These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded - To be properly qualified for a minister of Christ, a man must be,
These are four different gifts which a man must receive from God by Christ Jesus. To these let him add all the human qualifications he can possibly attain; as in his arduous work he will require every gift and every grace.
Go not into the way of the Gentiles - Our Lord only intended that the first offers of salvation should be made to the Jewish people; and that the heathen should not be noticed in this first mission, that no stumbling-block might be cast in the way of the Jews.
Into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not - The Samaritans had afterwards the Gospel preached to them by Christ himself, John 4:4, etc., for the reason assigned above. Such as God seems at first to pass by are often those for whom he has designed his greatest benefits, (witness the Samaritans, and the Gentiles in general), but he has his own proper time to discover and reveal them.
The history of the Samaritans is sufficiently known from the Old Testament. Properly speaking, the inhabitants of the city of Samaria should be termed Samaritans; but this epithet belongs chiefly to the people sent into that part of the promised land by Salmanezer, king of Assyria, in the year of the world 3283, when he carried the Israelites that dwelt there captives beyond the Euphrates, and sent a mixed people, principally Cuthites, to dwell in their place. These were altogether heathens at first; but they afterwards incorporated the worship of the true God with that of their idols. See the whole account, 2 Kings 17:5, etc. From this time they feared Jehovah, and served other gods till after the Babylonish captivity. From Alexander the Great, Sanballat, their governor, obtained permission to build a temple upon Mount Gerizim, which the Jews conceiving to be in opposition to their temple at Jerusalem, hated them with a perfect hatred, and would have no fellowship with them. The Samaritans acknowledge the Divine authority of the law of Moses, and carefully preserve it in their own characters, which are probably the genuine ancient Hebrew; the character which is now called Hebrew being that of the Chaldeans. The Samaritan Pentateuch is printed in the London Polyglott, and is an undeniable record. A poor remnant of this people is found still at Naplouse, the ancient Shechem; but they exist in a state of very great poverty and distress, and probably will soon become extinct.
Into the way of the Gentiles - That is, among the Gentiles, or nowhere but among the Jews. The full time for preaching the gospel to the Gentiles was not come. It was proper that it should be first preached to the Jews, the ancient covenant people of God, and the people among whom the Messiah was born. Afterward he gave them a charge to go into all the world, Matthew 28:19.
And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not - The Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. This region was situated between Jerusalem and Galilee; so that in passing from the one to the other, it was a direct course to pass through Samaria. The capital of the country was Samaria, formerly a large and splendid city. It was situated about 15 miles to the northwest of the city of Shechem or Sychar (see the notes at John 4:5), and about 40 miles to the north of Jerusalem. For a description of this city, see the notes at Isaiah 28:1. Sychar or Shechem was also a city within the limits of Samaria.
This people was formerly composed of a few of the ten tribes and a mixture of foreigners. When the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Babylon, the King of Assyria sent people from Cutha, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim to inhabit their country, 2 Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:2-11. These people at first worshipped the idols of their own nations; but, being troubled with lions, which had increased greatly while the country remained uninhabited, they supposed it was because they had not honored the God of the country. A Jewish priest was therefore sent to them from Babylon to instruct them in the Jewish religion. They were instructed partially from the books of Moses, but still retained many of their old rites and idolatrous customs, and embraced a religion made up of Judaism and idolatry, 2 Kings 17:26-28.
The grounds of difference between the two nations were the following:
1. The Jews, after their return from Babylon, set about rebuilding their temple. The Samaritans offered to aid them. The Jews, however, perceiving that it was not from a love of true religion, but that they might obtain a part of the favors granted to the Jews by Cyrus, rejected their offer. The consequence was, that a stare of long and bitter animosity arose between them and the Jews.
2. While Nehemiah was engaged in building the walls of Jerusalem, the Samaritans used every art to thwart him in his undertaking, Nehemiah 6:1-14.
3. The Samaritans at length obtained leave of the Persian monarch to build a temple for themselves. This was erected on “Mount Gerizim,” and they strenuously contended that that was the place designated by Moses as the place where the nation should worship. Sanballat, the leader of the Samaritans, constituted his son-in-law, Manasses, high priest. The religion of the Samaritans thus became perpetuated, and an irreconcilable hatred arose between them and the Jews. See the notes at John 4:20.
4. Afterward Samaria became a place of resort for all the outlaws of Judea. They received willingly all the Jewish criminals and refugees from justice. The violators of the Jewish laws, and those who had been excommunicated, betook themselves for safety to Samaria, and greatly increased their numbers and the hatred which subsisted between the two nations.
5. The Samaritans received only the five books of Moses, and rejected the writings of the prophets and all the Jewish traditions. From these causes arose an irreconcilable difference between them, so that the Jews regarded them as the worst of the human race John 8:48, and had no dealings with them, John 4:9.
Our Saviour, however, preached the gospel to them afterward Acts 8:25. The gospel was, however, first preached to the Jews.
The Lord's work is one, and His people are to be one. He has not directed that any one feature of the message should be carried on independently or become all-absorbing. In all His labors He united the medical missionary work with the ministry of the word. He sent out the twelve apostles, and afterward the seventy, to preach the gospel to the people, and He gave them power also to heal the sick and to cast out devils in His name. Thus should the Lord's messengers enter His work today. Today the message comes to us: “As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” John 20:21, 22. 6T 292.1
Satan will invent every possible scheme to separate those whom God is seeking to make one. But we must not be misled by his devices. If the medical missionary work is carried on as a part of the gospel, worldlings will see the good that is being done; they will be convicted of its genuineness and will give it their support. 6T 292.2Read in context »
Every human being, in body, soul, and spirit, is the property of God. Christ died to redeem all. Nothing can be more offensive to God than for men, through religious bigotry, to bring suffering upon those who are the purchase of the Saviour's blood. DA 488.1
“And He arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto Him again; and, as He was wont, He taught them again.” Mark 10:1. DA 488.2
A considerable part of the closing months of Christ's ministry was spent in Perea, the province on “the farther side of Jordan” from Judea. Here the multitude thronged His steps, as in His early ministry in Galilee, and much of His former teaching was repeated. DA 488.3Read in context »
Church members are to do evangelistic work in the homes of their neighbors who have not yet received full evidence of the truth for this time. The presentation of the truth in love and sympathy, from house to house, is in harmony with the instruction that Christ gave to His disciples when He sent them out on their first missionary tour. By songs of praise to God, by humble, heartfelt prayers, by a simple presentation of Bible truth in the family circle, many will be reached. The divine [Worker] will be present to send conviction to hearts. “I am with you alway” is His promise. With the assurance of the abiding presence of such a Helper, we may labor with hope and faith and courage.... WM 70.1
My brethren and sisters, give yourselves to the Lord for service. Allow no opportunity to pass unimproved. Visit those who live near you, and by sympathy and kindness try to reach their hearts. Visit the sick and suffering, and show a kindly interest in them. If possible, do something to make them more comfortable. Through this means you can reach their hearts, and speak a word for Christ. Eternity alone will reveal how far reaching such a line of labor can be.—The Review and Herald, November 21, 1907. WM 70.2Read in context »