The First Commission

Jesus empowers His disciples with great spiritual authority and power to reach the lost sheep of Israel. They go out with nothing other than Gods’ power and spirit in them. They go out in faith with no material resources. They depend on God to provide through His people.


Matt 10:1-15; Mark 3:13-19; Mark 6:6b-12; Luke 6:12-16 


Bible passage

Characteristics and requirements

Communication theme

Contrast with the Great Commission

Common Principles for us to follow



To understand:

  • The difference between the first commission and great commission
  • What we are authorized to do today as Christ’s disciples
  • Principles to follow on our calling

Bible Passage

Matthew 10 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 

Bible Passage (Cont’d)

Matthew 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.

Bible Passage (Cont’d)

Matthew 10:11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Characteristics and requirements of The First Commission

The disciples are:

  • Groomed by God
  • Granted authority
  • Given freely in order that they freely give

Groomed by God

We too are being taught by God Himself. We:

  • Learn from Jesus (the Word)
  • Imitate Jesus
  • Are Called by Jesus Himself

Granted authority

The disciples were given immense power :

  • Over sickness, spirits, death.
  • To reflect the Messiah’s call.
  • To demonstrate and prepare for spiritual healing

Given freely in order to freely give

Our spiritual gifts are not to be used for material returns or status, only to fulfil needs. Eg. Balaam, Elisha’s servant, Gehazi.

“What is freely received should be freely given

Communication Theme

 The message of the disciples was to be: “The Kingdom of heaven is near”

Matthew 10:7

Jesus is descended to earth, ready to come into our lives.

Contrast with the Great Commission

Communication theme – Kingdom of heaven is near versus (vs) here.

Commissioned apostles – The twelve vs all disciples

Complete Focus – Jews vs. all the world

Comprehensive authority – vs distributed spiritual gifts:

Communication Theme Kingdom of God is Here vs. near

They were fore-runners like John the baptist. Today we have the Gospel, the Word of God along with the Holy Spirit to help us see the Kingdom that is right here with us and within us.

Commissioned Apostles

The twelve had a special calling. In biblical terms there are only “the” twelve apostles – the foundations of our church – Rev 21:14,19,20

The rest are disciples.

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,


Clear Focus

This commission covered only the Jews (lost sheep of Israel) vs. all the world in the great commission.

Comprehensive authority

The disciples had great authority

  • Over death
  • Over demons
  • Power to judge.

Today those are distributed as spiritual gifts in the body of Christ and less intense as focus is spiritual healing.

Common principles

  • Only Jesus calls – the highest calling
  • Never use spiritual gift for material gain
  • Goal is spiritual healing
  • The best investment may not yield results. Move on.
  • Have a focus
  • Respect God given authority


1.What are some misconceptions on the disciples’ calling? How can we avoid them?

2.In what ways can we violate the intent of His calling?

3.How can we ensure we remain true in all aspects as a model disciple?

4.What encourages us from the passage?

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