The commissioning of the disciples in Mt 10 reveals the text's conception of the Kingdom of God and how people are to behave within it. This revelation is often stated in the negative, defining the Kingdom of God in contrast to the world's kingdoms and cultures. The radically different nature of the Kingdom of God is suggested before Mt 10, because the devil is in possession of all the kingdoms of the world in some sense (Mt 4:8f).
There are a number of other contrasts within the Kingdom of God. The text reveals these in negative statements. Presuming that Jesus is instructing his disciples not to do things on the basis that they would be inclined to do them due to the dominant paradigm, these negative statements reveal the way that the kingdoms of the world work differently from the Kingdom of God.
- First, the apostles are to give and receive without payment (v.8). Ministering within the context of the Kingdom of God is not a profession. Unlike the professional ministers and miracle workers we saw throughout Acts, those serving the Kingdom of God should not expect monetary reward for their service.
- As a corollary to this, these ministers are not to carry around money or extra clothing or even sandals or a staff (v.9f). (The household of God is apparently a friary.) This puts ministers of the Kingdom of God at opposition with any kind of luxury, and in opposition to commercial systems. Instead, the ministers are to earn their keep day-to-day through work ("for the worker is worth his keep", v.10 NIV). This reminds me of the manna in Exodus 16:16-21(-ish): God provided just enough for the day, but if you kept any extra over it grew worms and rotted (except on the Sabbath).
- The apostles are also to only go among their own nation (v. 5f), and not to go among the nations beyond. This is because the harvest is plentiful (9:37f) thanks to the work Jesus has already done in the synagogues (9:35).
- The Kingdom of God is not a mystery religion: it is not a secret set of initiations, but rather a kingdom that is publicly proclaimed (v.26f). This is particularly notable as an antidote to the conspiracy theories (*coughHolyBloodHolyGrailcoughDaVinciCodecough*) that portray early Christianity as simply reworked Mithrasism or otherwise containing secret, hidden knowledge.
- The ministers of the Kingdom of God are not to worry about how they speak (vv. 19-20), "for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you". Despite such uneducated and unconcerned speech, the apostles will be "a testimony to them and the Gentiles" (v. 18). So the Kingdom of God does not have time of day for sophists.