Matthew 10:41 MEANING

Matthew 10:41
(41) In the name of a prophet--i.e., for the sake of that which the name connotes--the prophet's work as a messenger of God, the righteousness of which the living righteous man is the concrete example. The distinction between the two involves the higher inspiration of the prophet as a messenger of God, and perhaps implies that that inspiration belonged to some, and not to all the Twelve, while those who were not to receive that special gift were at all events called to set forth the pattern of a righteous life. The "reward," and the time of its being received, belong to the future glory of the kingdom; and the words of the promise throw the gate wide open, so as to admit not only those whose gifts and characters command the admiration of mankind, but all those who show in action that they are in sympathy with the work for which the gifts have been bestowed.

Verse 41. - Matthew only. The whole verso recalls Jewish Christianity; it was hardly likely to have been remembered outside Jewish Christian circles. He that receiveth a prophet. One upon whom the mantle of the old prophets might in any sense he said to have fallen. The saying was probably recorded with special thought of the Christian peripatetic "prophets," who are brought before us so vividly in the 'Didache.' In the name of a prophet (εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου). In late Hebrew and in Aramaic the word for "name" passed into little more than a preposition, just as the word for "face "had already passed (and so the Greek, ἐν ὀνόματι, Mark 9:41). Here, however, this is hardly the case, the word appearing to retain its idea of both name and corresponding position. The preposition may mean either receive him into the position of a prophet, i.e. into the treatment with which a prophet should be received; or, simply, receive him at the rank and standing of a prophet (Acts 7:53). Anyhow, it is in contrast to receiving him out of mere human compassion or ordinary friendliness. The reception is to have regard to that which the name implies, for the sake of the cause that the prophet represents. Shall receive a prophet's reward; i.e. shall share in the reward of that work in which by his kindness to the prophet he so tar takes part. Thus the widow of Sarepta shared in the blessing given to Elijah (1 Kings 17:10; cf. also 2 Kings 4:8, sqq.). (On reward, see Matthew 5:12, note.) Observe that not the action, but the motive for the action, is made all-important. It is a matter of faith, not of works (cf Nosgen). And he that receiveth a righteous man. A righteous man; i.e. one who is punctilious in performing all the details of the revealed will of God (Matthew 1:19, note; Acts 22:14; James 5:6). This word also is used in a quasi-Jewish sense, and points back to the time when Jewish Christians performed, not only the law as expounded in the sermon on the mount, but also those external rites and observances which had been commanded them as Jews (Acts 21:20). Among such Jewish Christians some would he especially noticeable for their regard to these things (e.g. James the "Just," or "Righteous"), and it is to one of these that the epithet here refers.

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.He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet,.... By "a prophet" is meant, not one that foretells things to come, but a preacher of the Gospel; for as prophesying sometimes signifies preaching, so a prophet designs a minister of the word: and to "receive" him, is not only to embrace his doctrine, but to entertain him in a kind, and generous manner; and he that does this, "in the name of a prophet", not as coming in the name of another prophet, but upon this account, and for this consideration, because he himself is a prophet; so the phrase, "in the name", or on the account of anything, is often used in the Misnic writings (s): he that regards such a person, and shows him respect, by an hospitable entertainment of him; not because he may be related to him after the flesh; or because he may be a man of good behaviour, of a singular disposition and temper, of much learning and eloquence, of great natural parts and abilities; but because he is a faithful minister of the Gospel; he

shall receive a prophet's reward: either a reward from the prophet himself, who shall interpret the Scriptures to him, preach the Gospel to him, lead him more fully into the truths of it, and guide him to the true, and more clear and distinct sense of the sacred writings; which is an ample reward for his kind entertainment of him: or else, that reward which God has appointed, prepared, and promised, to them who receive his prophets; and which indeed is no other, than what the prophets themselves shall receive, even the reward of the inheritance, the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, a reward of grace, and not of debt; since both, in their way, serve the Lord Christ.

And he that receiveth a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man. He that is kind and liberal to any good man, whether he is a minister of the Gospel or not, who appears to have the work of grace upon his soul, and is justified by the righteousness of Christ, and expects eternal life on that account; if he shows respect to him, purely because he has the image of Christ stamped on him, and the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and not on any natural, worldly, or civil accounts,

he shall receive a righteous man's reward; either from the good man himself, who will not fail to pray for his benefactor, to wish him well, and give him all the assistance he can in his Christian course; to exhort, comfort, instruct him as much, and as far as his Christian experience will furnish him with; or else the same reward of grace the righteous man himself shall have, namely, eternal life, as God's gift, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(s) Misn. Zebachim, c. 1. sect. 1. 2, 3, 4. & 4. 6. &. 6. 7. & 7. 1, 2, 3, 4.

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