Matthew 10:40-42

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

This is the last part of Jesus' speech to his disciples. You could tell the whole chapter over these weeks and then allow the sermon to address different parts of the chapter each week. This gives you the opportunity to establish Jesus as a person speaking to his disciples and for the audience to have an opportunity to live into it and to think about their own discipleship.

The verbal thread that links all of the episodes here is welcome, so it is all about who welcomes who. It is a good idea to emphasize this word. If you memorize the sequence the rest of the speech falls into place because the verbal threads are so consistent in the first two parts. All you have to do is get in mind the structure of the welcomes.

These are about the anticipation of and the promise to those who would potentially welcome the disciples in their itinerant ministry. What Jesus is doing is sending his disciples out as wandering, itinerant charismatics. In philosophy, there were the Cynics and other philosophers who wandered around the ancient near eastern world and lived off the land. That's what these disciples are going to do. They are going to go out with nothing and live off of what people will give them in exchange for the teaching,preaching and healing ministries that they will give to the people of the villages and towns where they are going.

This is about the very practical question of how they are going to survive and what are the rewards for those who will give you things. It's basically a promise of rewards in the kingdom of heaven. That's what is engaged with this "whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet." It may be that the prophet that is coming is unknown but if they are connected with a prophet, in this case Jesus, and they welcome this prophet in the name of a prophet, then they will gain a prophet’s reward.

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