“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.
(Matthew 10:40-42, 11:1 ESV)
Over the past several days we’ve been studying Jesus’ words to His disciples in which He commissions His disciples to go and preach about Him to the surrounding cities. Before they go He gives them specific warnings and instructions.
The things Jesus told the twelve apostles also apply to Christians today. Just like these men, we are to go into the world and proclaim Jesus to those around us. Just as these men were sent so are we.
Along the way we will receive opposition and even persecution, as we have learned. Jesus was very blunt about that. But in today’s passage He tells us that not everyone will reject His people. This is good news. If all we would face was rejection then we wouldn’t have an incentive to go. Knowing that the message we bring will be received by at least a few makes all the rejection worth while.
An ambassador is someone who represents something other than herself, such as a country. When she is accepted or rejected it is not her personally who is being accepted or rejected but that which she represents.
Those of us who are part of God’s family through faith in Jesus are His ambassadors on this earth [John 1:12, 2 Corinthians 5:20]. We represent Him. When people receive us for who we are (because he is…) they receive Jesus. And when they receive us they are receiving the one who sent Jesus – God.
Receiving can take many forms including listening attentively, respecting, showing hospitality (e.g. providing a meal and/or shelter) and myriad other ways. Note that when someone does this they themselves will receive a reward. This is an amazing promise.
Sometimes those of us who are not preachers or missionaries but who support them think our efforts go unnoticed. Not only does God notice our efforts, but we will share in the reward.
All of God’s children are called upon to work together to bring the gospel message of forgiveness through Jesus to the world around us. The apostle Paul metaphorically referred to us all as a “body”. Some of us are the outward parts, like eyes. Some of us are the internal parts, such as the liver. But we all work together [1 Corinthians 12:12-20]. And we will all receive a reward for doing so.
Even something seemingly as insignificant as giving a cup of cold water to a disciple is noticed by God. As we learned a few days ago, God notices every aspect of our lives [Matthew 10:26-31]. What we might consider to be an insignificant gesture is a big deal to God.
Notice the implications of these words. The only way to be in a relationship with God is to be in a relationship with His Son, Jesus. And the only way to be in a relationship with Jesus is through His ambassadors. Those people who claim to follow Jesus but say they hate Christians don’t have a relationship with Jesus at all.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.