Matthew 10:40-42, New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Suppose someone welcomes a prophet as a prophet. They will receive a prophet’s reward. And suppose someone welcomes a godly person as a godly person. They will receive a godly person’s reward. 42Suppose someone gives even a cup of cold water to a little one who follows me. What I’m about to tell you is true. That person will certainly be rewarded.”
- A big invitation card made from poster board. On the outside of the poster board, write “Invitation” and “to Jesus.” On the inside, write, “dinner at my house.”
I need your help. Do you see what I am holding? That’s right, it’s an invitation. Who is it to? That’s right, it’s an invitation to Jesus. If we open it up, what is this invitation to Jesus for? Yes, I want to invite Jesus to my house for dinner. How can I get this invitation to Jesus? How should I send it to Jesus? Could I tweet it to him? Could I send a text message? (Let children come up with creative ways to send the message.) All of those are good ways to try to send the message, but sending a message to heaven will be difficult.
I know! I can learn how to send the message from reading my Bible. Read the passage from Matthew 10, “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me (God).” Jesus also says, “suppose someone gives even a cup of cold water to a little one who follows me. That person will certainly be rewarded.”
Jesus tells his disciples that whoever invites them is also inviting Jesus. Whoever welcomes the disciples also welcomes him. I could invite a disciple, one of Jesus’ friends, to dinner at my house, which would mean that I am also inviting Jesus. What if I invited a pastor friend, would I be inviting Jesus? Or if I invited a famous NBA player who points to heaven every time he scores, would that be inviting Jesus to dinner? What if I invited one of you, would I be inviting Jesus? Do you see any of Jesus’ friends around here? How many of you are friends of Jesus? Raise your hands. There are a lot of disciples of Jesus here today. Do you think you could invite Jesus to dinner? Yes, you could. When you invite a friend of Jesus to dinner, you are also inviting Jesus to dinner.
As we pray, point to someone who is a disciple of Jesus. You may even want to point to yourself.
Jesus, we invite you into our lives. Help us to serve you by opening our hearts and our homes in love for all people. Amen.