29 June 2014Matthew 10:40-42
“Jesus said, ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’” (v. 40)
This short collection of teaching forms part of the 'Missionary Sermon' of Jesus (Matthew 9:35 - 11:1). Having spoken of the need for workers to bring in the harvest of souls for God, Jesus is giving some tips to the twelve Apostles before sending them out on mission.
It's not so much a pep talk as a warning that they shouldn't hold out for universal popularity. They're going to find things tough - they'll face harassment and hatred so bad that they'll think that everyone is against them. Things might be so bad that they'll be really pleased if someone only gives them a cup of water (verse 47)!
Yet that cup of water will represent far more than a drink. It will represent a welcome. Yes - some people will actually welcome them, and the message they bring. And Jesus tells them both he and God share in that being welcomed - so he praises those who welcome his disciples.
The first sermon in Matthew's Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1 - 7:29) can be seen to be a collection of teaching proclaiming the reign of God. This second sermon is the first step in setting up the Church, and equipping the disciples of Jesus to be courageous in telling the good news of that reign. God is with the disciples and will strengthen them by giving them the right words to say to people. But it's no use God wanting to bring in a reign of love if nobody ever hears about it …
- Many Christians are afraid to talk about their faith in case they are ridiculed. What difference does it make if they remember that God is with them? And what about you?
- Often Christians think that they have much to give to those who do not know Christ. In what ways can they receive from these people as well as give to them? Again, and what about you?
- Being a minister or leader in a church is not an easy task. If you belong to a church, what practical support do you give to the leaders in your church to help them in their ministry?