Luke indicated that Jesus said that whoever listened to his disciples (Ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν), listened to him (ἐμοῦ ἀκούει). Whoever rejected them (καὶ ὁ ἀθετῶν ὑμᾶς), rejected him (ἐμὲ ἀθετεῖ). Whoever rejected Jesus (ὁ δὲ ἐμὲ ἀθετῶν), rejected the one who sent him (ὁ δὲ ἐμὲ ἀθετῶν). This is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 18:5, Luke, chapter 9:48, and Mark, chapter 9:37. However, there the story was about welcoming, receiving, or accepting a little child. Then they would welcome Jesus and then the one who sent him. Anyone who accepted this little child in Jesus’ name, welcomed Jesus and his Father, the one who sent him. Here, there is no mention of a child. They were to listen to Jesus and his disciples. If they listened to the disciples, they listened to him. However, if they rejected his disciples, they were rejecting him and the one who sent him. The emphasis here was on rejection, not acceptance. Do you accept and listen to the representatives of Jesus?
This saying about John the Baptist is unique to Matthew, based on his continual emphasis on the role of John the Baptist. However, there is something similar to this in Luke, chapter 7:29-30, but within another context. Jesus used the example of John the Baptist who had come to them in his righteousness way (ἦλθεν γὰρ Ἰωάνης πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης). They had not believed him (καὶ οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ), but the Roman tax collectors and the prostitutes had believed him (οἱ δὲ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι ἐπίστευσαν αὐτῷ). Even after they saw John (ὑμεῖς δὲ ἰδόντες), they did not change their minds, or repent (οὐδὲ μετεμελήθητε ὕστερον), or believe in him (πιστεῦσαι αὐτῷ). Jesus chided them for their rejection of John the Baptist.
Yahweh seems determined to let his people go. Yahweh told Jeremiah that even if the great intercessors like Moses and Samuel were to come before him to plead for these people, he would not respond. Yahweh was determined. His heart would not turn toward these people. He wanted them out of his sight. Instead of the “let them go” out of Egypt, now he wanted them to get out of his sight. This was a very strong rejection of his people.
Sirach says that if you love your son, you will whip him often. This is the spare the rod spoils the son idea, since there is no rejection of corporal punishment. Then you will rejoice when you see how your son has turned out. You will have a great reward, if you discipline your son. You will be able to boast about him among your acquaintances. If you teach your son, your enemies will be envious. You will also be able to glorify your son in the presence of your friends. There is this constant problem of friends and enemies.