To accept, welcome, receive, are all active verbs. It's not just a matter of recognizing someone as Messiah, prophet, righteous person, etc., but what we're willing to do about them. Are we accepting them, welcoming them, receiving them? Engaging with them as whatever we discern them to be? For not to receive actively, those whom Jesus sends, is to reject Him, as LK in his parallel (10:16) has Jesus telling us. And what about the way we receive, engage with a child of God who loves God but is estranged from church or biblical interpretations? There's nowhere to run & hide between receiving & rejecting. We do well to remember that; inside our church structures, & out in the margins where the accepted or rejected live. Especially the rejected!
There are three Godcentric ripples here: receiving a Jesus follower means receiving Jesus means receiving God. Another trinity which includes not only Jesus' humanity inside it, but ours, too; yours & mine; personally & corporately as Jesus' Body. Making us real insiders. Does the love-life of our congregations & sub-groupings flow through all three ripples? If there are no ripples, maybe our pond's stagnant, rather than living water?
What Jesus says next underlines our responsibility to care for each other as fellow 'little ones'. But what exactly is the 'cup of cold water' those around us need? How often does Ms. Brown or Mr. Jones tell us when we try to care, "No, I don't need any help; I'm fine, thanks!" Can we be aware enough, tuned in enough to know their real needs, & sensitive enough for them to let us give them that 'cup of cold water' without infringing their pride (right or wrong!), dignity, or other (unhelpful) things? Church can be good at setting up centralised 'welfare agencies' to meet some of the needs of people in the wider community - whether or not they're disciples in the most obvious sense of what Jesus says here. But does that let us off the hook of personal responsibility Jesus calls us to have towards them? Maybe we need some low key 'Cup of Cold Water Strategies' by little people for little people, disciples or not? And humbly & unashamedly demonstrate in such CCWS's to Whom we all belong, across all three ripples. What starting place can we find to begin some such rippling?