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Say What?

by | Jul 4, 2023 | Love, Receiving, Reward

[Jesus said] “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.” (Matthew 10:40-42 ESV)

This is one of those things Jesus says that makes my jaw drop in disbelief. That’s all you have to do to get a righteous person’s reward—to receive the righteous person himself? To get a prophet’s reward, just receive the prophet? It sounds too good to be true.

So I think to myself, fine. What does it mean to “receive” someone? Maybe that’s the catch. Maybe it’s some huge undertaking, some major sacrifice that means you really deserve that great reward. But then Jesus blows up that theory by saying, “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.” What! A cup of cold water? God considers something that minor to be “receiving” the disciple—and God rewards it? Wow!

Clearly nobody’s actually earning the reward in all these scenarios. The action is too tiny, and the reward is too great. No, these rewards come as gifts—as amazing generosity, running over and flooding the receiver’s life. What is going on?

The key is in the first sentence: “Whoever receives you, My disciples, receives Me, Jesus. And whoever receives Me, also receives God who sent Me.” Whether he knows it or not, a man or woman who opens the door to a Christian believer out of hospitality also opens the door to Jesus who sent him—and therefore to God the Father, who sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world. To open the door to God’s messenger is to open the door to God’s message—that God has come into our world as the Man Jesus Christ, who has given His life to rescue us from the power of evil and make us beloved, forgiven children of God. And what is the reward of receiving Him? Endless joy, healing and mercy, and everlasting life.

This passage also gives me hope for the non-Christians in my life whom I love. I have seen them welcome me—and I pray that this grows, whether they know it or not, into a welcome to Jesus their Savior, and God who sent Him. Because God is both generous and sneaky, and He will use any pretext to get the Gospel into someone’s life—to make them His beloved children.

We Pray: Dear Lord, I pray for those I love who don’t know You yet. Give them the same gift You have given me—salvation and life and joy in Jesus Your Son. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on June 29, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. Give an example of a time when you got more than you bargained for.
2. Do you think these people who are receiving Jesus’ disciples know what they are in for? Why or why not?
3. In what way is it okay to say that God is “sneaky”? Is sneakiness always bad? Why or why not?

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