The Commissioning of the 12 Apostles

“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.  These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him (verses. 1-4).

The Cost of Discipleship: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.  Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (verses 14 &38).

Jesus’ discourse on the disciples’ mission to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (10:6) alternates between images of warning and promise. The disciples are granted remarkable powers, even to raise the dead (10:1, 8), but are warned repeatedly of the suffering and threats they will face (e.g., 10:16-18, 21-23, 34-36). Their closest and most important relationships will be ruptured (10:21, 34-39), and yet they participate in the most integral of relationships not only with Jesus, but with God.

Finally, the call to discipleship renders secondary all other claims upon one’s identity and allegiance, even to father or mother, or son or daughter (10:37, cf. 8:21-22, 12:46-50). To “take up the cross” (10:38-39) aligns the disciples’ mission and fate with that of Jesus, that is, with the humiliation, suffering, shame, opposition, and death that Jesus persistently speaks about here. Taking up the cross implies identification with the marginal people (slaves and rebels) who were subject to Roman crucifixion, because they did not align themselves with or submit themselves to Rome’s authority. But Jesus promises that those who “lose their life” for him will in fact “find it,” while those who “find their lives” in the world will lose them (10:39).

Jesus and John the Baptist (Chapter 11)

The question of John the Baptist to Jesus is one of the most important question:After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (vv. 1-3)

Matthew 11:4-6 gives evidence that Jesus is the one.  People who have been unable to see can now see. People who have been unable to walk can now walk. People afflicted with leprosy are now cleansed. People who could not hear can now hear. People who live in poverty can look forward to economic regeneration.  Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

John the Baptist paid the ultimate cost of discipleship!