Read: Matthew 10:40-42
In the work of the gospel, there are goers and senders. In the New Testament context, the goers were the apostles (literally, “sent one”) who made it their life’s work to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth and starting churches where they went. The senders were the ones on the other end, supporting the work of the apostles as they went. These senders came from all sorts of backgrounds, but they too played a part in helping advance the gospel.
In Matthew, Jesus is speaking to his disciples concerning the rewards of those who receive the apostles and also do things in accordance with the scriptures. The apostles themselves were the New Testament analog to the Old Testament prophets who proclaimed what God told them to. Jesus’ remarks concerning those who receive the prophets receive the prophets reward make an allusion to the Old Testament when both Elijah and Elisha were welcomed into a home, and the welcoming home was blessed because of it (1 Kings 17:9-24, 2 Kings 4:8-37). To this, Jesus adds that the one that receives the righteous man and also gives a cup of cold water will also receive the just reward.
Being a “sent one” comes a great personal cost the one going. It’s for this reason that God has called the senders to take care of the goers, and to them that receive the goers, there is a great reward. In all things though, the one who does this as a way of life doesn’t discriminate: he could be caring for the goer or a perfect stranger. Jesus says that when one does it to the “least of these” they are doing it unto him.
Lord, help me to care for all people, everywhere!