He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me.…
Jesus concludes his charge to the twelve on the eve of their mission with words that have more reference to others, with a promise of blessing to those who shall give a good reception to the apostles. Earlier he said that if any rejected the messengers of Christ they were to shake off the very dust of their feet as a testimony against the inhospitable people; and now he concludes his address by cheering words on the other side, generously recognizing a friendly reception of his disciples. Local and temporal as was the immediate occasion of our Lord's remarks, they are evidently of lasting application.
I. THE BROTHERHOOD OF CHRIST LEADS HIM TO REGARD KINDNESS TO HIS DISCIPLES EXACTLY AS THOUGH IT WERE OFFERED TO HIMSELF. He is not the Oriental monarch treating his subjects as a race of slaves. He is completely one with his people. Whatever hurts them hurts him; whatever cheers them pleases him. There is a Christian solidarity. The benefit or injury of one member affects the whole body (1 Corinthians 12:26). But if other members of the body are thus affected, much more will the Head, which is in direct communication with the whole, be affected.
1. This is meant as a great encouragement for the servants of Christ. They are not deserted by Christ; he is in all their work, and he feels keenly every kindness or unkindness offered to them.
2. This suggests how we may all have the unspeakable privilege of receiving Christ. Not only a prophet or an apostle, but a little child, may bring Christ to our home. Receiving the least of Christ's disciples for his sake, we receive him.
II. THE CONDITION OF RECEIVING CHRIST IS RECEIVING HIS DISCIPLES IN HIS NAME.
1. Receiving Christ's disciples. He does not speak here of indiscriminate hospitality, nor of the neighbourly love which he elsewhere commends. Here is a specially Christian action. Much is made in the New Testament of brotherly love - love to fellow-Christians. It is a great privilege to be able to help one of Christ's own little ones.
2. Receiving them in Christ's Name. Thrice does our Lord refer to the conditions of "the name" - "the name of a prophet," "the name of a righteous man," "the name of a disciple." This points to a set purpose in the hospitality. The prophet is received as a prophet because we wish to honour prophets; the righteous man as a righteous man because we desire to help the righteous; the Christian disciple as a disciple, for Christ's sake. This is more than mere kindness; it is a distinct recognition of the claim of Christ. We are encouraged to show kindness for Christ's sake, that we may please him - receiving the envoy for the sake of the King.
III. THEY WHO THUS RECEIVE CHRIST'S DISCIPLES ARE DOUBLY REWARDED.
1. In receiving, Christ. They are treated just as though they had shown hospitality to the Lord Jesus Christ himself. But the reward of such hospitality is in the very coming of Christ. When he entered the house of Zacchaeus salvation came there. To have Christ within us is to have a better blessing than could be got out of all the wealth of the Indies or all the joy of a Christless paradise.
2. In receiving God. This thought is nearly akin to the teaching of the Fourth Gospel (see John 14:9, 10). We do not merely receive Christ as a brother-man. Beneath the veil of the humanity of Jesus the very glory of God enters the soul. Thus he who receives a child lop Christ's sake is blessed by having God in his heart, and then his heart becomes a heaven. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.