How to understand the passage from the Gospel of Matthew 10:40-42? How to apply it to my life? As a future minister of the church I need to know how to answer to those who will ask me this question. What does it mean to give in the name of a disciple?
Let’s see firstly the passage to which the reference is made:
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 in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. (Matthew 10:40-42)(NASB)
This passage had been told by the Lord Jesus at the end of a message to the 12 apostles before He sent them to preach the Gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The beginning of chapter 10 tells us about this and then it is written this message of the Lord Jesus addressed to the apostles. Even at the outset He told them not to worry about their material needs for this mission because “the worker is worthy of his support”. He warned them about the problems and persecution that awaits them on the way and that things will end up there that some of His disciples will be put to death even by their loved ones. So, the words told in verses 40-42 are in the context of sending those 12 apostles to mission.
The reward of those who will receive the disciples
The emphasis in this passage is on the reward of those who will receive the disciples of the Lord Jesus, that they will have a reward from the Lord Jesus and from God, because the one who receives the disciples, receives Jesus and he who receives Jesus Christ, receives God who has sent Him.
Little ones are the disciples
For some who read the text is not clear who are these little ones whom Jesus talks about. They are the disciples and here is the evidence in this regard:
- Lord Jesus was talking to those 12 when He said “one of these little ones”. So, He was addressing them, otherwise He would have said, “those little ones”, or “to those little ones”.
- In this context He does not speak about anyone else, other little ones or children.
- In verses 41 and 42 Lord Jesus uses the the same analogy but He wants to show that the reward is different. He says that “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, following the same logic and order He says “whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward”.
What does it mean to give in the name of a disciple?
To give him because he is the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and because he fulfills the command and the mission to which Jesus sent him to preach the Gospel.
The practical application
There would be several applications, but most important are these two:
- Nothing should prevent you from the ministry to which God has called you and be sure not to leave the ministry of the Gospel because of material needs. Never forget ”the worker is worthy of his support” and that the Savior will fulfill your needs and He will give you a great reward at His coming.
- To look after other disciples of the Lord Jesus who fulfill His command and go to preach the Gospel with devotion. When they come to church that you will shepherd or to your home, receive them in a way worthy of God and help them in their work with what you can, without waiting for something from them instead. Your reward will be from God and from the Lord Jesus who said that even for a glass of water given to those who work in the Gospel you will not lose the reward.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru