Apr. 1, 2022

Whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me

Luke 9:28-50 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

About eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter, John, and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. 30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who were standing with Him. 33 And as these two men were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; and let’s make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. 34 But while he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And then a voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

37 On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. 38 And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, because he is my only son39 and a spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves40 And I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not.” 41 And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42 Now while he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

But while everyone was astonished at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, 44 “As for you, let these words sink into your ears: for the Son of Man is going to be handed over to men.” 45 But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not comprehend it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.

46 Now an argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their hearts, took a child and had him stand by His side, 48 and He said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him, because he does not follow along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for the one who is not against you is for you.”


Hebrews 13:2 says: Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Even more than entertaining angels, in today’s text it says: Now an argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their hearts, took a child and had him stand by His side, and He said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”  In Matthew 25:31-40 Jesus says: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’”  

Jesus equates how we treat others, even the least of them, with how we treat Him. The powers of darkness seek to divide and dehumanize us. They begin with the least, the little children, those in the womb. They divide by race, ethnicity, age and gender. They divide by social and economic standards. When we focus on hate and division, there is little hope for the love and compassion that Jesus calls us to. The world has confused the idea of tolerance being equated with love. Tolerance is not love. Tolerance is the acceptance, sometimes the required or forced acceptance of what we do not love or even like. Tolerance itself, when forced, can actually increase division. In Luke 6:27-28;31 Jesus says: “I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are abusive to you… Treat people the same way you want them to treat you.”  Which is better, that we tolerate others or that we bless and pray for them? We are to treat others the way we want them to treat us. That doesn’t stop if they don’t respond in kind. It is not to be a one or limited time offer, but rather a part of our character. Jesus Himself showed us the way, when on the cross He said: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) That is the ultimate prayer and blessing of those who abuse us. That is the standard of love Christ calls us to.

The only division in the kingdom of heaven is the righteous and unrighteous, the saved and the lost, believers and unbelievers. In what case is it more important that we pray for others. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us.That must be the standard and the foundation of our love, that we love because God first loved us. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The cross is the ultimate demonstration of love. Our tolerance will not cause others to come to know the love of God demonstrated in the cross. It is by demonstrating kindness and compassion, while also speaking the truth that they will know true love. If we truly love because He first loved us, then we will love, bless and pray for others even the least of them.

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Amen.