Session #079 Recieve Rewards
Scripture Matthew 10:40-42
Summary Jesus closes Matthew 10 on a positive note with the promise of rewards. In this teaching, Henson draws on context to explain the significance of prophets, righteous men, and the little ones. With the focus on a kingdom community that receives one another in the face of threats and challenges, Henson shares five principles how that can be applied in present times.
“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 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. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:40-42
With the focus on a kingdom community that receives one another in the face of threats and challenges, how can this be applied in present times?
He Who Receives (Matthew 10:40)
Dechomai is Greek meaning to receive, to accept an offer deliberately and readily, to take to oneself what is presented or brought by others; or to welcome as a teacher, friend, and guest.
The King and His Kingdom “…receives me..” Means to Receive Jesus
This phrase is often associated with the “point of salvation” but salvation is a process. To receive Jesus is to receive the King and His kingdom. The first instruction for the disciples and apostles was to preach the word of the kingdom. Accepting the Person of Jesus, what He says, and all He stands for. If Jesus is the King, then the ones He sends are His Kingdom Ambassadors.
Kingdom Ambassadors “he who receives you receives me…”
Jesus was not starting anything new or surprising. To the Jews, to receive an envoy, a representative, or a messenger, was to receive the person who sent them. The rabbis taught that “He who shows hospitality to the wise is as if he brought the first fruits of his produce unto God.”; “He who greets the learned is as if he greeted God.”
Jesus Links His Authority Back To God, His Father “…he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
He repeats this fifteen times in John’s gospel, “the Father has sent Me”. On the 15th mention, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21.
To receive a kingdom ambassador is to receive the King Himself. And to receive the King is to receive God, who is the Eternal King. Accepting His rule and reign, and living in obedience to His word and ways.
Kingdom Community (Matthew 10:41-42)
This passage is more than just an act or culture of hospitality, treating someone to a good meal or providing lodging. This describes those who have received the rule and reign of the King, a kingdom community. Jesus expands the teaching over the next verses, highlighting the prophet, the righteous man, and the little ones. Who or what do these refer to?
In the Old Testament, a prophet has the office of one who fore-tells and forth-tells. He hears from God and declares as directed by the Holy Spirit. He calls the people back to the ways of God, to repent and return to God. In the New Testament, the function of the prophet remains the same, pointing people back to God, back to Jesus and His kingdom.
Thus, a prophet is anyone sent out on kingdom assignment to proclaim the good news of the kingdom. In Ephesians 4:11, prophets are mentioned in the beginning, possibly identifying those in spiritual leadership, with “greater” responsibility such as bishops and elders over the community.
In Jesus’ day, righteous ones had some degree of prominence and recognition. Pharisees “adorned the monuments of the righteous” in Matthew 23:29, but did not follow the way of the righteous. Pharisees appeared righteous but were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:28). Jesus was not referring to outward religiosity or a form of godliness.
A righteous man would live righteously, being an example of what it means to be a kingdom subject who displays the ways and righteousness of the kingdom (1 John 3:7).
“Little ones” is not referring to children or the poor and needy, but to disciples. Rabbis called their disciples “little ones”. It may mean the younger disciples or less matured disciples. More likely, compared to the above categories, those who are less known or prominent, but not lesser followers of Jesus.
In the Name of… (because he is a …)
Jesus uses “in the name of” to make the application specific. ‘In the name of’ is a Semitic expression meaning because one is. Kindness is provided to disciples and servants of the King.
We need to discern if they are disciples or simply claiming to be one through their fruit of ministry and character.
The hospitality is extended to all, from the prophets down to the little ones, from providing the finest meal to just a cup of water.
In Greek, misthos means wage, reward.
A Prophet’s Reward (Matthew 5:11-12; Revelation 11:18)
Prophets are being persecuted and they had to exhibit great faith through challenges. When they do that, they are promised great rewards in the kingdom. Supporting a difficult ministry through difficult times is a great reward.
A Righteous Man’s Reward (Psalm 18:20; Proverbs 11:18)
Welcoming and honouring one who comes in His name is a great reward for the righteous. We are to encourage one another to remain righteous, and not compromise.
A Disciple’s Reward (Mark 10:28-31)
Forsaking others and all to follow Jesus will receive a great reward. Helping another who has given all to follow Jesus, encouraging each other to keep following Jesus will be rewarded as well.
Now or later?
For some, they will receive the reward now. For others, they will receive it later. The eternal rewards matter most. What are these rewards?
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” Revelation 22:12
Key Principles for the Kingdom Community
It is not about who is more important, more anointed, or who deserves special first-class treatment. This results in only the popular ones getting bigger and more popular. It is about the kingdom community supporting and looking out for one another.
To receive another is also to identify with the challenges and dangers that come with that person who has boldly accepted his or her kingdom assignment for Jesus. The risks are shared when we associate with one another. In an LGBT example, when certain local pastors took a stand not everyone in the body of Christ responded in the same way.
Instead of distancing ourselves from one another, we must close ranks. There is no point in talking about unity when we are not willing to receive one another, to stand together. We need to refresh and encourage one another. Our willingness to help one another will refresh and encourage each other to keep going on for the Lord. Many are not looking for an expensive meal, but many need a cup of cold water.
Those who work will get rewards. Those who support those who work will get rewards. Everyone has a part to play – at the front, or the back (1 Corinthians 3:8).
Does this mean we can choose to just give money, and let others do the difficult work, and still get the same rewards? Check your heart, Jesus has the last word.
The teaching declares that as we stand together for the name of Jesus and the cause of the kingdom, we will receive rewards. Let us encourage one another to keep confessing Jesus and declaring His kingdom, no matter what.