Read the passage at the bottom of this post: Matthew 10:40-42, The Message or Matthew 10:40-42, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
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This is the end of Jesus' instructions to the 12 disciples that began back in Matthew 10:5.
Again, we get an insight into the importance of hospitality, of welcoming.
Welcoming an individual just did not happen in Jesus' time.
One could only welcome all that individual stood for, and all those tied to them.
So, while "Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me," is a necessary corrective in an individualistic society, Jesus is here simply pointing out the obvious, known, taken-for-granted, social understanding of his time.
Welcoming "in the name of" means welcoming in the honour of; in the reputation of. It means welcoming in a way that is true to the integrity and character and goals of the one being welcomed. In a way that is truly worthy of the one being welcomed.
And since Jesus stood for, and was bonded with, "these little ones," if we want to welcome Jesus into our lives, we must also welcome these little ones in concrete ways that actually meet their real needs. And that could be a simple as (for those of us with access to clean water) giving a cup of cold water.
Historical background information in this post is drawn primarily from Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, see link below, pages 66-67.
* Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Bruce Malina, Richard Rohrbaugh, et. al., Social Science Commentary on ... The Synoptic Gospels; The Gospel of John; The Book of Acts; The Letters of Paul; The Book of Revelation; and others.
Matthew 10:40-42 (NRSV)
40 "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Matthew 10:40-42 (The Message)
40 "We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. 41 Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God's messenger. Accepting someone's help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. 42 Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing."
Scripture quotations from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
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