Floyd Rogers – Texas Gospel Volunteer, Christian writer
|Matthew 10:40-42 NASB: “The one who receives you receives Me, and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 The one who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and the one who receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person shall receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation.)|
When Jesus gave his disciples instructions as they got ready to preach to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, he spoke of rewards. I believe this includes rewards for the apostles and for those who helped them. Let’s examine Matthew 10:40-42 and consider what Jesus had to say, the disagreement some people have about verse 42, and the implications for us today.
Jesus has just finished telling his apostles that many will reject the Gospel, and some will get violent. But he also said, “The one who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward…” He added the one who receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person shall receive a righteous person’s reward. I think it’s clear in this context he is saying the reward of those who help the apostles spread the gospel is the same as that of the apostles who are preaching the gospel and the act of welcoming Jesus’ apostle is the same as the act of welcoming Jesus. I think a fair analogy from our modern world is the welcoming of an ambassador. The host country isn’t just welcoming the ambassador, it welcomes the ambassador’s country; the one who sent him or her.
I found there is some disagreement about whom Verse 42 speaks. Jesus tells of the reward given to the person who gives a drink of water to any of these little ones. Jesus often used the word “children” as a metaphor to describe adults in a spiritual sense. Here, there are at least two groups this metaphor may describe. I believe Jesus’ metaphor of giving cold water to “little ones” refers to the apostles giving the lost sheep the Gospel, and says the apostles will be rewarded. But I found at least one author who says this refers to the apostles as “little ones” and those who give them a literal drink of cold water will be rewarded. I could argue either way, but at the end of the day, Jesus is talking about rewards given to those who help in carrying out his work.
I think it’s important to note, these are Jesus’ instructions to his apostles as they head out on a specific mission. Some of the instructions given in the chapter (such as not preaching to the Gentiles or Samaritans) are clearly for this mission only because later they are told to preach to everybody. But I think since Jesus said, “a prophet,” and not my apostle; and since he spoke of “a righteous person” rather than a specific righteous person, that this applies to all who do this rather than only the people to whom the apostles encountered on this specific mission. When we help a person spread the gospel, I understand these verses to tell us we share in his or her reward. Could we infer from this a warning about helping those who spread a false doctrine?
What are your thoughts?
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