Jesus ends this discourse by telling the Twelve their role is like the prophets. They are standing in the place of Jesus. How people respond to the apostles reveals how they respond to Jesus.
Matthew 10 contains the instructions Jesus gave to the Twelve before sending them to minister on his behalf. This journey represents an important first step in Jesus passing his ministry over to the apostles. He sent them into Jewish territory and gave them the authority to heal and teach. This journey will not be a victory tour where they gather support to overthrow Rome. They will be hated, rejected and persecuted. In this world, it is dangerous to be associated with Jesus. But, when it comes to your eternal destiny, it is dangerous NOT to be associated with Jesus.
After all those warnings, Jesus ends this talk with a possible positive reaction to his message.
40“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” – Matthew 10:40-42
- In modern English, receiving is a passive concept. It takes no action to receive something.
- In Scripture, receiving is a deliberate choice. To receive is to make the crucial choice to accept, welcome or embrace (e.g. Mat 10:14; Luk 8:13; Luk 18:16-17).
- Jesus tells the Twelve: Whoever welcomes you and chooses to listen to you, welcomes and chooses to listen to me (Jesus) as well. How people respond to the apostles and prophets indicates how they respond to God.
- If I receive a prophet in the name of a prophet, I am receiving the prophet because of his role and authority as a prophet.
- I don’t believe the Bible ever teaches that there are rewards above and beyond salvation.
- The “reward” we look for in seeking God is this desired outcome that we be forgiven and enter the kingdom of heaven.
- The apostles are “little ones” in the sense that they are not high-powered impressive scholars, with all kinds of letters after their names. They are relatively unknown ordinary people who have humbly submitted themselves to God and Jesus.
- Compare with Matthew 18:1-6.
- Righteousness in this context is having a heart open to God.
Those who open their hearts to you my disciples are also opening their hearts to me, Jesus. And those who open their hearts to me, Jesus, are also opening their hearts to the God who sent me.
Those who welcome a prophet because they are glad he is a prophet will receive from God the same good inheritance that the prophet himself receives.
Those who welcome other people who are open to God because they are glad they are open to God will receive from God the same good inheritance that those open to God receive.
And those who are kind to one of my seemingly insignificant disciples, even with so simple an act as giving a cup of cold water, because they are glad he is my disciple, I’m telling you the truth, they will certainly gain the same good inheritance from God.
- How you respond to the apostles is how you respond to Jesus.
- How you respond to Jesus is how you respond to God.
- You can NOT seek God and avoid Jesus Christ.
Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.
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Podcast season 20, episode 17