Jesus gives his newly commissioned disciples instructions on carrying out his ministry. There two things that stick out to me (among other things). First, Jesus tells the “twelve” to bypass the Gentiles and Samaritans and head directly to Jews. I think this certainly says more than one thing of importance. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the promises made to Israel. He is the Messiah. The good news comes out of the Jewish tradition and faith so it must first go to them. If it went to the Gentiles first then this good news would be near impossible for the Jews to believe. So Jesus isn’t contradicting his statement that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) There is a proper order to salvation history because the promises were first made to Israel. When Jesus dies, the temple veil is torn and all may have access to God through Christ.
Second, Jesus tells his disciples to give without receiving compensation since the gifts they will be bestowing were received without payment. We should be reminded that the grace we have received has not been given to us based on any merit of our own. Eternal life is the free gift of God. Paul echoes these sentiments in his words to the Ephesians. “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (Eph. 1:5-6) His love is matchless. His grace is glorious. Worthy is the Lamb. He is the only one deserving of honor and praise.
Matthew 10:5-15 (ESV)
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.