Jesus’ Instructions to His Disciples
Matthew 10 is a speech delivered by Jesus to his disciples. He is telling them what he expects from them and what they should expect from the people they speak to on their journeys. Jesus lays out several rules he expects them to follow:
- Tell people “The kingdom of heaven has come near” (10-7)
- He gave them the power to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons” (10:8)
- They couldn’t take money from people they healed: “Freely you have received; freely give” (10:8)
- They couldn’t take money or extra clothes with them, because he wanted them to depend on God for sustenance (10:9-11)
- They shouldn’t be afraid when they encountered unbelievers, because when they were arrested (as they surely would be), God would tell them what to do and say (10:17-20)
Jesus was honest with them: some of them would die carrying his message to the people. Some of them would be ostracized and cut off from their families. This may seem disheartening, but he also tells them that “whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (10:39). He lets them know that serving him wouldn’t always be easy, but they would be amply rewarded when the time came.
Faith and Doubt
I’ll be honest, sometimes I doubt my faith. I get discouraged because I can’t figure out what God’s plan for me is, and I wonder if things will ever truly work out in my favor. When I experience doubt, I take heart from the fact that I’m not alone; even John, one of Jesus’ disciples, doubted him! John was in prison when Jesus was performing his first miracles. When John heard of all that was happening, he sent someone to ask Jesus if he was “the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (11:3). Even one of Jesus’ own disciples wasn’t sure if everything he was hearing was true!
Jesus, rather than getting upset when he heard John’s question, praised John to the crowd gathered around him. He tells them that John is more than a prophet and that he had been chosen to be the first herald of God. John was the first to spread the word. Jesus goes on to say that the prophecy in Malachi 3:1 (“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you”) was in reference to John.
Doubt is Not a Sin
Doubt, if dealt with correctly, can be a good thing. It can inspire you to look for answers to questions you otherwise wouldn’t have asked. By learning more about God and your relationship with Him, it can strengthen your faith. It’s how you deal with your doubt that determines if it is a sin or not. When in doubt, put your faith in God and look for answers.