A Disciple’s Strategy

Matthew 10:1-15

Jerry A Collins




v                 What were the twelve apostles commissioned to do?

v                 Why were they only to take minimum provisions?

v                 What was the message they were to deliver?


Jesus trained the twelve to start the church. He did not provide any equipping in organizational skills, social or political reform, governmental or religious administration, not even church planting. He allowed no spiritual titles, special clothing, nor positions of honor. He only equipped them to evangelize and disciple, to love, serve, and care for an equal brotherhood empowered by the Holy Spirit. They all left their jobs or livelihood to become full-time apostles, but not until after the resurrection. Most, if not all of them were married and their wives usually traveled with them (1 Cor 9:5). We  can make some observations about Jesus’ leadership training of the twelve.

1. A few workers thoroughly taught are more effective than many who are superficially taught. It is not the amount of numbers but the amount of impact.

2. The most important thing to teach those few workers is character development. If you lose this you lose your impact.

3. The most effective way to teach character development is through personal contact—incarnationally.

4. The goal of personal contact is to have reproducers, and having reproducers narrows the small group to a very few people. Jesus goes from 5000 to 70 to 12 to 4 to 2—Peter led the church during the first years and John during the last years.

An essential component of leadership is personal impact made personally. Jesus was the greatest leader that ever lived and His impact has been felt in every generation including this one.

One tactic Jesus utilized in their training was sending them out on specific missions. They are undergoing supervised practical training and as they do so Jesus is sharing His mission with them. This summoning and practical training  begins with giving them the authority to do so, and instructions about provisions and lodging as they go out. We will learn what is expected of those who share in the mission of Christ today.


Summoning and Authority 1 Jesus now ministers to His inner circle, the Twelve. When he summons them He is displaying His personal authority in such a way that He is expecting obedience. He commissions them with authority. Now Jesus had displayed significant power especially through His miracles, and now delegates that miraculous power to these as a clearer indication of His own greatness. This given authority extends to two areas: (1) authority to overcome demonic forces. Jesus ministry intensifies as the offer of the kingdom goes out to the Jews and so does the opposition to Him as well as intensified activity of the demonic forces. (2) authority to heal all kinds (every kind mentioned twice) of maladies. Luke mentions the twofold nature of this commissioning of the disciples 1. they are to preach the kingdom and 2. they are to heal the sick 9:2. So Jesus is extending his ministry by sharing his authority. Their subject is the kingdom of God though we do not have details about that message. Their confirmation comes in the healing and the exorcism. By empowering them with his authority, Jesus testifies to their authority as God’s representatives.       

Apostles 2-5 They are now called apostles and they are called apostles in connection with their ministry to Israel. This is the only time they are called such in Matthew. These twelve are being sent to the lost sheep of Israel in this context and as sent ones called apostles. Peter called first in every listing (Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13.26) because he is prominent among them and Judas is always described as the betrayer—40 times the NT mentions this. Peter would be prominent in Jewish thinking and was the apostle to the Jews in Acts. Like the disciples, we have responsibility to be engaged in the ministry of the kingdom of God. The implications of the Kingdom of God for Us today   The Kingdom of God must be proclaimed. Thus the message of the Gospel is not just a decision but a communication of the character of God as portrayed in Jesus of Nazareth. 

A. The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of heaven for anybody desiring Godliness (Matt. 8:11-12). B. It is not a kingdom of this world but one of eternity (John 18:36).  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come (Matt. 24:14).  C. Proclaiming the Kingdom of God is one of the primary objectives of its citizens (see Luke 19:11-27).

D. Proclaiming the  Kingdom  of God is done with an emphasis on compassion (see Matt. 18:21-35 and Luke 10:25-37). 

What, then, is our assignment? Do we preach salvation or do we do good (help the poor, be creative, give to the needy, etc.)? Or do we do some of both or should we do good in order to get an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel?    It is not sufficient to do good just to get a hearing for the Gospel. Neither is it right to do good without proclaiming the Gospel. But goodness (righteousness, holinesss, Godliness, Christ-likeness) is the Gospel in the sense that when one receives Christ, He is deciding that he wants to be like that He’s not making a resolution to be like that but in saying he’s a sinner and needs the cross, he’s recognizing that he falls short of the Kingdom of God as revealed in Christ.


The instructions for the journey are simple—travel light and depend upon God as you go.

The sphere 5-6  Do not enter a road to the gentile nor a city of the Samaritans. But exclusively go to the house of Israel vs 6. Jesus is offering the kingdom to the Jews. They were not to reach the world for Christ. We should go to those God is calling—that is to those who are responding. Be witnesses to the world but we are not to reach the world. For now it was to the Jews but that will all change.

The message and ministry 7-8 It is an urgent message because it is at hand. They were to preach on the move as they were going from city to city. To authenticate the message and its urgency, they were given power heal, raise, cleanse, cast. So we should preach the whole counsel of God not just the gospel but the kingdom of God and do it with urgency. Whatever we have—money, talents, gifts, abilities—like the apostles freely we have received these and so freely give it.

The provisions 9-15 In 9-10 they are prohibited gold, silver etc., only one tunic, sandals and staff—not to burden selves with excessive provisions not to carry them—the twelve are to travel light and depend upon God. In 11-14 the lodging is as simple as the provisions. From one village to the next the ones worthy are those who receive their message and if so stay there the whole time. So we establish a base of operation with worthy people. You should have an established home-base ministry. Worthiness is attached to reception. Otherwise shake off the dust as a testimony of the persons rejection like ‘good riddance’. Rejection can expect judgment vs 15—the apostles could anticipate rejection and those would receive greater condemnation for that rejection that the sinners of S&G!   The mission presupposes the passing of some time as they made their way. The campaign is hitting villages and cities. So engaging in the ministry of the kingdom involves a simple lifestyle committed to depend upon God.

1. We should provide our disciples with teaching, examples, real-life assignments.

2. We are not responsible for how people respond—let them know they may not get another opportunity or a limit of them.

3. Prioritize God’s kingdom not just gospel.