Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.
rejected the messengers of Christ they were to shake off the very dust of their feet as a testimony against the inhospitable people; and now he concludes his address by cheering words on the other side, generously recognizing a friendly reception of his disciples. Local and temporal as was the immediate occasion of our Lord's remarks, they are evidently of lasting application.
I. THE BROTHERHOOD OF CHRIST LEADS HIM TO REGARD KINDNESS TO HIS DISCIPLES EXACTLY AS THOUGH IT WERE OFFERED TO HIMSELF. He is not the Oriental monarch treating his subjects as a race of slaves. He is completely one with his people. Whatever hurts them hurts him; whatever cheers them pleases him. There is a Christian solidarity. The benefit or injury of one member affects the whole body (1 Corinthians 12:26). But if other members of the body are thus affected, much more will the Head, which is in direct communication with the whole, be affected.
1. This is meant as a great encouragement for the servants of Christ. They are not deserted by Christ; he is in all their work, and he feels keenly every kindness or unkindness offered to them.
2. This suggests how we may all have the unspeakable privilege of receiving Christ. Not only a prophet or an apostle, but a little child, may bring Christ to our home. Receiving the least of Christ's disciples for his sake, we receive him.
II. THE CONDITION OF RECEIVING CHRIST IS RECEIVING HIS DISCIPLES IN HIS NAME.
1. Receiving Christ's disciples. He does not speak here of indiscriminate hospitality, nor of the neighbourly love which he elsewhere commends. Here is a specially Christian action. Much is made in the New Testament of brotherly love - love to fellow-Christians. It is a great privilege to be able to help one of Christ's own little ones.
2. Receiving them in Christ's Name. Thrice does our Lord refer to the conditions of "the name" - "the name of a prophet," "the name of a righteous man," "the name of a disciple." This points to a set purpose in the hospitality. The prophet is received as a prophet because we wish to honour prophets; the righteous man as a righteous man because we desire to help the righteous; the Christian disciple as a disciple, for Christ's sake. This is more than mere kindness; it is a distinct recognition of the claim of Christ. We are encouraged to show kindness for Christ's sake, that we may please him - receiving the envoy for the sake of the King.
III. THEY WHO THUS RECEIVE CHRIST'S DISCIPLES ARE DOUBLY REWARDED.
1. In receiving, Christ. They are treated just as though they had shown hospitality to the Lord Jesus Christ himself. But the reward of such hospitality is in the very coming of Christ. When he entered the house of Zacchaeus salvation came there. To have Christ within us is to have a better blessing than could be got out of all the wealth of the Indies or all the joy of a Christless paradise.
2. In receiving God. This thought is nearly akin to the teaching of the Fourth Gospel (see John 14:9, 10). We do not merely receive Christ as a brother-man. Beneath the veil of the humanity of Jesus the very glory of God enters the soul. Thus he who receives a child lop Christ's sake is blessed by having God in his heart, and then his heart becomes a heaven. - W.F.A.
He that receiveth a prophet.I. WHAT, IS THE BIBLE MEANING OF THE TERM, IS A PROPHET?
1. There is first what may properly be called the "seer," men with burning eye to take in visions of the unseen.
2. Then the word prophet merges into our word preacher.
3. But there are two conditions without which no man has a right to this name; a godly life, a special message from God.
II. THE TRUE SPIRIT IN WHICH A PROPHET SHOULD BE RECEIVED.
1. The true exercise of our receptive faculties is an important element of our responsibility.
2. Let us receive without prejudice.
3. Let us receive with humility.
4. That such a reception will bring us a " prophet's reward."
(J. Brierley, B. A.)
(J. Brierley, B. A.)
(J. Brierley, B. A.)forthcoming, in spite of activities, the man is a failure over half his nature.
(J. Brierley, B. A.)When God's rains are descending, and His gracious breezes blowing from off the everlasting hills, keep the soul open. It is a grand opportunity on the receptive side.
(J. Brierley, B. A.)1. By our works shall be decided the degree of our future reward.
2. The reward affixed to an action may be obtained though the action itself has not been performed. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet is to obtain the recompense as though he were himself a prophet. There must be division of labour; all working to the same end receive same reward.
3. If our works are susceptible of reward, it seems necessarily to follow that there will be differences in reward, so that the future portion of the righteous will be far from uniform. What the" prophet" receives is not what the " righteous man " receives.
4. That no good work is so inconsiderable as to be excluded from recompense. "Cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple." But 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, B. D.)
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
(Dr. Maclaren.)"I am going down into the pit, you hold the ropes," said Carey, the pioneer missionary. They that hold the ropes, and the daring miner that swings away down in the blackness, are one in the work, may be one in the motive, and, if they are, shall be one in the reward. So, brethren, though no coal of fire may be laid upon your lips, if you sympathize with the workers that are trying to serve God, and do what you can to help them, and identify yourself with them, and so hold the ropes, my text; will be true about you. — "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet; shall receive a prophet's reward." They who by reason of circumstances, by deficiency of power, or by the weight of other tasks and duties, can only give silent sympathy, and prayer, and help, are one with the men whom they help.
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