What does Matthew 10:17 mean?
ESV: Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,
NIV: Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.
NASB: But be on guard against people, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues;
CSB: Beware of them, because they will hand you over to local courts and flog you in their synagogues.
NLT: But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues.
KJV: But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
Before sending His core twelve disciples out as His representatives to preach the gospel of His kingdom, Jesus has given them very specific instructions (Matthew 10:5–15). Now, He is telling them to expect danger and hardship along the way. In order to properly meet that challenge, He calls on His followers to be careful, and informed, and also gentle and peaceful (Matthew 10:16).
The warning given here, at first, would have seemed routine to an audience of Jewish men. They were used to alerts about Gentiles, especially the Romans. However, Jesus now indicates that substantial persecution will come from the Jewish religious leaders. He is describing a time after His death, resurrection, and return to heaven during which His apostles will be persecuted as Christians by Jewish rulers.
Jesus tells them to beware of men who will deliver them over to courts to flog them in their synagogues. The Jewish people had the authority, even under Roman rule, to carry out limited punishments within the context of their religious practice. These punishments for heresy and other serious sins could be quite harsh. Against Christians, eventually, these attacks would become severe to the point of death (John 16:2–4).
The apostle Paul both administered floggings against Jewish Christians (Acts 22:19) and received floggings after he became a Christian and started preaching about Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:24–25). Jesus is warning these men, His disciples, what it will cost them to preach His message to the people of Israel.
Matthew 10:16–25 follows Jesus' instructions to His twelve apostles, giving them guidance for their impending missionary journey. Here, He begins to describe events that will follow His own resurrection and return to heaven. When that time comes, the apostles will be arrested and dragged before various courts and officials because they represent Christ and insist that He is the Son of God. The Holy Spirit will speak through them about Jesus. They will run from one town to another to avoid persecution, spreading the good news about Christ as they go. Jesus was persecuted, so they will be, as well. Much as Jesus will do during the Last Supper (John 16:25–33), He will encourage these men to stand firm in their faith.
Jesus gives His authority over disease, demons, and even death to His twelve hand-picked apostles. He gives them instructions in preparation both for a short-term trip to the towns of Galilee and their ministry after He has left the earth. First, they will preach His message of the kingdom in Israelite towns as they heal and cast out demons to demonstrate His power. Later, they will suffer great persecution as they represent Him before both Jews and Gentiles. They should not be afraid, though, and trust their Father to be with them and to reward them.
Jesus has recently expressed compassion for the people of Israel, who are spiritually lost. Matthew 10 is a record of Jesus' instructions to His twelve core apostles, as He sends them on a short-term trip to the towns of Galilee. He also includes warnings and encouragements about the persecution they will eventually experience. In chapter 11, Jesus will continue to proclaim truth to the people of Israel, leading to further conflict with local religious leaders.
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 12/6/2023 11:05:11 PM
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