A reflection on Matthew 10: 40-42
for Sunday 28th June
Bill was our class leader when Joyce and I were preparing to get married forty years ago. Wealdstone Methodist Church still had classes in those days, and Bill and his wife Gwen ran the housegroup and offered us loving and very methodical pastoral care. After our wedding and, as I was going through initial training as a local preacher and as a candidate for presbyteral ministry, Bill was always on hand with practical support and discreet advice. After we moved to Banbury (70 miles from Wealdstone) he drove my widowed Dad up on Fridays so that we could see him regularly on my day off. Bill was an absolute Godsend.
Last Sunday’s services brought all this to mind and the readings for the coming Sunday (June 28th) continued the theme in a particular direction. The short passage from Matthew’s Gospel concludes a chapter about discipleship, its character and its costs. Then Jesus is recorded as speaking about welcome: “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10: 40).
Jesus is himself the sender (Matthew 10: 5), because he comes from God, sent by God. The four New Testament Gospels are agreed on this. In the Gospel of John, at the end of the chapter which features the night-time conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus is described as the one ‘God has sent’; as the beloved Son, ‘all things’ come into his hands by the Father’s decision (John 3: 34-35). The central point of this is the offer of eternal life to all who believe in him (compare John 3: 36 with John 3: 16).
Those who live faithfully as sent disciples are drawing on the great chain of commissioning that has its origin in the relationship between Jesus and the one he trusted as loving Father. So we give thanks to God for all we have received from loving and committed disciples and pray that the welcome such service evokes will sustain them and us on the costly road ahead.