Although I took some time to read and post notes from the Qur'an recently, I'm still going through Matthew as well, and this chapter has a number of things to point out. I may only get to a bit of it this evening. We'll see.
Remember chapter 9 concluded with Jesus going through towns and villages "teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." Chapter 10 continues with Jesus sending his twelve disciples out to the children of Israel. He gave them "authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness." Some observations I made.
1. In Jesus' close circle of twelve, he has both a tax collector - one who would have worked with the Romans in financially oppressing his own people - and a zealot - one who would be for overthrowing the occupiers. How much ya want to bet those two had some lively discussions? :)
2. Jesus did not want the twelve to go to the Gentiles at this time. His first priority was ministering among the "lost sheep of Israel."
3. The message to preach was simply, "The kingdom of heaven is near."
4. They were instructed to "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons."
5. Jesus states, "Freely you have received, freely give." What a wonderful principle for all of us to follow! The disciples had been given this wonderful authority - can you imagine being able to heal those you know who are suffering from cancer or diabetes or Alzheimer's or any number of problems? Can you imagine being able to raise the dead for some grieving family? Driving out demons and restoring hope and sanity to people? Although we cannot do these amazing things, we have been given much so we should seek to meet the needs of others. We are blessed to bless others and truly it is "more blessed to give than to receive."
6. Jesus didn't want them to take extra clothes or money saying the "worker is worth his keep." Perhaps this was a lesson on trusting God to provide for their needs.
7. The disciples were instructed to search for "worthy person" and stay at his house. Give a greeting and if the household is deserving "let your peace rest on it." I wonder what made a person "worthy" and a house "deserving" of the disciples' peace.
8. Jesus took this message seriously because he stated, " 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town."
More bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah?! Whoa! In the book I read by Bart Ehrman, he stated Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher with that "kingdom of heaven is near" stuff. Speaking of which, what do you think that means? And back in chapter 9 Jesus was preaching the "good news of the kingdom." Why is it good news? What makes it so good?
My Quest Study Bible notes this about shaking the dust off feet.
"Jews returning to Israel from a foreign land would shake the dust from their sandals and clothing to avoid defiling the land they considered holy. The disciples were delivering a similar warning to the people of Israel. If they rejected the message of Christ, they would face the same judgment as unbelieving foreigners."
Any thoughts on these verses or my notes? I'd love if you have anything to add!