Friday, December 24, 2021

The Vision (12.24.21): Receiving Christ


Image: Scene from CRBC caroling at Epworth apartments, Louisa (12.22.21)

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 10:40-42.

He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me (Matthew 10:40).

The conclusion to Christ’s commissioning of the twelve apostles in Matthew 10:40-42 really has but one central point with three thrusts: (1) To receive the faithful messengers of Christ is to receive Christ himself (v. 40a); (2) To receive Christ is to receive the God who sent him (v. 40b); and (3) The one who does this will be greatly rewarded (vv. 41-42).

It begins in v. 40a: “He that receiveth you receiveth me….”

Christ had already prophesied to his apostles of the mixed reception that awaited them. First, there will be the “worthy” ones who will welcome the apostles and extend hospitality to them (see vv. 11-13a). Second, however, there will be those who will not receive them (see vv. 13b-15). He sends them as sheep in the midst of wolves (v. 16).

A truly astounding point is being made here. To receive a faithful message about Christ presented by faithful messengers of Christ is to receive Christ himself.

What did Christ commission the apostles to do? To proclaim, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (v. 7; cf. Matthew 4:17). This was a declaration that the rule and reign of God was present, manifest, in the person and work of the man Jesus of Nazareth.

The person who receives this message through the apostles is receiving the Lord Jesus himself. Consider the apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

This is but the first link in a chain. The next link comes in v. 40b: “and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”

The one who sent Christ into the world is the God of the Bible. This requires the doctrine of the Trinity fully to understand. It is God the Father who sent God the Son to accomplish the redemption of sinful men (cf. John 3:16-17; 10:36; 17:18; 20:21).

The apostle Paul thus declared in Galatians 4, “4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

This is a great “Christmas” passage. Paul is teaching the incarnation of Christ. At just the right time, in the fullness of time, God the Father sent forth God the Son, to be “made of a woman.” Paul knew the virginal conception and virgin birth of Christ. To be made under the law. To live in perfect obedience to the law for our salvation.

So, the links on the chain in Matthew 10:40 are these: (1) If you receive the apostles, you receive the Lord Jesus Christ (the eternal Son of God, made flesh), and (2) if you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, you are receiving God the Father, the one true God of Scripture.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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