Jesus continues the theme of otherworldliness. Here He injects a few notes from the Talmud, where it is predicted that the generation of the Messiah’s coming would see social chaos, a breakdown in the traditional shalom. But it’s more than a quote from the Talmud; it also echoes Micah 7, the likely source of the Talmudic predictions. Thus, Jesus asserts rather forcefully that He is the Messiah, and His coming is meant to uncover the hidden sins of His nation.
So His coming will not bring shalom until He first judges sin by pouring out the Father’s wrath. Don’t look for peace; look for a sword of judgment. Any hostility the disciples face from their own Jewish brethren on their mission would be quite normal, all things considered. The call of repentance back to the Covenant naturally brings turmoil where centuries of corruption have reigned. So even immediate family members will be divided over their varied responses to a restoration of ultimate loyalty to Jehovah. People who take the path of radical penitence will risk being kicked out of their own home.
But the Messiah demands that we put Him first. He is our true Head of Household; He will offer a new covenant of adoption, the fellowship of the Cross. Everyone in His domain will have their own cross of self-sacrifice. In no uncertain terms, it will cost you this life, and likely in the most unpleasant death imaginable. But if you aren’t ready for that sacrifice, you aren’t ready for the Messiah’s reign.
So as they go, the disciples need to remember that they represent His Kingdom. They are His emissaries, and protocol demands they be treated as if He Himself were in their entourage somewhere secretly watching the whole thing. And He in turn represents the Father, Jehovah God. How they treat the preaching teams indicates their loyalty to the Covenant.
There were established practices regarding the reception of a prophet or an innocent passerby. There was a long established practice of offering what is appropriate hospitality to just about everyone you might encounter in life. Even if it’s just a cup of cool water to the most ragged traveler of no reputation at all, there was something required of the host who had a knock on the door. If all he did was observe the ritual demands of the Law, he was safe from wrath. He might not win any awards, but he’s not a hindrance to the gospel of the Messiah.
The disciples were being drawn up into the moral frame of reference. Don’t get hung up on the details as they were taught by the Pharisees and Talmudic scholars, but to see beyond mere legalities. This was a matter of seeking a sense of conviction, and sharing that with others. It was seeing from the heart the essence of God’s Presence in His Creation.