Matthew 10:36
A man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
The Commanding of the TwelveP.C. Barker Matthew 10:1-42
The Mission of the GospelJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 10:34-42

Jesus Christ came as the "Prince of Peace," and his advent was heralded by angels, who sang of "peace on earth." When one of his disciples drew a sword to defend him, he bade the man put it back in its sheath, saying, "They that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matthew 26:52). His kingdom is not of this world, and because it is not, he told Pilate that his servants would not fight (John 18:36). How, then, can he speak of sending a sword?

I. HISTORICALLY, THE ADVENT OF CHRIST PROVOKES OPPOSITION. We know that swords were drawn against the disciples of Christ. James the son of Zebedee heard a warning in these words of Christ that was subsequently verified in his own person - though as yet he knew it not - when Herod slew him with the sword, and he became the first martyr-apostle. Our Lord foresaw persecution and predicted it. But this was not contrary to his peace principles. His disciples did not fight; and neither he nor they provoked antagonism by showing a quarrelsome spirit. The sword was wholly in the hands of the enemies of the new faith. It was not a sword of equal warfare, but a sword of cruelty, tyranny, persecution. Yet Christ did not draw back from the prospect of it, nor did he permit any compromise on the part of his disciples. Truth must be spoken, errors must be exposed, sin must be denounced, at any cost. Let the Christian be prepared for opposition. If all men speak well of him, let him search his conduct to see whether he has been faithful, or whether perchance he may have been speaking smooth things for the sake of ease and comfort.

II. SOCIALLY, THE COMING OF CHRIST STIRS UP DISCORD. This is a sad picture of the sword cutting into the home and separating child and parent (ver. 35). We know that no family is so united as a truly Christian family. Christ consecrates and strengthens home-life. He does not require us to renounce home-ties in order to follow him. How, then, does he come to describe the hideous picture of family quarrels brought about by his coming? We know that his words came true in many a Jewish home where a son or a daughter confessed Christ. They are applicable to-day in Hindoo families that have been reached by missionary influences. Even in England a true, brave confession of Christ may bring great trouble in a worldly home, the habits of which are distinctly unchristian. The explanation is that Christ must be first, and that no domestic claim can excuse us for disloyalty to him. In order that the home may be ultimately glorified as the dwelling of Christ, it may have to be firs; of all saddened as the scene of discord. The larger society is broken and disturbed by Christian influences, and the trouble must go on tilt society is Christian.

III. SPIRITUALLY, THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST BRINGS A SWORD. The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The gospel of peace first brings warfare into the soul. It cuts through old habits; it opposes darling sins; it sets nil a new standard at variance with what was loved in the past. The old Adam will not die without a struggle; he fights against the new man. Thus the heart of the Christian becomes a battle-field. To refuse to resist temptation for the sake of peace and quiet is to be unfaithful to Christ, who only gives peace through a faithful endurance of conflict. - W F.A.

To set a man at variance against his Father.
I. THAT UNION OF FAMILIES IN RELIGION IS DESIRABLE. Because all its members have the same interests at stake; they are all under substantially the same obligations; it promotes the happiness of a family, gives consolation in times of affliction, promotes the eternal welfare of all.

II. THAT RELIGION DOES, IN FACT, MAKE A SEPARATION IN FAMILIES, It divides families at the Communion table; in respect of their prospects of future glory, and at the judgment-bar with unerring accuracy. Lessons: Pray more for impenitent children, &c.; contemplate the possibility of a family being united in heaven.

(Dr. A. Barites.)Those who are most near, are most easily divided.


There is a climax of three degrees. Brother shall be against brother, parent against child, child against parents — each worse than the preceding. The history of the Church has many illustrations of this. Such were the histories of Perpetua and Felicitas, in the persecution of Severus, where the children refused to listen to parents' entreaties to give up Christ, and died in their steadfastness; and such was the dreadful speech recorded of Philip II. of Spain, who thought that he was showing zeal for God by declaring of the Protestants, "If it were my own son, I would bring the faggot."

(W. Benham.)

Too often is this prediction fulfilled in the case of converts (especially those from Judaism) even at the present day — the most devoted son or daughter has too often to feel that their adopting Christianity has severed them from beloved parents. The Rev. Moses Margdionth, in a narrative drawn up in the year 1842, illustrates this by his own experience. Mr. Margdionth had been led, by a remarkable chain of circumstances, to embrace Christianity. He was a native of Poland, but did not receive baptism until his arrival in London, having left his country for the purpose of study, and more especially of acquiring religious knowledge. He felt it his duty as soon as possible to acquaint his parents with his change of faith, and his father at first wrote him an affectionate answer, entreating him to come home and recant his apostacy, but finding that nothing would induce him to renounce Christianity and return to his house, ceased to answer his letters, and for a long time seemed to ignore his existence. Still, however, Margdionth persevered in writing, and at length, to use his own words — "I received a most severe letter from my father, telling me that if I did not return immediately to his house, I should never be permitted to call myself his son: that he should hate me with perfect hatred, and that he should prohibit my writing to him any more. My dear mother wrote again with affectionate sadness, telling me that she had not ceased to weep for me, and had even injured her eyes with weeping." It is consolatory to find that Mr. Margdionth, who spared no effort or exertion to win hack the heart of his father, was rewarded at length by a complete reconciliation, though we have no ground to believe that his parents ever embraced Christianity. Yet sadder tales meet us in the annals of missions among the heathen. Harriet Winslow, the devoted American missionary in Ceylon, mentions the very sad case of a youth named Tupyen, who had become interested in Christianity by reading part of a Tamil Bible, lent him by another young man. He begged permission to attend the mission school at Tillipally, but when it came to his father's knowledge that he had there avowed himself a Christian, the poor fellow was, when he next returned home, shut up, and otherwise most severely treated. Once he made his escape to Tillipally, and there told the missionary, Mr. Peel, what had befallen him. He took a Testament, and pointing to this very passage (Matthew 10:31-39), said, with tears — "That very good." But again falling into the hands of his father, Tupyen was beaten, tabooed, threatened, insulted in every possible way, so that at length, alas, he signed a recantation of Christianity.


1. We are to remember that social life is not merely the accidental juxtaposition of man with man; it organizes itself. Men stand related to each other in such a way that if one goes out of the circle, it is like the going of one out from a quartette of singers.

2. It is frequently the case that the escape of one from a circle towards a true and high religious life, is hindered on account of the social ambitions which prevail. Circles defend themselves against men going to desert for religion.

3. Another reason why persons endeavour to prevent the escape of men to a higher religious plane, is the judgment and rebuke which is always reflected, by such a course, upon their own career.


1. There is the battle of fear into which men go.

2. Next is the battle of interest. Men try to dissuade their fellow-men from true religion on account of the effects which it will have upon their interests in life.

3. Then there are persons who are peculiarly sensitive to praise. They cannot bear the shady side of men's opinions. A circle, by a judicious silence, can make a man feel as though the fogs of Newfoundland were on him.

4. Then there is the battle of dissuasion.


1. It should be made clear that you are in earnest and sincere.

2. That that which is upon you is not a mere whim.

3. Remember that you need and shall have the help of God.

(H. W. Beecher.)

As birds, when their time of emigration comes, and they feel the impulse to fly to the summer-land, and will not be stopped, either by the snap of the fowler's gun or by the sweep of the hawk, or by any solicitation, but rise, and fly through night and through day, to find that summer-land: so souls feel the fascinating call of God, and, rising, soar — and must, because the Holy Ghost is upon them.

(H. W. Beecher.)

The smallest wheel in my watch, emigrating, would leave all the rest of the wheels, big and little, in a very sorry plight. Although it may be very small, and stand on its own rights as a wheel, yet, after all, it has been cogged, and notched, and adjusted, so that the whole structure depends on that. You might as well smash the watch as to take that out. Frequently it is the case that the members of a circle are so affiliated, so exactly fitted to each other, that if you take one out, all the rest are dissevered. And it is not surprising, it does not imply any great degree of depravity, to say that where a number of men are living an ordinary, an average, social life, and one of them is inspired with a higher, a holier religious purpose, and desires and means to go up on a level that none of them have been standing on, his emigration upward wrenches them all. And it is not strange that they try to stop it.

(H. W. Beecher.)

The unrest of a Christless soul, a Christless nation, a Christless world, is really the beginning of a vital process, which in its first stages is always a travail. The Lord is not afraid of the storm of strife and frenzy which He stirs in the world. We think that these are death pains; He knows that they are birth pains, through which the glorious golden future is being born.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

When a boy first comes from home, full of the natural desire of doing his duty, of improving himself, of getting on well, he is presently beset by the ridicule of all the worthless and foolish boys around him, who want to sink him to their own level. How completely true it is that his foes are they of his own household — that is, they who are most immediately about him, those of his own age, and his own place in the school. They become his idol; before their most foolish, most low, and most wicked voices. he gives up his affections, his understanding, and his conscience; from this mass of ignorance, and falsehood, and selfishness, he looks for the guide of his opinions and his conduct.

(T. Arnold, D. D.)

Alphaeus, Andrew, Bartholomew, Beelzebub, James, Jesus, John, Judas, Lebbaeus, Matthew, Peter, Philip, Simon, Thaddaeus, Thomas, Zabdi, Zebedee
Capernaum, Gomorrah, Sodom
Enemies, Family, Foes, Hated, Household, Man's, Members
1. Jesus sends out his apostles, enabling them with power to do miracles;
5. giving them their charge, teaches them;
16. comforts them against persecutions;
40. and promises a blessing to those who receive them.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 10:36

     5480   protection
     5561   suffering, nature of
     8032   trust, lack of
     8729   enemies, of Christ
     8795   persecution, nature of

Matthew 10:34-36

     8730   enemies, of believers

Matthew 10:34-38

     5682   family, significance

Matthew 10:35-36

     5568   suffering, causes
     5798   betrayal

Matthew 10:35-37

     5685   fathers, responsibilities

January 24. "Freely Ye have Received, Freely Give" (Matt. x. 8).
"Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matt. x. 8). When God does anything marked and special for our souls, or bodies, He intends it as a sacred trust for us to communicate to others. "Freely ye have received, freely give." It has pleased the Master in these closing days of the dispensation to reveal Himself in peculiar blessing to the hearts of His chosen disciples in all parts of the Christian Church; but this is intended to be communicated to a still wider circle, and every one of us who has
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

A Life Lost and Found [Footnote: Preached after the Funeral of Mr. F. W. Crossley. ]
'He that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.' --MATT. x. 39. My heart impels me to break this morning my usual rule of avoiding personal references in the pulpit. Death has been busy in our own congregation this last week, and yesterday we laid in the grave all that was mortal of a man to whom Manchester owes more than it knows. Mr. Crossley has been for thirty years my close and dear friend. He was long a member of this church and congregation. I need not speak of his utter unselfishness,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Obscure Apostles
'These twelve Jesus sent forth.'--MATT. x. 5. And half of 'these twelve' are never heard of as doing any work for Christ. Peter and James and John we know; the other James and Judas have possibly left us short letters; Matthew gives us a Gospel; and of all the rest no trace is left. Some of them are never so much as named again, except in the list at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles; and none of them except the three who 'seemed to be pillars' appear to have been of much importance in the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Widened Mission, Its Perils and Defences
'Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18. And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20. For it
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Like Teacher, Like Scholar
'The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 26. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.' --MATT. x. 24, 25. These words were often on Christ's lips. Like other teachers, He too had His favourite sayings, the light of which He was wont to flash into many dark places. Such a saying, for instance, was, 'To him that hath shall be given.' Such a saying is this of my text; and probably several other of our Lord's utterances, which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The King's Charge to his Ambassadors
'Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. 33. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven. 34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36. And man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Greatest in the Kingdom, and their Reward
'He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.' --MATT. x. 41, 42. There is nothing in these words to show whether they refer to the present or to the future. We shall probably
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Christ's Charge to his Heralds
'These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, do not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10. Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

February the Second How to Approach a Crisis
"It shall be given you in that same hour." --MATTHEW x. 16-28. And so I am not to worry about the coming crisis! "God never is before His time, and never is behind!" When the hour is come, I shall find that the great Host hath made "all things ready." When the crisis comes He will tell me how to rest. It is a great matter to know just how to rest--how to be quiet when "all without tumultuous seems." We irritate and excite our souls about the coming emergency, and we approach it with worn and
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

May the Sixteenth the Details of Providence
"The very hairs of your head are all numbered." --MATTHEW x. 24-31. Providence goes into details. Sometimes, in our human intercourse, we cannot see the trees for the wood. We cannot see the individual sheep for the flock. We cannot see the personal soul for the masses. We are blinded by the bigness of things; we cannot see the individual blades of grass because of the field. Now God's vision is not general, it is particular. There are no "masses" to the Infinite. "He calleth His own sheep by
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Christ Bringing a Sword.
(Christmas Sermon.) "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill towards men!" TEXT: MATT. x. 34. "Think not that I came to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." HOW wonderfully out of harmony these words sound with the angelic greeting that we have just heard; threatening to rob us of all the joy and blessedness of this holy season! For is the sword pre-eminently the glory of God? and if it rages anew, is that a special delight to men? When the message has come
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. x. 16, "Behold, I Send You Forth as Sheep in the Midst of Wolves," Etc. Delivered on a Festival
1. When the Holy Gospel was read, Brethren, ye heard how our Lord Jesus Christ strengthened His Martyrs by His teaching, saying, "Behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves." [2215] Now consider, my Brethren, what he does. If but one wolf come among many sheep, be they ever so many thousands, they will all be put to confusion by one wolf in the midst of them: and though all may not be torn, yet all are frightened. What manner of design is this then, what manner of counsel, what manner
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. x. 28, "Be not Afraid of them that Kill the Body. " Delivered on a Festival of Martyrs.
1. The Divine oracles which have just been read teach us in fearing not to fear, and in not fearing to fear. Ye observed when the Holy Gospel was being read, that our Lord God before He died for us, would have us to be firm; and this by admonishing us "not" to fear, and withal to fear. For he said, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." See where He advised us not to fear. See now where He advised us to fear. "But," saith he, "fear Him who hath power to destroy both
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Confessing Christ an Indispensable Duty.
"--If we deny him, he also will deny us." This is predicated of Christ; and looks forward to the day when all mankind will stand before him as their judge. Denying Christ is here declared to be a mortal sin. Those found guilty of it will hear that sentence--"Depart ye cursed!" But this is to be understood only of a persevering denial of him. Those who turn by a timely repentance, will find mercy. This is true of every sin. But repentance may be too late. It must antecede death, or it will be of
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

The Trial of Peter's Love to Christ.
"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?' He saith unto him, 'Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.' He saith unto him, 'Feed my lambs.' He saith to him again a second time, 'Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me?' He saith unto him. 'Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.' He saith unto him, 'Feed my sheep.' He saith unto him the third time, 'Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me?' Peter was grieved, because he said to him the third
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

Enduring to the End
But, my brethren, how glorious is the sight of the man who does endure to the end as a minister of Christ. I have photographed upon my heart just now, the portrait of one very, very dear to me, and I think I may venture to produce a rough sketch of him, as no mean example of how honorable it is to endure to the end. This man began while yet a youth to preach the Word. Sprung of ancestors who had loved the Lord and served his Church, he felt the glow of holy enthusiasm. Having proved his capabilities,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 10: 1864

Now, when we look abroad into the world we see, as we think, such abundant proofs that there is a God, that we are apt to treat a man who denies the existence of a God with very little respect or patience. We believe him to be wilfully blind, for we see God's name so legible upon the very surface of creation, that we cannot have patience with him if he dares to deny the existence of a Creator. And in the matter of salvation: we have each of us seen in our own salvation such positive marks of the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

The Meteor Shower (Preached at the Chapel Royal, St. James's, Nov. 26, 1866. )
ST. MATTHEW x. 29, 30. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. It will be well for us to recollect, once for all, who spoke these words; even Jesus Christ, who declared that He was one with God the Father; Jesus Christ, whom His apostles declared to be the Creator of the universe. If we believe this, as Christian men, it will be well for us to take our Lord's account of a universe
Charles Kingsley—The Water of Life and Other Sermons

God's Works of Providence
Rom. xi. 36.--"For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever, Amen."--Psal. ciii. 19.--"The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens and his kingdom ruleth over all."--Matt. x. 29.--"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father." There is nothing more commonly confessed in words, than that the providence of God reaches to all the creatures and their actions, but I believe there is no point of religion
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Final Unmasking.
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.--Matthew x. 26; Luke xii. 2. God is not a God that hides, but a God that reveals. His whole work in relation to the creatures he has made--and where else can lie his work?--is revelation--the giving them truth, the showing of himself to them, that they may know him, and come nearer and nearer to him, and so he have his children more and more of companions to him. That we are in the dark about anything is
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

The Disciple, -- Master, in These Days Some Learned Men and their Followers Regard Thy...
The Disciple,--Master, in these days some learned men and their followers regard Thy atonement and the redemption by blood as meaningless and futile, and say that Christ was only a great teacher and example for our spiritual life, and that salvation and eternal happiness depend on our own efforts and good deeds. The Master,--1. Never forget that spiritual and religious ideas are connected less with the head than with the heart, which is the temple of God, and when the heart is filled with the presence
Sadhu Sundar Singh—At The Master's Feet

The Completion of Our Saviour's Prophecies Confirmed Pagans in their Belief of the Gospel.
I. The completion of our Saviour's Prophecies confirmed Pagans in their belief of the gospel. II. Origen's observation on our Saviour's disciples being brought before kings and governors; III. On their being persecuted for their religion; IV. On their preaching the gospel to all nations. V. On the destruction of Jerusalem, and ruin of the Jewish oeconomy. VI. These arguments strengthened by what has happened since Origen's time. I. THE second of these extraordinary means, of great use to the learned
Joseph Addison—The Evidences of the Christian Religion, with Additional Discourses

After Prayer Jesus Selects Twelve Apostles.
(Near Capernaum.) ^A Matt. X. 2-4; ^B Mark III. 13-19; ^C Luke VI. 12-16. ^c 12 And it came to pass in these days, that he went out into the mountain ^b 13 And he goeth up into the mountain, ^c to pray; and he continued all night in prayer to God. [It was a momentous occasion. He was about to choose those to whom he was to entrust the planting, organizing, and training of that church which was to be the purchase of his own blood. Jesus used such important crises, not as occasions for anxiety and
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Nor do they Attend to This, that if Another Should Say...
3. Nor do they attend to this, that if another should say, that the Lord indeed, speaking in parables and in similitudes concerning spiritual food and clothing, did warn that not on these accounts should His servants be solicitous; (as He saith, "When they shall drag you to judgment-seats, take no thought what ye shall speak. For it will be given you in that hour what ye shall speak: but it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you." [2479] For the discourse of spiritual
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

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