The hearers would be judged by whether they embraced Christ's messengers. The missionaries were to use one home as their base of operations for evangelizing the community (10:11-12; compare Mk 6:10; Lk 10:7). They would find the home first by inquiring regarding who might hear their message (Mt 10:11), then by finding out if the household welcomed them to stay there (vv. 12-13). Greetings constituted an essential aspect of social etiquette in Mediterranean antiquity, and social convention dictated particular rules for how to greet persons of varying rank (23:7). But Jewish people also viewed their greetings as "wish-prayers": Shalom (salom), "peace," meant "May it be well with you." Just as a curse undeserved will not take effect (Prov 26:2), Jesus declares that the disciples' blessings will be efficacious only if they prove appropriate.
Those who received the agents of Christ ultimately received Christ himself (Mt 10:40-41), even if the only hospitality they had available to offer was a cup of water (v. 42). But those who rejected Christ's agents were to be treated like spiritual pagans (v. 14). Just as Jewish people returning to the Holy Land might shake the dust of Gentile lands from their feet, so Jesus' disciples were to treat those who rejected their message as unholy (Acts 13:51). God would treat these nations not merely like Gentiles in general, but worse than Sodom and Gomorrah (Mt 10:15), for they were rejecting a greater opportunity for repentance than Sodom had (11:23-24).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
You've successfully created your account! For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!