Summary: The person who receives you, dear Christian, receives Jesus - and He says that “the one who receives Me receives the One who sent Me” (Matthew 10:40).
THE SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITY OF CHRISTIAN WITNESS
This is the continuation of what I have called the ‘little commission’ - the Missionary Discourse of Jesus (Matthew 9:35-10:42). We turn now from the missionaries to those who receive them.
a) The attitudes and actions indicated in verses Matthew 10:40-42 would indicate a change of heart on the part of the person in verse Matthew 10:33. This is good and - although those to whom we preach must not be allowed to continue in the illusion that they are going to be saved by their works (Ephesians 2:8) - any good works arising from faith are to be commended (James 2:20).
b) The person who receives you, dear Christian, receives Jesus - and He says that “the one who receives Me receives the One who sent Me” (Matthew 10:40).
Having ‘emptied Himself’ (Philippians 2:7), Jesus used spatial and reciprocal language during the time of His humility (Matthew 10:40; cf. John 13:3; John 14:6; John 14:9; John 16:28). This is part of the mystery of the ‘eternal movement of life’ within the Godhead - a concept which the early church fathers grappled with as they sought to understand the Trinity.
c) When certain ambassadors of King David had their beards shaved off by way of insult, it was a prelude to war (1 Chronicles 19:4-6). What a solemn responsibility we have: to be Christ’s representatives in this world, introducing people to Christ, and through Christ to God (Matthew 10:41). People’s eternal destiny may hinge on the way they treat us, since this will be a clear indicator of their changed attitude towards Jesus (Matthew 10:42; cf. Matthew 25:35; Matthew 25:40).