Chapter 11: “He That Receiveth Whomsoever I Send Receiveth Me”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 78–83

Map Chp. 11

The Galilean Ministry






Third Tour of Galilee




The Twelve Sent Forth

10:1, 5–42; 11:1




Machaerus, Perea

Death of John





Near Bethsaida, Tetrarchy of Philip

The Twelve Return and Report





Interpretive Commentary

(11-1) Matthew 10:1–5. How Did Jesus Appoint His Servants?

“The process follows a rather definite pattern:

“1st: The need for the new leader;

“2nd: The leader is chosen through the process of elimination by prophecy and revelation;

“3rd: The newly chosen one is officially called by one with unquestionable authority;

“4th: He is presented to a constituent assembly of the people, and

“5th: He is ordained or set apart by the laying on of hands by those who are fully authorized.

Christ ordaining apostles

“And this is in keeping with our fifth Article of Faith:

“‘We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. …’

It is interesting to note that even in olden times much the same procedure was followed. Unfortunately, all the steps are not always recorded but there is considerable evidence that they were taken. The ‘anointing’ of ancient days seems to have been much the same and closely associated with the setting apart of today, with the accompanying blessings.

“The first apostles were called by the Lord: ‘Come follow me,’ he said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ This was more than a casual statement. It was a definite call.

“‘And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.’ (See Matt. 4:19–20.) ‘For he taught them as one having authority.’ (Ibid., 7:29.) ‘And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power. …’ (Ibid., 10:1.) This included their commission to preach and perform ordinances. It included the setting apart, the charge, the blessing. The promise given these leaders was most spectacular. Full authority was given them as the Redeemer said: ‘He that receiveth you receiveth me.’ (Ibid., 10:40.) ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth: Go … teach all nations … to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ (Ibid., 28:18–20.)” (Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Oct. 1958, pp. 53–54.)

(11-2) Matthew 10:9, 10. Are Today’s Missionaries Supposed to Travel “without Purse or Scrip”?

“In keeping with the social customs of the day, Jesus sent his disciples out without purse or scrip. They were to dress modestly, carry no money, food, or extra clothing, have only one staff, and rely on the hospitality of the people for food, clothing, and shelter. Shoes (made in that day of soft leather) were forbidden as too luxurious; sandals (of more rugged construction) were approved. A purse was a girdle in which money was carried; scrip was a small bag or wallet used to carry provisions. Later Jesus revoked the requirement to rely on the hospitality of the people and commanded instead, ‘Now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip.’ (Luke 22:35–36.)

“Acting through his duly appointed representatives on earth, the Lord has now withdrawn this requirement that all modern missionary work should be done by laborers who go forth without purse or scrip. Legal requirements, and different social, economic, and industrial circumstances, have made such a change necessary—a fact which illustrates the need for continuous revelation so that the Lord’s affairs on earth always may be conducted as befit the existing circumstances. Instead of relying for food, clothing, and shelter upon those to whom they are sent, missionaries are now expected to support themselves or be supported by their family or friends. There is, of course, no paid missionary force in the Lord’s true Church.” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:325–26.)

(11-3) Matthew 10:16. What Does It Mean to Be “Wise as Serpents”?

We gain new understanding by reading the Prophet’s revision of this verse:

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise servants, and as harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:14, Inspired Version.)

(11-4) Matthew 10:28. Who Are Those Who Seek to Kill the Soul?

“Apparently there were in the early church those who taught for doctrines the sophistries of men. There are those today who seem to take pride in disagreeing with the orthodox teachings of the Church and who present their own opinions which are at variance with the revealed truth. Some may be partially innocent in the matter; others are feeding their own egotism; and some seem to be deliberate. Men may think as they please, but they have no right to impose upon others their unorthodox views. Such persons should realize that their own souls are in jeopardy. …

“The great objective of all our work is to build character and increase faith in the lives of those whom we serve. If one cannot accept and teach the program of the Church in an orthodox way without reservations, he should not teach. It would be the part of honor to resign his position. Not only would he be dishonest and deceitful, but he is also actually under condemnation, for the Savior said that it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he be cast into the sea than that he should lead astray doctrinally or betray the cause or give offense, destroying the faith of one of ‘these little ones’ who believe in him. And remember that this means not only the small children, it includes even adults who believe and trust in God.” (Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Apr. 1948, pp. 109–10.)

(11-5) Matthew 10:28. What Posture Should the Saints Assume toward Those Who Seek to Destroy the Soul?

“There are those, however, who act as though they do not believe in eternity or a resurrection. They cower at the thought of nuclear war, and to save their own bodies they would have peace at any price. Yet the best assurance of peace and life is to be strong morally and militarily. But they want life at the sacrifice of principles. Rather than choose liberty or death, they prefer life with slavery. But they overlook a crucial scripture ‘… fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ (Matt. 10:28.) The Lord could, I suppose, have avoided the war in heaven over free agency. All he needed to do was to compromise with the devil, but had he done so he would have ceased to be God.

“While it is more difficult to live the truth, such as standing for free agency, some of us may in the not-too-distant future be required to die for the truth. But the best preparation for eternal life is to be prepared at all times to die—fully prepared by a valiant fight for right.” (Ezra Taft Benson in CR, Apr. 1964, p. 120. Italics added.)

(11-6) Matthew 10:38, 39. How Can You Save Your Life by Losing It?

“To say that his disciples must hate all that is dear to them is surely a hard saying. But we discover from other interpretations of the doctrine (Matt. 10:37–38) that the meaning is that anyone who loves his father, mother, wife, and all that is dear to him, even his own life, more than he loves Christ, is not worthy of him and cannot be his disciple. The thought is very clear in this instruction that all who seek eternal life are required to come to Christ willing to give up all that they possess, if necessary. Should they be unwilling to do so, even to the laying down of life in his cause, then they are not worthy of his kingdom. This is reasonable; no unjust demand is made by our Savior, for he came and laid down his life for us that we might have life everlasting. He suffered for us; should we not love him more than we love our own lives?” (Smith, The Way to Perfection, pp. 272–73.)

(11-7) Matthew 14:1, 2. Why Was Herod Afraid of Jesus?

“The record states that the king was ‘exceeding sorry’ to issue an order for the death of John. The sorrow was probably genuine, for he feared that John was a prophet and he knew that John was very popular among the people. That Herod could not forget the deed is reflected in his later mistaking Jesus for John and thinking that John had risen from the dead. His conscience must have bothered and even haunted him to think that John had returned from the dead and that ‘mighty works’ were now manifest in him. John had done no miracles in his ministry (John 10:41), but as a man raised from the dead (as Herod supposed), he would quite possibly have had miraculous powers. This is probably why the emphasis is given to Herod’s statement that ‘therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him’ (Matthew 14:2). Herod’s apprehension in this instance is an illustration of the principle that the ‘wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion’ (Proverbs 28:1).” (Matthews, A Burning light: The Life and Ministry of John the Baptist, p. 96.)

Points to Ponder

We Are to Give Heed to the Lord’s Servants

When Jesus told his apostles that they represented him (Matthew 10:40), he was expressing a principle that had been in force and had applied to the servants of God in every age. Jesus invoked that principle upon the Twelve in the meridian of time, just as he had done upon Moses centuries before and as he would do upon Joseph Smith centuries later.

As you read the following scriptures, ponder carefully the questions asked:

Deuteronomy 18:18, 19. For whom did Moses speak?

John 13:20. How could the people of Jesus’ day receive him?

Matthew 23:34–37. Who sends the prophets to us?

Acts 3:22, 23. Who was this prophet?

Joseph Smith—History 1:40; D&C 1:14. How would people be “cut off” if they would not hearken to Christ?

D&C 1:14, 38. Who represents Christ to us today?

D&C 84:35–38 Who also are the Lord’s representatives or servants?

“This statement is worth emphasizing. ‘He that receiveth my servants receiveth me.’ Who are his servants? They are his representatives in the offices of the Priesthood—the General, Stake, Priesthood Quorum, and Ward officers. It behooves us to keep this in mind when we are tempted to disregard our presiding authorities, bishops, quorum and stake presidents, etc., when, within the jurisdiction of their callings, they give us counsel and advice.” (Marion G. Romney in CR, Oct. 1960, p. 73. Emphasis added.)

The servants of the Lord are ambassadors of the Lord, sent by him to you. The way you treat his servants, the way you react to what they say, is the way you are treating the Lord.

Matthew 10:41

Luke 10:16

(11-8) The Lord’s Servants Mark the Path to Eternal Life

“Karl G. Maeser was taking a group of missionaries across the Alps. As they reached a summit, he stopped. Gesturing back down the trail to some poles set in the snow to mark the way across the glacier, he said, ‘Brethren, there stands the Priesthood. They are just common sticks like the rest of us … but the position they hold makes them what they are to us. If we step aside from the path they mark, we are lost.’” (Boyd K. Packer in CR, Apr. 1971, p. 124.)

(11-9) A Man Who Says He Will Sustain the President of the Church but Not His Bishop Is Deceiving Himself

“Some of us suppose that if we were called to a high office in the Church immediately we would be loyal, and would show the dedication necessary. We would step forward and valiantly commit ourselves to this service.

“But, you can put it down in your little black book that if you will not be loyal in the small things you will not be loyal in the large things. If you will not respond to the so-called insignificant or menial tasks which need to be performed in the Church and kingdom, there will be no opportunity for service in the so-called greater challenges.

“A man who says he will sustain the President of the Church or the General Authorities, but cannot sustain his own bishop is deceiving himself. The man who will not sustain the bishop of his ward and the president of his stake will not sustain the President of the Church.

“I have learned from experience that those people who come to us for counsel saying that they cannot go to their bishops, are unwilling to accept counsel from their bishops. They are unwilling or unable to accept counsel from the General Authorities. Actually, the inspiration of the Lord will come to their bishop and he can counsel them correctly.” (Boyd K. Packer, “Follow the Brethren,” Speeches of the Year, 1965, pp. 4–5. Italics added.)

The following is a true story. As you read it, ask yourself this question: How do I receive the servants of the Lord?

It was a grey evening in Hong Kong, and the rain was heavy. The harbor waters were churning because of the storm, and around the crescent of the waterfront the scattered lights of resettlement blocks glowed like dull candles.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees had fled mainland China since 1949. The British colonial government of Hong Kong had extended itself nobly in a sincere attempt to relocate the homeless masses in comfortable apartments and steady jobs, but many thousands of them still lived in the Spartan quarters of the resettlement blocks.

Some of the resettlement blocks were ten and fifteen stories high. Most had no elevators, only stairs. Each level of a resettlement block was a long string of one-room concrete apartments, frequently with six to ten people sharing a space equivalent to the average American living room.

The two missionaries visited quietly as they trudged up the stairwell of a resettlement building in Kwuntong, Hong Kong. They had been invited to dinner at the apartment of Brother and Sister Wong. They found the apartment, and Brother Wong greeted them with a broad grin on his face. As he opened the heavy steel door to admit them, he said he had been afraid the heavy rain would prevent them from coming. Two metal bunk beds, a wooden chest, a small kerosene burner, and little else made up the regular furniture of the room. But tonight a borrowed card table was set in the center of the small room. Four wooden stools were set around the table. They were different from one another—each had been borrowed from a different neighbor for the occasion. The table was set with an assortment of tin bowls and plates. There were also platters of shrimp and other Oriental delicacies, all far beyond the means of this humble refugee family. Brother Wong pronounced a blessing and the meal commenced; but Brother and Sister Wong held back, taking only token portions for themselves, but urging the food on the two elders. The elders could sense that the gesture was sincere, and while they recognized that they were eating up finer food than the Wongs could ever afford for regular meals—food that cost the Wongs probably the equivalent of a whole month’s salary—still the elders didn’t want to offend or hurt or refuse, where such evident sacrifice was involved.

It was a difficult meal to eat; wanting to accept the gift so obviously given from the heart, yet realizing that hardship and hungry days—sacrifice—made the gift possible. Brother and Sister Wong and their sons merely sampled the dinner. But when it was completed, they expressed their own satisfaction and were anxious to know if the elders had had enough. As everyone stood to allow Sister Wong to clear away the dishes, one of the elders took Brother Wong by the hand and with deep emotion said: “Why have you honored us in this way, at such great expense to yourselves?” With quiet gentleness that could only come from leaving his home and country and accepting the truth in a foreign land, Brother Wong said: “We do this for you because you hold the priesthood, and God has sent you here to teach us.” (A personal experience.)

Matthew 10:42

Matthew 25:40

What are you willing to sacrifice to receive the servants of the Lord? Yours may not be a sacrifice of food, but, rather, one of sacrificing personal desires to acquire an appropriate attitude. How do you receive God’s servants when they counsel you on music, grooming, or dating standards? Are you willing to sacrifice some of your personal desires in order that you might receive the Lord into your life through his chosen servants?