“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the One who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (Matt. 10:40-42)

The meaning to this statement lies at the heart of understanding who Jesus is. It also explains the key part of the process of coming to know and love God.

Jesus is clearly communicating that he is being sent by someone. Who is Jesus being sent by? From Jesus’ many other statements, we can only understand that this is God he is referring to. We must then ask the ecclesiastical and professional teachers among the various Christian churches, why they insist that Jesus is God. If one person "sends" another person, how could the person being sent also be the sender?

Jesus' statement clarifies that not only are there two individuals involved -- God and Jesus, but there is a relationship between them (i.e., one caring enough about the other to deliver a message).

Jesus also explains the process of reception here. If we are “receiving” Jesus correctly, then we will also be "receiving" God. This might be compared to an ambassador of a country being received with respect and honor. By doing so, the receiving country is respecting the country whom the ambassador represents.

And likewise, whoever “receives” his students (the “you” in this statement is the audience Jesus is speaking to, made up of his students) correctly, also “receives” Jesus, and thereby also "receives" God. So what we are talking about is a chain. A lineage of relationships.

Let’s say that a man tells another man that he is fond of a particular woman, and he asks his friend to tell the woman for him. When the man’s friend tells the woman, the man’s friend is representing the man. This means that the man’s friend will be careful to be accurate in his portrayal about the man’s fondness of the woman. By receiving those accurate statements by the man’s friend, the woman is in effect also receiving the statements of the man.

We must ask of course, what does Jesus mean by “receiving?" Does he mean "receiving" as in receiving the person into their home? No, he is speaking of receiving the knowledge that is being taught by Jesus. This is the knowledge Jesus is teaching, on behalf of the One who sent Jesus--God. This includes all of the teachings that Jesus taught: About how we are to love God with all our heart and soul, and how we are to live our lives being kind to our brothers and sisters. This is, in effect, God's message to us: He wants us to redevelop our loving relationship with Him, and also love and care about His other children.

These teachings encompass the message that God is passing down to us through Jesus. It is this message that explains the unification of Jesus and God: Jesus is teaching God’s message. Therefore, with respect to these teachings, Jesus and God are inseparable.

In the same way, Jesus is saying that if one of his students passes these teachings on to others, they also will become part of the chain of knowledge and love. By receiving Jesus' message and passing it on to others, they will become not only a representative of Jesus, but by virtue of passing Jesus’ message, they will become a representative of God.

Many in the modern ecclesiastical Christian churches today might condemn such an interpretation. This is because these professional teachers (professional because they take a salary for teaching and are appointed by councils of men rather than God) are not in the chain.

Instead of focusing upon Jesus’ teachings, and trying to pass on those teachings, they have chosen to pass on the official interpretations that were begun during the council of Nicene in the fourth century, based upon the political motivations of Constantine to control Europe through the control of the teachings of Christ. This motivation created the incorrect interpretation that Jesus was saying that he himself was God.

By effectively removing God from the equation, and removing the concept that we can each have a relationship with God, they effectively controlled people (and still do through these professional organizations) by controlling the process of approaching Jesus (i.e., people have to join their church and enter their church to receive communion, baptism and the other rituals).

Today, the teachings of Jesus have been boiled down by these professional teachers to claiming that all we have to do is accept Jesus as our personal savior and we will be saved. In this teaching, however, they are forgetting the “One who sent" Jesus! They are completely erasing the intimate loving relationship that exists between Jesus and God, and Jesus’ teaching for us all to develop that relationship and work on behalf of God, and devote our lives to God.

In other words, these people who call Jesus God and ignore Jesus’ Father are not “receiving” Jesus. Why not? Because they are not hearing Jesus’ teachings. Instead they are focusing upon how Jesus was tortured on the cross, and focusing upon their own salvation. This is confirmed by Jesus' statement in Matt. 7:21: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

This article is republished from The Real Teachings of Jesus.