Matthew 10 - IVP New Testament Commentaries
The First Missionaries
For effectiveness in reaching Israel, Jesus naturally limited his disciples to free male Jews; perhaps due to the pool of available disciples, he also seems to have selected mainly Galileans. We know the occupations of roughly half of his disciples; of these, all were middle-income professions in which less than 10 percent of Jewish Palestine's population engaged (fishermen and tax gatherers), perhaps to give emphasis to socially prominent individuals who were nevertheless unassociated with any religious or social elite. Notably, Jesus did not invite any who were already religious professionals-hence already schooled in particular ideas-into his inner circle.
Despite these common features of the disciples, however, the list indicates some diversity. To include a tax collector (who was backed by the elite, v. 3) and possibly a revolutionary (v. 4) in the same band of disciples was noteworthy. Any of us who struggle with whether we are adequate to carry out God's purposes in the world should recall that the first ambassadors Jesus called were wholly inadequate. God uses especially those who will recognize their own inadequacy, for those who suppose their own ability adequate for God's call usually end up depending on it instead of on him.