This chapter begins with the Lord calling His twelve disciples, and giving them power over unclean spirits and over the diseases that afflict mankind.  The fact that the Lord Jesus could assign such power to sinful men clearly evidences His Godhead.  No mere man, not even those so great as Moses or Elijah, could communicate such power.  When Elisha prayed for a double portion of his master’s spirit to be left him, Elijah knew it was not his to grant, but mentioned to Elisha the sign that God would give if it pleased Him to grant that request.  The Lord Jesus acts in an altogether different manner.  By His own naked word, He clothes His disciples with authority over demons, spirits whose power and resilience is a thousand times greater than that of we frail humans.  But before the word of Christ, their greatest malice is utterly impotent.  This is why even we today, though we do not enjoy the supernatural gifts bestowed on the apostles, still have the promise that when we resist the Devil he will flee from us.  This is not because of our own strength, but because of Jesus Christ, Who is God as well as man.  He has taken up residence in us, and by faith in Him we even may overcome the powers of darkness.

After giving a list of the twelve apostles, Matthew proceeds to recount another lengthy sermon of our Master, one that is of great evangelical import in every age.  He begins by commanding them not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans, but only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  Thereby we see, not only Christ’s divine authority, but also God’s discriminating grace.  Though Christ Himself occasionally deigned to show mercy to Gentiles and Samaritans, as in the woman at the well in John 4, and the Syro-Phoenician woman, yet here He deprives them of the message of salvation, and sends it only to the people God had redeemed out of Egypt.  Here the carnal mind will shout unfair, and demand that God do everything for one person or group that He does for another.  It scarcely needs saying that the just God is not impressed by men’s concepts of equity.  He is the Potter, and we are the clay.  He possesses, and will exercise His sovereign prerogative to send the Gospel wheresoever He chooses, and to whomsoever He chooses.  We ought, rather than complaining, to thank Him that it was His good pleasure to send the Gospel to us, rather than leaving us in darkness, as He did with so many of our ancestors.

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