Lectionary Year A
June 30, 2002
Matthew 10:40-42

II. Disposition


This text quotes Jesus' declaring, as if it is undebatable, that those He sends out will be received safely and respectfully, as are prophets and righteous persons supposed, by Jesus Himself, to be received. Jesus pronounces what He assumes and believes will happen to those He sends out. He furthermore alludes to why they will be so received, i.e., because they represent Him and God and possibly, too, the prophets and the righteous. Jesus seems to make these statements in a rather matter of fact fashion. We begin to wonder just how confident even He can be to predict such congenial receptions in some foreign territories where they go.


So, how certain can He be, especially if He sends us out and we go out in these treacherous times of crime waves aplenty? How trusting dare we be to go so? Do we get our choice as to how we go? May we go as prophets? Dare we risk going as if we were righteous?

This image of giving a cup of cold water to a lesser one has got to be an idiom. Could it mean more or less than what it means to us with cold water on our refrigerator doors, in our offices, etc.? Some seminary professor years go stated that many biblical passages crescendo to an emphatic conclusion that all preceding it lead up to. Does this pericope do that?

Theologically, I believe God welcomes our comings and goings to be always within the Divine presence. However, does this text state or even allude to that truth?


My questions come from the preacher/teacher in me. I'm thinking constantly as I study Scripture, how most effectively to proclaim its Good News. This paragraph begins by assuring those sent that they/we will be cordially received. It adds first a second Aand then a third example to support the initial assurance. God gets early on into the examples that finally convince readers and hearers of these statements' trustworthiness. They conclude with an emphatic declaration with an adverb that moves toward certainty.

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