as sheep. Judas was a wolf but he lived among the other 11. If we do not have ears to hear and eyes to see with spiritual clarity then we will be caught in a snare.
Number 6: We will live - A Life of Rejection
Just as Yeshua did! In verses 17, 18, 21, 22 , and 34-37 we are given the hard reality of this walk of discipleship. The cost is great. We have actually seen some of things come to pass in our lives and the lives of other believers. We will be beaten, arrested, taken to court, falsely accused of wrongdoing, rejected by our own family members, and we will be called evil and demons. In these last days evil shall be called good; and good evil.
Is it OK to flee persecution? In verse 23 we are told “when they persecute you in this city, flee to another”. So, yes sometimes we just need to flee. What good would it do the world if we all stood our ground and got killed.
In verse 24:25 Yeshua makes reference to being accused of casting out demons in the name of Be'elzebul. If they called him Be'elzebul, and He is the Master of the house, then how much more will they call us.
We must stand true even during rejection. This will be most difficult when it becomes your own family members that you love dearly. The easy way would be to compromise with family members and restore peace but when it comes down to obeying God or obeying family members – we must choose God.
Number 7: We will live - A Life of Hardship
In verse 38 we are told that we must take up our cross and follow him. This not only denotes rejection but personal affliction to our bodies like most of us have never experienced. Paul mentioned his thorn in the flesh. While many have their take on what they belived Paul's thorn in the flesh was, I personally believe it was his numerous physical mis-treatments. When Paul was called Yeshua said that He would show him what all he must suffer for Yeshua's name. Just as Paul had mistreated many in the name of God, so now Paul's physical body took a crushing. He was beaten, left for dead on at least one occasion, shipwrecked, arrested, imprisoned, etc. He learned that many times he was hungry and other times he had plenty. He paid a dear price of hardship in every area for making the choice to take up the cross and follow Yeshua.
Number 8: We are to live - A Life of Courage
Courage is doing what is right even when you are afraid. Don't think that we will not be afraid! We are all human. We must live a life that is led by the Holy Spirit (verse 19-20;27). We must not succumb to fear of another man. Yeshua tells us not to fear those who can only destroy the body but to fear the One (Him) who can destroy both body and soul. (Verses 26, 28-33)
Number 9: We are to live - A Life that is Focused
In Luke 10:4, Yeshua tells the 70 that were sent out “to salute no man” on the way. He was not telling them to be rude by doing this. He was telling them to not get distracted from their mission. Life/people have a way of getting us off track. While we are all called to spread the gospel of the kingdom; God has put a special word, given a special task, given gifts, or placed us in unique ministries. We need to stay focused.
In Matthew 10:23 we see that our mission will not be accomplished until the Son of Man comes.
Number 10: We are to live – A Life of Persistence
In verse 22 we read that those who “endure to the end will be saved”. Matthew 24:13 says the same. The Apostle Paul relates it to running a race. Many start the race and all run to win, but all will not be winners and receive the crown. Being faithful to the end is what will get us the prize. In Matthew 24:3-14 Yeshua tells His disciples almost the same thing that He told them here in these passages. So, we must count the cost before we begin the journey and then finish the race. Yeshua sums up His discourse in Matthew 24:29-31 with what will be “joy” for those who are persistent until the end. Go read those last scriptures and take heart! Lift up your eyes and keep a watchful eye on the eastern sky!