The Gospel reading I am looking at today is taken from Mathew 10: 40-42, other lectionary readings that you may want to look at are as follows: Jeremiah 28: 5-9, Psalm 89: 1-4, 15-18. Romans 6: 12-23.
Gospel Matthew 10. 40 -42
“This short excerpt, which closes the block of Jesus’ teaching on mission in Matthew’s Gospel, mirrors the beginning of last week’s Gospel reading (10.24-39). That passage began (10.24-25) by discussing how those who reject Jesus will act the same way towards his followers. This week’s verses discuss how those who respond positively to the disciples will be understood to have welcomed Jesus. Moreover, in a line that demonstrates a high view of Christ, those who welcome Jesus are understood to be welcoming the one who sent him; that is, God the Father. Jesus is God’s mediator.
If the welcome is made on the basis that the one received is a prophet or a righteous person, then the host might expect a reward; it is not clear if that is the reward due to a prophet/righteous person themselves, or that which a prophet might give to those who receive them (as seen in some Old Testament stories – e.g. 1 Kings 17.8-24; 2 Kings 4.8-37). Either way, it is a promise of reward and this is probably intended in the sense of a consequence at the end of the age.
The passage highlights again the importance, in that culture, of offering hospitality. The reference to giving water, which was the basic requirement of hospitality then as now (and for which no reward would be expected), is echoed in Matthew 25.35-40, speaking of the time ‘when the Son of Man comes in his glory’. Jesus welcomes and rewards those who, in giving a drink to one of his ‘brothers’, are viewed as having ministered to Jesus himself.”
The links between the readings
The Gospel and Old Testament readings are both concerned with the ways in which the people of God who bring the message of God are received by others. As such, they demonstrate that the reception is not always positive, but, at the end of the age, there will be profound consequences for the recipients. The Romans’ passage discusses the response of the believer to their new status in Christ; should they continue to live as they used to, effectively remaining slaves to sin? Or should they act in the way appropriate to their new status and consider themselves slaves of righteousness? Each of these options will also have consequences at the end-time.
Source: © ROOTS for Churches Ltd. Reproduced with permission.