The text this week is Matthew 10: 40-42. This is a brief discussion about welcoming. This idea of welcoming and hospitality is an important part of this culture and is spoken of many times in both the Old and New Testaments. To welcome someone was to by implication welcome the entire community from whence that person came from. This is something that those who heard Jesus preach this would understand. When you welcome a follower of Jesus you are welcoming the entire community of faithful that sent this person. That means that you are welcoming Jesus Himself and by further implication the one who sent Jesus, God. A simple formula really.
This formula is extended to welcoming prophets, and righteous persons. This may be a reference to the prophets, and righteous of old or to current day prophets, and righteous-i.e. proclaimers of the Good News of God’s Kingdom.
In addition to this if any would offer even a cup of cold water to the “little one’s” in the name of a disciple (of Jesus), they will not lose their reward. This may refer literally to children or possibly to those young in their faith. Either way if you offer comfort and welcome to such as these then you will have your reward. Obviously, your reward is an eternal relationship with our Father in heaven.
The Bigger Picture
All this talk of rewards and gaining and not losing this reward can be confusing. It can sound like a program of works, that is, that all this “welcoming” is something we do to get God to give us a reward. If you are not careful you can veer off into the idea that we can earn our salvation. This would be a mistake.
All of this presupposes a belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. This text comes right after the completion of the Sermon on the Mount and is positioned at this time of the year as this is the “teaching season” of the church. We come to these teachings in faith. We already have faith in Jesus as the Son of God and a belief in the resurrection. Therefore we metaphorically sit at Jesus’s feet and listen for what He has to say. We do this as a response to God’s gifts of grace upon grace. We use Jesus as the template for how to live a fully human life. Welcoming one another is simply today’s lesson in how to do that.
In your response you are giving life to your faith. If you keep that faith then you cannot lose the reward, a reward which was given to us freely by a God who loves us beyond measure. This is the bigger picture behind a short yet insightful passage. We already believe, today’s lesson is just helping us to better obey.
Praise Be to God