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The Greeting

December 10th, 2006

“Greet all your leaders and all the saints.
Those who come from Italy send you greetings.
Grace be with all of you”

(Hebrews 13:24,25)

A large portion of the New Testament is composed of personal letters. These letters are known as epistles (from the Greek, epistole). This epistolary form includes a greeting, which may come at the beginning of a letter or at the end.
Greetings were generally very important to the Jews (Matt. 23:6f.; Lk. 20:46; 11:43). The greeting was also customary among both non-Jews and non-Christians—“And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” There is a reference by Jesus which suggests that the disciples were not to greet
anyone while on the mission of Luke 10:4—“…greet no one on the road.” But, this exception was not the norm, as Matthew 10:5-6 would indicate; and so it is called the limited commission, in contrast to the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20.
Notice the principle laid down in Matthew 10:12-16 about greetings—“As you enter the house greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you… ” In Christian ministry we encounter those who are friendly and those who are antagonistic. But, note that Jesus’ followers are to initiate the greeting.
(Matt. 10:12). Only then, will you be able to discern who will listen and who will not listen. We need not force ourselves upon those who are already unprepared soil for the gospel. But, in closing, do be kind and greet those about you this winter.

– Robert M. Housby

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