Matthew 10:41
Jesus concludes his charge to the twelve on the eve of their mission with words that have more reference to others, with a promise of blessing to those who shall give a good reception to the apostles. Earlier he said that if any 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.


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.


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.

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.


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.)

In other walks of life man may attain high distinction without this condition. He may be a suecessful lawyer, and, as some modern examples have shown, obtain the chief prizes of his profession without possessing moral character that will bear inspection. A man may obtain fortune and fame as an artist, and be all the while, like Turner, addicted to the lowest pleasures. In fact, a recent French writer has given us the exquisitely French doctrine that immorality is a great auxiliary to art. A man may be a success on the Stock Exchange, and have in him no scintilla of spiritual principle. All this is possible, but a man who in any age takes the name and function of prophet of God, proclaimer of His truth and message, and who at the same time keeps not step in his life to the sublime music of heaven's highest law, is a self-confessed monstrosity.

(J. Brierley, B. A.)

Like a man who has been teaching geography in a school. His time has been occupied with maps, atlases, globes, and text-books of geography. He knows all the mountains in Europe by name, and the length of the principal rivers. His head is full of this, and he has tried to fill the heads of his pupils with this, and to him and to them it has been a business unspeakably dry". By-and-by he gets a vacation, and somebody fills his purse for him, and says, "Now go off somewhere and enjoy yourself." He goes to Switzerland. He sees Mont Blanc and the Rhine, and the Lake of Geneva. It is not a bit like the geography book. These fresh breezes that blow, the deep blue of the glorious lake, the glint up yonder of the everlasting snows, whisper no hint of page sixteen in that odious text-book with its endless names and figures. This is the difference between knowledge at second hand and at first hand.

(J. Brierley, B. A.)

Physiologists tell us we have two sets of nerves, the afferent and the efferent; the one bringing to us impressions from without, the other acting on the muscles and carrying to the outside world the tides of force that are within. Life is just this contrast, giving and receiving, and the one process needs as much watching as the other. It is not enough to look after the activities of the soul. The call may be for courtesy, sympathy, and unless these are 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.)

For instance, what wholly different spheres of duty are assigned to the clergy and the laity! And we are told that he who labours with great earnestness in the work of a clergyman has a reward of peculiar splendour within reach, inasmuch as " they who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever." But it is evident from our text that the same reward is attainable by others who have never been called to the clergyman's work. They who have not been "prophets" may "receive a prophet's reward;" and if an individual have upheld a clergyman in his arduous and most responsible calling, strengthening him by such assistances as the occasion demands, sustaining him when assailed, cheering him when disheartened, and all out of love for his office, and desire for his success, so that he receives the pastor in the name of a pastor, we may say of such an individual that in Gods sight lie takes part in the clergyman's labours.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

The power of sympathizing with an)" character is the partial possession of that character for ourselves. A man who is capable of having his soul bowed by the stormy thunder of Beethoven, or lifted to heaven by the etherial melody of Mendelsshon, is a musician, though he never composed a bar. The man who recognizes and feels the grandeur of the organ music of "Paradise Lost" has some fibre of a poet in him, though he be but; a " mute inglorious Milton."

(Dr. Maclaren.)

The old knight that clapped Luther on the back when he went into the Diet of Worms, and said to him, "Well done, little monk!" shared in Luther's victory and in Luther's crown. He that helps a prophet because he is a prophet, has got the making of a prophet in himself.

(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.

(Dr. Maclaren.)

As there is a way of partaking of other men's sins, so in other men's holy services.


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