Questions From Readers
● How can Matthew 10:9, 10 and Mark 6:8, 9 be harmonized?
These verses contain part of Jesus’ instructions when sending the twelve apostles out on a preaching tour. Matthew 10:9, 10 reads: “Do not procure . . . a food pouch for the trip, or two undergarments, or sandals or a staff; for the worker deserves his food.” And Mark 6:8, 9 says: “He gave them orders to carry nothing for the trip except a staff alone, no bread, no food pouch, no copper money in their girdle purses, but to bind on sandals, and not to wear two undergarments.”—Compare Luke 9:3.
Jesus obviously did not expect the apostles to set out on the trip hungry, naked or barefooted. But there was no need for them to make special preparations, such as buying or wearing “two undergarments.” The garments and sandals that they were wearing were enough. Similarly, if they already had a staff, they could take it, but not purchase an extra one or get a spare for the journey.
Basically, Jesus was advising: ‘Go as you are, with the garments, sandals and staffs that you have. Do not make your own provisions; those who hear and respond to your message will take you in and assist you, for a worker deserves his food.’ This agreed with Jesus’ counsel in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 6:25-34) Rather than burdening themselves with excessive material things, the apostles could concentrate on their assignment, trusting Jesus’ assurance that they would be cared for.