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Matthew 10:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Twelve Given Authority

CHAPTER TEN:
HARVEST WORKERS GIVEN INSTRUCTIONS
AND SENT OUT

Matthew 10:1-4 – The Twelve Given Authority

|| Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:13

The call of Andrew and Peter – Harold Copping (1863-1932) from “Scenes in the Life of our Lord” published by Religious Tract Society 1907. Location of original painting unknown.

MT10:1 Now Jesus invited his twelve disciples[1] to approach him. He gave them authority over unclean spirits to exorcise them and to cure every disease and malady. MT10:2 The names of the twelve apostles[2] are these: first, Simon[3] the one called Peter[4] and his brother Andrew;[5] and, James[6] the son of Zebedee and his brother John;[7] MT10:3 and Philip,[8] Bartholomew,[9] Thomas.[10] Matthew[11] the tax-collector, James the son of Alphaeus,[12] Thaddaeus,[13] MT10:4 Simon the Cananaean,[14] and Judas Iscariot[15] (the one who turned Jesus over[16]).

[1] Twelve disciples: The number “twelve” in this context occurs 34 times in the Christian Bible (Matthew 10:1, 2, 5, 11; 19:28; 20:17; 26:14, 20, 47; Mark 3:14, 16; 4:10; 6:7; 9:35; 10:32; 11:11; 14:10; 14:17, 20, 43; Luke 6:13; 8:1; 9:1, 12; 18:31; 22:3, 47; John 6:67, 70, 71; 20:24; Acts 6:2; 1 Corinthians 15:5; Revelation 21:14). 1 Corinthians 15:5 shows the “twelve” became an official group whether all twelve were present or not.

[2] The names of the twelve apostles: Compare the other apostolic lists and note not all remain in their same places. Other than these parallel lists some apostles are never mentioned elsewhere. Tradition and church history has certain unknown apostles leaving to far lands to evangelize while others died as martyrs. On their history see The History of the Christian Church by Eusebius; or, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

[3] Simon: The name means “Hear” and occurs 80 times in the Bible. Several are so named. There is another apostle named Simon. The father of Judas was named Simon. One of Jesus’ half-brothers was named Simon. The man who carried the cross (beam) for Jesus was also a Simon.

[4] Peter: See notes on Matthew 4:18. Peter is always first in the list and it is possible the Fisherman is the diamond (jasper stone) in the foundation of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:19).

[5] Andrew: See notes on Matthew 4:18. This apostle moves to a lower number in the list of twelve.

[6] James: See notes on Matthew 4:21. This “James” is often mentioned as one of three among Peter and John (Matthew 17:1, 2; Luke 8:51; Mark 14:32-34; Mark 13:3, 4). James the apostle is always mentioned with John and often first (Matthew 4:21; 10:2; 17:1; Mark 1:19, 29; 3:17; 5:37; 9:2; 10:35, 41; 13:3; 14:33; Luke 5:10; 6:14; 8:51; 9:28, 54; Acts 1:13). James was also the name of one of Jesus’ brothers. It is this later James to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:8) and who wrote the epistle after his name.

[7] John: See notes on Matthew 4:21. This John moves into one of the three third positions among the apostles. He is not mentioned after Acts 11:29 save in Galatians 2:9 where he is identified as a “pillar.” He outlived all the apostles and is thought to have lived into the second century. He is reckoned the author of the Gospel of John, three epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

[8] Philip: The name means “Horse-lover” and occurs 35 times in the Christian Bible as the name of several men. The apostle Philip occurs only in the apostolic lists with John giving some details of his calling (John 1:40, 41, 43-49).

[9] Bartholomew: The name means “Son of Tolmai” and occurs 4 times, only in the apostolic lists. He is generally listed with Philip and most think he is the same as Nathanael (Matthew 10:3; Luke 6:14; John 1:45, 46). Nathanael means “God Has Given” and occurs 7 times only in Matthew and John. In the next centuries the “church fathers” use the names interchangeably for the same apostle. He is the first to call Jesus “King.” He was a man of outstanding character, without deceit or guileless, according to the Nazarene’s own judgment (John 1:43-51).

[10] Thomas: The name means “Twin” and occurs 13 times in the Christian Bible but not after the apostolic list in Acts. He is forever associated with vocal doubts (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; John 11:16). Despite this unjust reputation Thomas was willing to die with Jesus (John 11:16). He becomes an example to others to have faith without seeing (John 20:24-29).

[11] Matthew: See notes on Matthew 9:9-10. He is not mentioned after the ascension to heaven (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16).

[12] James the son of Alphaeus: Alphaeus is thought to be the same as Clopas (Matthew 10:2, 3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13) He is called “the Less” possibly because of his age or height (John 19:25; Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56).

[13] Thaddaeus: The name only occurs here and Mark 3:18. He is elsewhere called “Judas the son of James.” (Luke 6:16; John 14:22; Acts 1:13) There is a humbling lesson in some of these apostolic names that appear nowhere else. They served in blessed ways almost anonymous. There have been many millions of similar Christians whose names remain unknown until that day when the “Lamb’s scroll of life” is published for others to read.

[14] Simon the Cananaean: This designation also occurs at Mark 3:18.

[15] Judas Iscariot: Perhaps the most infamous name in the Bible. Few, if any, mothers since have named their son Judas. The name Judas is drawn from Judah (“Praise”) or Jew. The full name occurs 7 times in the Gospels. “Iscariot” is thought by some to mean he was from a town called Kerioth-hezron in Judah. It is highly possible that Judas was the only apostle who was not a Galilean. It is likely that initially Judas was a good choice as an apostle for we find him in charge of the contributions (John 12:6; Matthew 10:3). Judas betrayal made him a “devil” or “slanderer” (John 6:66-71). The Hebrew prophets foretold one who would betray Jesus (Psalm 41:9; 109:8; John 13:18, 19).

[16] The one who turned Jesus over: Or, KJV: betrayed; PME: turned traitor.

The Procession of the Apostles – By (James) Jacques-Joseph Tissot, French, 1836-1902. After a painting now in the Brooklyn Museum, New York; photogravure from “La Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ . . . . avec des notes et des dessins explicatifs par J. James Tissot” 1896-97.

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Preceding

Matthew 9:35-38 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Preaching Tour in a Great Harvest

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

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finger-point

Related

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  6. Luke in the Phillip Medhurst Collection 611 Stephen and others are chosen to the diaconate Acts 6:5-6 Marillier
  7. Luke in the Phillip Medhurst Collection 612 The synagogue disputes with Stephen Acts 6:9-10 Marillier
  8. Jesus taking care of two of his apostles, like everyone else …
  9. >Sermon: The Testing Of The Apostles by Origen
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  16. Carissimi: Today’s Mass; Octave Day of St John the Evangelist, Apostle
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  25. Beginning Discipleship From the Apostles and Elders
  26. A Fisherman to a Fisher of Men: How to Follow in the First Apostles’ Footsteps
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