Matthew 10:42
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
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(42) One of these little ones.—The term was familiarly used of the scholars of a Rabbi, and in this sense our Lord, as the great Master, sending forth His disciples, now employs it. He would not disregard even the cup of cold water given to the humblest disciple as such and for the sake of Christ. Taken by themselves, the words do not go beyond this but the language of Matthew 25:40 justifies their extension to every act of kindness done to any man in the name of that humanity which He shares with those whom He is not ashamed to call His brethren (Hebrews 2:11).

10:16-42 Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent's wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God's opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God's love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, Ac 20:27. Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God's people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ's disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.These little ones - By "these little ones" are clearly meant his disciples.

They are called "little ones" to denote their want of wealth, rank, learning, and whatever the world calls "great." They were "little" in the estimation of the world and in their own estimation. They were "learners," not yet "teachers;" and they made no pretensions to what attracts the admiration of mankind.

A cup of cold" water "only - Few would refuse a cup of cold water to any man, if thirsty and weary, and yet not all people would give it to such a one "because he was a Christian," or to express attachment to the Lord Jesus. In bestowing it on a man "because he was a Christian," he would show love to the Saviour himself; in the other case he would give it from mere sympathy or kindness, evincing no regard for the Christian, the Christian's Master, or his cause. In one case he would show that he loved the cause of religion; in the other case, he would not.

Remarks On Matthew 10

1. From the narrative in this chapter, in connection with that in Luke, we are permitted to see the Saviour's habits in regard to prayer. An important event was before him; an event on which, humanly speaking, depended the whole success of his religion - the choice of those who should be his messengers to mankind. He felt its importance; and even the Son of God sought the place of prayer, and during the nightwatches asked the direction of his Father. His example shows that we, in great and trying circumstances, should seek particularly the direction of God.

2. We see the benevolence of the gospel, Matthew 10:7-8. The apostles were to confer the highest favors on mankind without reward. Like air, and sunbeams, and water - gifts of God - they are without price. The poor are welcome; the rich, unaided by their wealth, are welcome also; the wide world may freely come and partake the rich blessings or the gospel of peace.

3. Ministers of the gospel, and all the followers of Jesus, should depend on the providence of God for support and the supply of their wants, Matthew 10:9-10. He sent his apostles into a cold, unfriendly world, and he took care of them. So none that trust Him shall lack. The righteous shall not be forsaken. The God who has in His hand all the pearls of the ocean, the gold in the heart of the earth, and the cattle on a thousand hills, and that feeds the raven when it cries, will hear the cries of His children and supply their needs.

4. We see the duty of treating kindly the messengers of salvation, Matthew 10:11-13. Christ expected that in every city and town they would find some who would welcome them. He promised the reward of a prophet to those who should receive a prophet, and assured those of his favor who had nothing better to bestow than even a cup of cold water. The ministers of religion are sent to benefit the world. It is but right that in that world they should be kindly received, and that their wants should be supplied.

5. The guilt of rejecting the gospel, Matthew 10:14-15. It is not a small matter to reject an offer of heaven. A palace, a throne, a rich earthly inheritance, might be rejected, and, compared with rejecting the gospel, it would be a trifle. But life eternal is not like thrones, and gold, and palaces. This lost, all is lost. The gospel rejected, all is gone. Nor hope nor happiness awaits him that hath spurned this offer. God requires everyone to believe the gospel; and woe, woe, a greater woe than befell guilty Sodom and Gomorrah, to him who rejects it.

6. Judgment will certainly overtake the guilty, Matthew 10:15. It fell upon Sodom, and it will fall on all transgressors. None shall escape. Damnation may slumber long over the wicked, and they may long mock the God of truth, but in due time their feet will slide, and the whole creation shall not be able to save them from woe. How dangerous, how awful is the condition of an impenitent sinner!

7. We are to take proper care of our lives, Matthew 10:23. The apostles were to flee from danger, when they could do it without denying their Lord. So are we. He that throws away his life when it might have been, and ought to have been preserved, is a self-murderer. He that exposes himself when duty does not require it, and whose life pays the forfeit, goes before God "rushing unbidden into his Maker's presence," nor can he be held guiltless.

8. We are to persevere "in our duty" through all trials, Matthew 10:23. Neither the world, nor pain, nor poverty, nor persecution. nor death is to appal us. He that endures to the end shall be saved. We have but one thing to do - to do the will of God, to "be Christians everywhere," and to leave the event with him.

9. God exercises a particular providence, Matthew 10:29-30. He watches the falling sparrow, numbers the hairs of the head, and for the same reason he presides over all other things. The Lord reigneth, says the Psalmist, let the earth rejoice, Psalm 97:1.

10. The duty of making a profession of religion, Matthew 10:32-33. It must be done in a proper way, or Christ will disown us in the day of judgment. It is impossible to neglect it, and have evidence of piety. If ashamed of him, he will be ashamed of us.


42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones—Beautiful epithet! Originally taken from Zec 13:7. The reference is to their lowliness in spirit, their littleness in the eyes of an undiscerning world, while high in Heaven's esteem.

a cup of cold water only—meaning, the smallest service.

in the name of a disciple—or, as it is in Mark (Mr 9:41), because ye are Christ's: from love to Me, and to him from his connection with Me.

verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward—There is here a descending climax—"a prophet," "a righteous man," "a little one"; signifying that however low we come down in our services to those that are Christ's, all that is done for His sake, and that bears the stamp of love to His blessed name, shall be divinely appreciated and owned and rewarded.

Ver. 40-42. He that receiveth you receiveth me, &c.; we have the same Luke 10:16, only there it is, he that heareth you heareth me; and there is added, and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. In John 13:20, it is, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. As great princes account what favour is shown to their ambassadors, who represent their persons, shown unto themselves, and whatsoever indignities or affronts are done unto them as done to themselves, so doth Christ.

Receiving is a general term, and capable of a large interpretation. That hearing is one branch of it, Luke tells us. The scope of the context, and the words that follow, do manifest that a giving entertainment to them in their houses is another thing here meant. There is another more inward, receiving of their doctrine by faith and love, to which undoubtedly there will be a great reward. But whether it be here intended, I doubt. Our Saviour was sending the twelve out, he had commanded them to take with them no gold, silver, nor brass, no scrip, &c.; but when they came into any city, to inquire who there were in that city who were worthy men, favourers to the gospel, and ready to entertain strangers, and to go to their house or houses, saluting them, and to abide there till they left the place. He furnisheth them here as it were with a ticket, or bill of exchange. He gives them an assurance, that whatsoever kindness should be done to them, he would account it as done to himself. And further hath assured both them, and all the world, that if any should come to them to reveal the will of God, (for that the term prophet signifieth), if they give him an entertainment upon that account they should be rewarded. What is here meant by the term, a prophet’s reward, is variously guessed, whether it be,

1. The reward which God hath appointed for such as entertain his prophets; or;

2. Such a reward as such a prophet shall himself receive; or;

3. The reward which the prophet; will give him or them, viz. prayers and instruction.

That which appears to me most probable is, that no more is meant than a liberal reward, for such shall be the reward of those who turn many to righteousness, Daniel 12:3. Those words, in the name of a prophet, are both exclusive of those from the benefit of this promise who receive and entertain the ministers of the gospel upon any other account than this, that they are the Lord’s prophets; and also encouraging to those who may discern they have been mistaken in their acts of charity of this nature; if they have been sincere in their designs and actions, they shall not lose their reward, though the pretended prophet so entertained prove but an impostor.

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Christ will not only reward those who show love to his prophets, but those who show kindness to his members, whom the world counts contemptible, and calleth little ones; nor shall those only be rewarded who give them great entertainments, and make them great presents, but (if it be proportionable to what they are able to do) though it be a kindness of the most minute consideration, but a cup of cold water, they shall be rewarded. God rewards the love we show to him, and the good actions that flow from it. Here are three persons mentioned, for whose entertainment and reception God hath provided in this promise; a prophet, a righteous man, a little one: and a threefold reward promised; the reward of a prophet, the reward of a righteous man, and his reward. How to distinguish the righteous man and the little one I cannot tell, unless we understand by the righteous man one more perfect, more eminent in holiness; and by the little one, one that is sincere, though we cannot judge him so grown in grace and the knowledge of Christ. I should understand no more by the threefold rewards, than God’s more particular value for his ministers, and for such as are more perfect in holiness; while in the mean time he will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax; and that every one shall be rewarded according to his works; which shall not be measured by the quantity of the gift, but by the obedience, and affection, and ability of the giver, Luke 21:2,3 Heb 6:10.

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones,.... Our Lord gradually descends from prophets to righteous men, and from righteous men, to those of the lowest form and class among them; who have the least measure of grace, and share of spiritual light, and knowledge; who are outwardly the poorest, meanest, and most contemptible in the eyes of the world; and are little, even the least of saints, in their own esteem and account: whosoever takes notice but of "one" of these, receives him into his house, and gives him

a cup of cold water only, is regarded, a phrase used to express the least favour, or benefit whatever.

"So says (t) Maimonides, one that calls to his friend to dine with him, and he refuses, and swears, or vows, that he shall not enter into his house, nor will he give him to drink, "a drop of cold water", &c.''

Moreover, this is said to prevent any objection, on account of the mean and low condition persons may be in, to their relieving necessitous objects; for everyone is capable of doing this, and if they can do no more, it is accepted. Now whosoever takes notice of, and shows favour to the meanest of Christ's people, though it be but bestowing so small a benefit as a cup of cold water; yet, if it is done

in the name of a disciple, or because that poor person is a disciple of Christ,

verily, says Christ,

I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward: it will be observed another day by Christ, who takes what is done to the least of his brethren, as done to himself. The Jews say many things in praise of hospitality, to , "a disciple of a wise man"; and observe (u), that he that hospitably entertains such an one in his house, and causes him to eat and drink, and partake of the goods of his house, there is reason to believe, he shall be much more blessed than the house of Obed Edom was for the ark's sake, which neither ate nor drank with him; and which may be compared with this passage.

(t) Hilchot Nedarim, c. 8. sect. 10. (u) T. Bab, Beracot, fol. 63. 2. & 64. 1.

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these {r} little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

(r) Who in the sight of the world are vile and abject.

Matthew 10:42. Ἕνατούτων] a single one of these (δεικτικῶς) little ones. According to the whole context, which has been depicting the despised and painful circumstances of the disciples, and is now addressing to them the necessary encouragement, it is to be regarded as intentional and significant that Jesus employs the term μικρῶν (not μαθητῶν), an expression which (in answer to Wetstein) is not usual among Rabbinical writers to convey the idea of disciples. Otherwise Matthew 18:6.

μόνον] only, connected with what precedes.

τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ] the reward awaiting him, in the kingdom of the Messiah; Matthew 5:12. Grotius says correctly: “Docemur hic, facta ex animo, non animum ex factis apud Deum aestimari.”

Matthew 10:42. he last word, and the most beautiful; spoken with deep pathos as an aside; about the disciples rather than to them, though heard by them. “Whosoever shall do the smallest service, were it but to give a drink to one of these little ones (ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων, cf. Matthew 25:40) in the name of a disciple, I declare solemnly even he shall without fail have his appropriate reward.”—ψυχροῦ: expressive word for water, indicating the quality valued by the thirsty; literally a cup of the cool, suggesting by contrast the heat of the sun and the fierce thirst of the weary traveller. No small boon that cup in Palestine! “In this hot and dry land, where one can wander for hours without coming on a brook or an accessible cistern, you say ‘thank you’ for a drink of fresh water with very different feelings than we do at home” (Furrer, Wanderungen durch das Heilige Land, p. 118).—Fritzsche remarks on the paucity of particles in Matthew 10:34-42 as indicating the emotional condition of the speaker.

42. one of these little ones] The reference may be to the disciples. But there appears to be a gradation in the lowest step of which are “these little ones.” Possibly some children standing near were then addressed, or, perhaps, some converts less instructed than the Apostles had gathered round. “The little ones” then would mean the young disciples, who are babes in Christ. The lowest in the scale—apostles—prophets—the saints—the young disciples. The simplest act of kindness done to one of Christ’s little ones as such shall have its reward.

Matthew 10:42. Μικρῶν, little ones) (see ch. Matthew 11:11, and Zechariah 13:7). A sweet epithet for disciples (cf. Matthew 10:41, for the double mention of prophet, etc.) The world cares not for such as these. From these little ones are made prophets and righteous men.—ψυχροῦ, of cold water) This is without expense, and may be done even on the road. A proverbial expression, and contrasted! with he that receiveth.[504]—μὴ ἀπολέση, shall not lose) A consolation which, arising from former good deeds, cheers the disciple even in the midst of subsequent dangers.[505]—αὐτοῦ, his) i.e., of the little one, or rather his own. It is more to receive any one than to give him to drink, and therefore it has a greater reward.[506]

[504] i.e. to receive any one into the house as a guest—this is an act of hospitality, whereas to give a cup of cold water to a wayfarer is merely an act of kindness.—(I. B.)

[505] O the boundless riches of GOD, who both has it in His power and delights to pay in full such great rewards.—V. g.

[506] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 1: Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (J. Bandinel & A. R. Fausset, Trans.) (185–250). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Verse 42. - Parallel passage: Mark 9:41, where it will be observed that the following verse is parallel to Matthew 18:6 and Luke 17:2 (cf. supra, ver. 40). One of these little ones... a disciple. It is evident, from a comparison of ver. 41, that the two titles refer to one and the same person. Christ, using his own term, calls his followers "little ones;" using the term of others, he calls them "disciples." Little ones. Partly a word of personal endearment (cf. Matthew 25:40); partly a comparison with those mentioned in ver. 41. He is now speaking of one who is not distinguished from other believers by the reception of extraordinary Divine gifts, or by special zeal and holiness, but is only an ordinary disciple. In Matthew 18:6 the term is used directly of children, but in Luke 17:2, and probably in Mark 9:41, 42, it is used metaphorically. A cup of cold water only. Observe that "if the ' cup of cold water' is not to lose its reward, it must be proffered when he who gives it has nothing better to give" (H. Melvill, in Exell, on ver. 41). In the name of a disciple (ver. 41, note). Verily I say unto you, He shall in no wise lose his reward (cf. Hebrews 6:10). Lose (ἀπολέσῃ). Does the Western reading, "His reward shall in no wise perish," indicate the unending duration of heavenly bliss, or is ἀπόληται, there a synonym for the πταίσῃ of Ecclus. 2:8? Observe that if the original Aramaic were יֵיבַד אגריה, it might be understood in either way (cf. references in Levy, 'Chald. Worterb.,' s.v. אבד).

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