(Matthew 10:40-42, NRSV)
By Rev. Dr. Sergio Arevalo, Jr.
Eagle Rock Lutheran Church
Los Angeles, Ca
June 29, 2014 (3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Everybody’s Birthday)
Thanks a lot for our visitors this morning. Welcome to the Body of Christ. Today, we do not only welcome you, but you welcome us to your hearts by visiting the Body of Christ. You do not only meet your friends today, but God welcomes you to his heart now! So I also welcome you to our church and to our hearts. Welcoming is not just in words, if you need our help, prayers, and guidance, we are here to help. We are just a phone call away whether you are in far place or nearby.
Our gospel reading for today is timely since we are going to talk about the words of Jesus on welcoming. The Greek word,dechomai, is used here for “receive” or “welcome.” Dechomai may mean figuratively and literally.
Dechomai has movement. Receiving on the part of the host, and taking the welcoming on the part of the guest.
It’s figurative when I say, “Jesus welcomes you to his heart.” And when I say, “Welcome to our dining hall after the worship!” It is literal meaning of the word, you will eat “literal” food, drink “literal” coffee—not figurative. Welcome is complete when you join with us.
Even though when I say Jesus welcomes you to his heart, it will become complete when you receive him to your heart.
I. Whoever Welcomes the Disciples Welcomes Jesus, Welcomes God.
There’s chain reaction, Domino effect or ripple effect here. Whoever welcomes the disciples welcomes Jesus Christ, and whoever welcomes Jesus welcomes the Father. This shows that the disciples are indeed empowered and sent by the higher ups. The disciples did not go by themselves, they went to the mission fields with power from above.
Are we a disciple of Jesus Christ? Yes indeed. Thus we have also that kind of power and authority comes from above, comes from the Father. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-19, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” It seems that Jesus is saying that I have the power from the Father and I am sharing it with you in your missions.
II. Whoever Welcomes a Prophet Receives Prophet’s Reward.
Mathew 10:41 says “He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. Whoever welcomes a righteous receives righteous’ reward.”
When we welcome a prophet in our home or church, we receive our reward of the Word of God, clarification of our vision and guidance as he sees fit to our life and our church.
III. Whoever Welcomes the Disciples with a Cup of Cold Water.
Matthew 10:42 says, “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
Little ones are the ones who are simple, poor and humble disciples of the Lord. The verse challenges us to make actual, tangible or pragmatic our hospitality to God’s disciples. Since when we do that to a disciple, we do that to Jesus, we do that to the Father.
And if we do that our reward is eternal. If we are going to study the Greek word for “lose” which is apollumi, it may mean to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: – destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.
So when we give a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus, our reward will not destroy, will not die, will not lose, will not mar, and will not perish. This reward is eternal.
Giving is not only through material things. It can be our life, our time, our effort, our talents, and our services. If we offer our resources, our life, our time and talents, our reward will not be faded, will not be destroyed, and will not be perished, since our greatest reward is to be with God eternally.
Nathan C. Schaeffer says “At the close of life, the question will not be, ‘How much have you gotten?’ but ‘How much have you given?’ Not ‘How much have you won?’ but ‘How much have you done?’ Not ‘How much have you saved?’ but ‘How much have you sacrificed?’ It will be ‘How much have you loved and served,’ not ‘How much were you honored?’”
During his reign, King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in trouble. Wars had been costly, and in trying to build the nation, he was seriously short of finances. He couldn’t disappoint his people, and to capitulate to the enemy was unthinkable.
After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia to bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. For each ornament received, he determined to exchange a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. Each decoration would be inscribed, “I gave gold for iron, 18l3.”
The response was overwhelming. Even more important, these women prized their gifts from the king more highly than their former jewelry. The reason, of course, is clear. The decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king.
Indeed, it became unfashionable to wear jewelry, and thus was established the Order of the Iron Cross. Members wore no ornaments except a cross of iron for all to see.
We as Christians, can we show our discipleship by offering our lives, our gifts and talents, our resources, and our love to Jesus?