The Mission of Jesus' Agents (10:5-15)

Jesus' instructions here show that the disciples would carry on most aspects of his mission (9:35-38). Even if one started from skeptical grounds, there is good evidence to suggest a historical basis for the account of Jesus' sending his disciples. Teachers could train disciples in part by giving them practice, and that Jesus did so best explains the disciples' rapid imitation of his miraculous ministry in the years immediately following the resurrection (compare 2 Cor 12:12). Yet Matthew provides these instructions not merely as a matter of historical interest-had his interest been merely historical he would not have rearranged the material in this section so thoroughly to be relevant to his readers-but as a living message to his own audience.

Thus he includes some of Jesus' teachings not strictly relevant to the first mission but which his audience would recognize as particularly relevant in their own day, including prosecution in synagogue and pagan courts (10:17-18; see F. Bruce 1972a:68; Morosco 1979; pace Schweitzer 1968:361). Likewise Matthew 11:1, unlike Mark, does not actually report the disciples' mission, because for Matthew the mission must continue in his own generation. Summoning his audience to greater commitment to the Gentile mission, he provides instructions for those who would go forth to evangelize, and in more general ways for the churches that send them.

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