Summary: After many stern warnings and instructions to His missionaries, to His disciple makers, Jesus closes the discourse with a promise. Those who faithfully served the Lord & who faithfully support these workers will be rewarded.
MATTHEW 10: 40-42 [THE MESSIAH REVEALED Series]
REWARDS FOR SERVING CHRIST
[Revelation 22: 10-17]
After many stern warnings and instructions to His missionaries, to His disciple makers, Jesus closes the discourse with a simply amazing promise. Jesus had instructed His disciples to stay in homes and towns where they were welcomed. Now He promises to give rewards to those who receive His missionaries. The meaningful rewards promised to those who help His righteous servants should open houses in all the world.
The Gospel will not only find those who oppose it, but those who assist it. So Christ now turns and gives three sayings concerning those who receive and support the Gospel. In verses 14 and 15 He spoke of the punishment for those who oppose the Gospel but there is also reward for those who receive and promote it. Those who faithfully served the Lord and who faithfully support these workers will be rewarded (CIT).
I RECEIVING ACKNOWLEDGMENT EXTENDED, 40.
II. RECOGNIZED ASSISTANCE REWARDED, 41.
III RENDERED SERVICE REWARDED, 42.
This section stresses that Jesus identify Himself with those who are on mission with Him. In verse 40 Jesus identifies with us and connects us with the Father. “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
A striking aspect of this passage is Jesus’ identification with His own. [One is reminded of Jesus’ words to Saul on the Damascus Road, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” (Acts 9:4, kjv).] Here Jesus states that the person receiving the messenger, the one providing hospitality, is, in fact, doing a service for Christ; he is in effect receiving Him. The reception of the Messiah’s missionary and message amounts to receiving Jesus Christ.
The idea is that of an commissioned or authorized mission or emissary. The mission was the Father's who authorized it and sent His Son to bring it into being, who in turn authorizes and sends His disciples on the Father's mission. The promised blessing is that while the disciples are on mission for Christ those who receive them as Christ's messengers and representatives received Christ and His Father. It is hard to even imagine receiving a greater blessing.
“Receive” comes in the context of extending hospitality and assistance to those proclaiming the Gospel and discipling believers. It is not only respecting His work but actively helping Him in it (2 Jn. 10-11, 3 Jn. 8). Again, what a thought. To actively assist authorized and empowered representatives of Christ is to receive Christ Himself (Mt. 25:40). Anyone who honors you, His workers, will be honored by Christ.
II. RECOGNIZED ASSISTANCE REWARDED, 41.
Verse 41 indicates that anyone who supports the missionaries and his work will be rewarded by God “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”
A prophet's reward is the blessing given by God to the one He has commissioned and sent as return for his labor. The name of the prophet represents the prophet's character, his integrity, his faithfulness as well as his calling and commissioning to his position of service. [Here the apostles were called prophets for they were recipients and communicators of God’s message- 10:27.]
To receive one is to place one's self at their service because they recognize the goodness and the authority in another. They support them with their encouragement, prayer, gifts, and thus enter into their labors and will share their reward. He that helps a prophet of God because he is a prophet of God has the making of a prophet within himself.
The meaning of this statement is that those who are not prophets themselves may share in the labor and reward of the prophets by willingly supporting their ministry. He who receives a prophet from no ulterior motive, but simply because He is God's man, will receive a reward in the coming age equal to that of the prophet.
A knight of old accompanied Martin Luther on his journey to the Diet of Worms. After Luther had face again the religious and political powers of the dark world, he slapped Luther on the back and told him, "well done little Monk!" He will share in Luther's crown.
The thought is repeated for a righteous man. A righteous man is a believer whose life is marked by right conduct. It is a man who is righteous in word, deed, thought, and intent. The adding of the righteous man allows us to extend this thought to missionaries, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and other Christians of transformed character. A righteous person is anyone who practices true Christianity and walks by faith in the light of the promises of God’s Word.