Here, Jesus gives his closest followers a special mission and a special authority.
He tells them to preach what he’s been preaching and do what he’s been doing (Matthew 10:7). They are to preach the arrival of God’s kingdom and heal the sick.
But along with this new mission comes a list of warnings. People will ignore or reject their message and they will attack and persecute them as messengers (Matthew 10:17). This mission will cost these disciples more than they can imagine.
But Jesus tells them not to be afraid three different times.
First, they are not to fear because everything hidden will be made known (Matthew 10:26). Jesus is linking their persecution to his (Matthew 10:25). Jesus will be arrested in secret and killed under the cloak of false accusations. But who he is and his triumph over the grave would not be hidden when he rose from the dead.
In the same way, Jesus is promising that he will reveal a final victory out of their most hidden moments of persecution.
Secondly, Jesus reminds the disciples that they will face some who “can kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28) Their persecutors can only do so much. And Jesus promises that “whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39) They need not fear because Jesus can bring life out of death.
Lastly, Jesus compares God’s care for birds to his attentive care for the disciples. They should not fear because God will care for them far more than he provides for birds (Matthew 10:31).
Why is this good news?
This mission is a living picture of salvation and judgment through Jesus. Those who receive the disciple’s message have “peace” come upon them (Matthew 10:13).
But the disciples were to shake the dust off their feet in their houses and towns of those who reject the Gospel (Matthew 10:14). This was a symbol of the uncleanliness that remained there, and a promise that judgment would come (Matthew 10:15).
The same offer remains for us today. If we believe the message of the gospel, we have peace between ourselves and God through Christ. If we do not believe, we stand unclean and condemned.
Jesus makes an incredible promise to do what only he can: to vouch for anyone who has faith in him before his Father (Matthew 10:32). This is good news because sinners have no means by which to justify themselves before God. But through faith in Jesus, we have a savior who will justify us before God.
Now, we who have believed this gospel message are called to go out like disciples (Matthew 28:19). We are to share the good news and do the works Jesus did.
We do not need to fear rejection because we are accepted in Jesus. We do not need to fear persecution because even in death, we will not find suffering, but life. And we do not need to fear scarcity or deprivation because God has provided us with all we need in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
See for yourself.
May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who sends us good news of salvation. And Jesus as the Savior who acknowledges his followers before the Father.