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    Lesson No.: 
    Memory Verse: 

    “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

    Cross References: 

    I The Call of the Twelve Disciples to the Ministry
    1. They are empowered to do the work for which they are called, [Matthew:10:1]; [Mark:3:14-15].
    2. The names of the twelve, now called Apostles, are listed, [Matthew:10:2-4]; [Mark:3:14-15].
    3. Their ministry is limited to the house of Israel, [Matthew:10:5-6; [Luke:9:1-2]; [Romans:1:16].

    II Instructions Concerning Their Ministry
    1. They are to preach and heal without charge, [Matthew:10:7-8]; [Mark:16:20].
    2. They are not to take money or extra apparel with them, [Matthew:10:9-10]; [Matthew:6:31-32].
    3. They are to abide at the house which receives them, and rejecters are judged, [Matthew:10:11-15]; [Acts:13:51]; [1 Corinthians:9:14].

    III Persecutions and Perils
    1. Like their Lord, they will be hated of all men for the Gospel’s sake, and brought before the council, [Matthew:10:16-25]; [John:15:18]; [John:16:33].
    2. They are not to fear men but God, who notes the sparrow’s fall and cares for His children, [Matthew:10:28-33].
    3. Their foes will be of their own household, [Matthew:10:34-39]; [Romans:8:35].
    4. A blessing will come upon those who receive His ministers, [Matthew:10:40-42].


    Harvest Fields White
    Just prior to sending out the twelve disciples, Jesus was very busy healing the sick and casting out devils. The multitudes had thronged Him. He was moved with compassion and said to His disciples: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” The people were also spiritually sick; they needed a “physician.” Their hopes had perished; they needed reviving.

    Centuries have passed and we find that the world is in the same condition today. The call for labourers is still going forth; the harvest fields are white but the labourers are few. Can we sit idly by and see the lost and dying as they perish, without doing our best to se the Gospel spread?

    Calling the Disciples
    Jesus was walking along the shores of Galilee one day and saw Peter and Andrew fishing. He called them from their nets to follow Him. They straightway left their nets and followed Jesus. A little farther down the shore He saw James and John mending their nets, and He called them also to follow Him. They immediately left their nets and followed Jesus. What a response to the call of the Gospel! The Spirit of God is knocking at the door of every heart today. How few are “immediately” leaving all to follow Jesus!

    We find other disciples called from different occupations – Matthew from the receipt of custom. They had all witnessed the ministry of Jesus and His manner of healing the sick. This was a period of learning; they were just babes in Christ and they must receive instruction in righteousness. Paul says, “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy:3:17). It has been said that the best preparation for the ministry is acquaintance and communication with God.

    His Teachings and Doctrine
    These disciples did not receive their instructions in a training school or seminary, as is the usual method in modern times, but they were trained through daily fellowship and contact with Jesus while following Him in His ministry. One time Jesus thanked the Father because He had hid these things from the wise and prudent and had revealed them unto babes -– simple-hearted men who would believe the truth.

    In the modern church today, emphasis is placed on much learning, and worldly wisdom, which all too often results in the neglect of the spiritual side and being genuinely born again. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God: (John:3:3). Today we still become personally acquainted with Jesus by being born again.

    The twelve were originally called disciples. Now they are sent forth and called Apostles. A disciple is one who receives instructions from and follows another; an apostle is a messenger sent forth. The call of the disciple is a call to learning; the call of the apostle is to go forth.

    It was not accidental that He chose twelve men to be the ones through whom His church was to be established. This number coincides with the twelve patriarchs or fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. In Revelation we are told that the names of the twelve Apostles are in the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem.
    The names of the Apostles are listed by two’s, and it is possible that they were sent out as they are listed, by two’s.

    The Jews First
    Christ came to His own – the Jews. His ministry on earth was directed primarily to them. He sent His disciples first to the Jews; but because of their unbelief and rejection of Christ, the Gospel was then carried to the Gentiles. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans:1:16). “To the Greek” here, means to the Gentiles.

    Christ did not refuse to give the Gentiles the truth when they came to Him. When the Syrophoenician woman, whose daughter was plagued, came to Him, Jesus told her it was not meet to take the children’s bread and give it to dogs. She said, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (Matthew:15:27). Jesus honoured her faith and healed her daughter. She was a Gentile but she had a view of the real truth when she spoke those words.

    Instructions for Their Ministry
    They were to provide neither gold nor silver in their purses, nor scrip for their journey: “For the workman is worthy of his meat,” How different from the worldly religious organisations of today! Some modern evangelists demand a guarantee of a certain salary before they accept an appointment.

    Into whatever town they entered they were to enquire who was worthy; and when they came into a house, if they were received they were to abide there and let their peace come upon it; but if they were refused they were to shake off the dust from their feet as a testimony against that house or city.

    “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Since our first forefathers sinned there has been a continuous battle raging in this world between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. Jesus warned the Apostles that they would be persecuted for His sake, and would be delivered up to the council; but He told them to fear none of those things, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. James was the first Apostle to be put to death for the cause of Christ. He fell into the hands of Herod and was killed.

    A man’s foes shall be they of his own household. Sometimes our most severe persecutors are those from our own family. In some cases the household becomes divided: the parents against the children, and the children against the parents, because some are saved and believe on Jesus and others reject Him.

    After presenting the hardships of the Gospel to the Apostles, Jesus tells them of the love and protection of their heavenly Father, and reassures them that not a sparrow falls without His notice and that they are of more value than many sparrows.

    These instructions to the twelve contain some wonderful advice for us today: to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”; to expect hardships; to trust in God’s unfailing care of His own; and to keep our eyes fixed on the eternal goal.

    Kingdom of Heaven
    They were to go forth and preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus, and also John the Baptist, had preached the same message. There were no newspapers, radios, or telegraph wires; the news must be spread by word of mouth.

    In parables He told them about a literal kingdom that He would establish in the proper time. He spoke about a nobleman who went into a far country for a long time, to receive for Himself a kingdom and return. Christ is in that “country” now; He will soon return to receive His kingdom, for which He has paid the price by His redemption of mankind. Then He will sit on the throne of His Kingdom. What a privilege for us today to accept this wonderful Gospel and be ready to receive this great King when He comes for His own!


    1. Name the twelve Apostles.
    2. To whom were the twelve Apostles sent?
    3. What came upon a household that received them?
    4. If a city failed to receive them, what were the Apostles to do?
    5. Did the Lord come to bring peace or division in the world?
    6. What place should our fathers and mothers have in our hearts?
    7. Why were the Apostles not to charge for preaching the Gospel?
    8. When Jesus sent the Apostles forth to preach, how many were to go together?