“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:37-42 NIV).1
With all due respect, the one whom Matthew quoted surely asserts a strong personal confidence, demanding total allegiance, and yes, purports himself to be the Son of God. This morning as I pondered this scripture, I was curious as to what those hearing him for the first time might have thought?
I hear an escalating requirement, more than just a come follow me; much more than casual friends. Herein is described a radical life style of self-denial, a lifestyle that puts the love of Christ above all, even family; then, places one’s life on the line in a way that would frighten away many a contemporary church goin’ folk!
Implied, however, is a deep spiritual empowerment, if one connects these verses with the earlier instructions given to his disciples in the same chapter: heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Does such spiritual authority exist today, if so would this not revolutionize the impotent churches that occupy so much of our land?
The last few lines may reveal the criteria for such authority: receiving Christ for who He is, for in so doing, we receive the One who sent Him. Secondly, receiving those who represent and profess Him for who they are; acknowledging rather than mistrusting those who exhibit righteousness; offering even the smallest investment (a cup of cold water) to those newly in the faith, the “little ones,” perhaps not yet mature in their knowledge but pure in their attempts to live and love like Christ.
I wonder what our world would be like and what miracles might manifest in an environment so deeply rooted in God’s love. Do we dare?
1Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.