Matthew 10 42 commentary

Matthew 10 42 commentary DEFAULT

Matthew 10:42 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 10:42, NIV: "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.'"

Matthew 10:42, ESV: "And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”"

Matthew 10:42, KJV: "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."

Matthew 10:42, NASB: "And whoever gives one of theselittle ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.'"

Matthew 10:42, NLT: "And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.'"

Matthew 10:42, CSB: "And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.""


Matthew 10:42

Matthew 10:42

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little
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 F20 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, (Nnwu tpj) "a drop of cold water"''
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,

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 (Mkx dymlt) , "a disciple of a wise man"; and observe F21, 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.

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Biblical Commentary
(Bible study)
Matthew 10:40-42


40“He who receives (Greek: dechomenos—receives)you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. 41He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. He who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42Whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, most certainly I tell you he will in no way lose his reward.”


To appreciate fully our brief three-verse Gospel lesson, we must know the context. In this chapter, Jesus summons the twelve disciples and gives them healing powers and authority over unclean spirits (10:1-5). He then gives them their marching orders (10:5-15). He warns that they will face persecution (10:16-25). He tells them not to fear the person who can kill the body, but rather to fear God who has power over body and soul (10:26-28). He assures them of God’s love (10:29-31). He promises to acknowledge before the Father anyone who acknowledges Jesus before people (10:32-33), and warns that he has not come to bring peace, but a sword (10:34-39).

Therefore, when Jesus promises rewards to those who welcome/receive a prophet or a righteous person, the context is high-risk—a spiritual war-zone. The prophet and righteous person are taking risks for Christ, and those who help them assume similar risks. In addition to providing food, clothing, shelter, and money, they are demonstrating personal support for Christ and his church—and are serving as encouragers of those who stand on the front lines in the war against Satan and his minions.


For the past two Sundays, we have heard Jesus commission the disciples. He told them, “Don’t take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts. Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food.” (10:9-10). He spoke of the dangers they would face, including persecution (10:16-20), rejection by their own families (10:21), and “those who kill the body” (10:28). Jesus’ disciples cannot expect comfort or safety as they go about carrying out their commission.

“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me” (v. 40). Now Jesus tells the disciples that he will reward those who receive them—thereby revealing a part of his plan for provisioning ministry.

He establishes a four-way partnership between God, Jesus, disciple, and host:

God initiated the partnership by sending Jesus.
Jesus then sends the disciples.
• The disciples take the third step by going.
Those who welcome the disciples take the final step by providing support.

Jesus says that welcoming (receiving) the Son is the equivalent of welcoming the Son—and welcoming the prophet earns the host a prophet’s reward. This is the Jewish concept of shaliah, which regards the king’s emissary as if he were the king. The principle is still practiced today. Governments consider an affront to an ambassador as an affront to the nation. On a more personal level, parents consider a gift to a child as a gift to the parent.

“He who receives a prophet…; He who receives a righteous man…; Whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water” (vv. 41-42). Prophets—righteous persons—little ones: The movement is from high to low:

Prophets were revered as spokespersons for God. Apostles would be of similar status, and this missionary discourse is addressed to apostles (10:1-5. See also Acts 11:27; 13:1-3; 1 Corinthians 12:28). Who is a prophet today? The term would apply to anyone called by God to speak God’s message. The promise is that the person who welcomes a prophet receives a prophet’s reward.

Righteous persons are those who obey God. Perhaps the term in this context means Jesus’ disciples—much as we use the phrase “good Christians” today. The person who welcomes a righteous person receives a righteous person’s reward—presumably less than the prophet’s reward—there may be a downward movement here too—but a significant reward.

Little ones can have various meanings—children (see 18:5)—the poor—those who are vulnerable. However, “in the name of a disciple,” equates “little ones” with ordinary disciples. This premise is strengthened when we look at Jesus’ discourse on the judgment of the nations (25:31-46). There Jesus gives blessings to those who provided assistance to those who were hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, and in prison. Then he explained, “Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (25:40). “My brothers” in that context clearly means Jesus’ spiritual brothers and sisters—his disciples. Also, in 18:6, Jesus speaks of “these little ones who believe in me,” further strengthening the equation of “little ones” and Jesus’ disciples.

A cup of cold water is the smallest of gifts—a gift that almost anyone can give. “Jesus does not want our lack of affluence to be an excuse for thinking we cannot do much to help the Christian enterprise” (Bruner, 402). But a cup of cold water is precious to a person who is really thirsty—in some instances, the gift of life itself. While we would prefer, in the game of life, to be the quarterback—the hero—Jesus’ heart leans toward the water-boy or water-girl. Providing a cup of water is a valid vocation. God rewards even the smallest contribution. Jesus does not specify the nature of the reward for those who help little ones, but only assures us of its certainty.

In Luke 10:16 Jesus says, “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me”–suggesting that what we have here is more than an issue of hospitality.

“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet” (v. 41). What does it mean to welcome (receive) a prophet?

• It can mean providing necessary support, such as food, clothing and shelter—or money to allow the prophet to purchase those things. This would be especially significant in a situation where Christians are being persecuted.

• It can also mean accepting the truth of the prophetic message (Holwerda, 61).

Two Old Testament stories are instructive. In both, the host provided for the basic needs of a prophet. Each received a gift of life:

• In the first story, the widow of Zarephath, who expected to die of hunger, honored Elijah’s request for a morsel of bread after Elijah invoked God’s promise that her food supply would not fail. As a consequence, her “jar of meal shall not empty, neither shall the jar of oil fail”. Later, when her son died, Elijah restored him to life (1 Kings 17:8-24).

• In the second story, a Shunammite couple provided food and a comfortable room for Elisha because he was a holy man of God. As a reward, Elisha promised the childless couple a child. The child was born and grew up, but then died—and Elisha restored him to life (2 Kings 4:8-37).

“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. He who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward” (v. 41). Jesus uses “in the name of” to make the application specific. “‘In the name of’ is a Semitic expression meaning ‘because one is'” (Boring, 263). The welcome is extended because the welcomed person is a prophet—or a righteous person—or a disciple. Jesus is not commending general hospitality here, but hospitality to disciples. He uses a similar phrase in 25:40 when rewarding the righteous for feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, etc. “Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Note the phrase, “my brothers”. No doubt Christ will reward us for kindness to any vulnerable person, but the emphasis in these passages is hospitality to disciples.

There are costs associated with receiving prophets, righteous persons, and little ones:

• One cost is financial. It is no small matter to attend to the needs of other people. It is expensive to feed them or to provide money for their living expenses.

• Another cost is personal. To invite someone to live in our home is stressful. Most of our homes have just enough room for our families. Fitting additional people may involve sleeper sofas, sleeping bags, and turning the living room into a bedroom. Guests invade our personal space and limit our privacy. For those of us who are set in our ways, such changes are difficult.

• Another cost may be danger to oneself and one’s family. Jesus warned the disciples that they could expect opposition—persecution. Host families can find themselves caught in the crossfire.

We tend to imagine that great Christians will receive great mansions in the kingdom, while the rest of us will receive lesser mansions. The idea is questionable, because salvation is a gift rather than something earned. However, our Gospel lesson implies that there might be differing rewards for prophets, righteous persons, and little ones—and differing rewards for those who receive them.

There is good news for us in these words of Jesus:

• First, Jesus assures us that those of us who have not seen Jesus in his human Incarnation are at no disadvantage. Those who received him while he walked this earth’s pathways will certainly be rewarded for their service to him, but we are eligible for the same rewards if we receive his prophets, righteous persons, and little ones today.

• Second, Jesus assures us that modest circumstances do not limit potential rewards. The person of ordinary means and the person of great means are both promised a prophet’s reward for receiving a prophet. The person of ordinary means can receive the prophet only modestly, while the person of great means can receive the prophet in grand style—but both the ordinary and the wealthy person are promised the same reward for their hospitality.

• Third, we are not required to be a prophet to receive a prophet’s reward, but have only to receive a prophet. We are not required to be a great saint to receive a great saint’s reward, but have only to show hospitality to such a saint. The smallest gift to the littlest disciple brings its reward. Just as God knows and cares about every hair of our heads, so also God knows every generous act in behalf of the faithful. Such gifts are counted as gifts to Jesus—and gifts to Jesus are counted as gifts to the Father. Jesus therefore establishes a direct line of blessing from the littlest disciple to God.

• Fourth, those of us who are engaged in the Lord’s work are assured that those who help us are promised a reward. That is true whether the Lord’s servants receiving support are clergy or layperson—preacher or janitor. Both are providing essential ministry service. God has ordained that our receiving will become a blessing to the giver.

And so we come to the conclusion of the Sermon on Mission (9:35 – 10:42).

SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS are from the World English Bible (WEB), a public domain (no copyright) modern English translation of the Holy Bible. The World English Bible is based on the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensa Old Testament, and the Greek Majority Text New Testament. The ASV, which is also in the public domain due to expired copyrights, was a very good translation, but included many archaic words (hast, shineth, etc.), which the WEB has updated.


Barclay, William, Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1 (Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1956)

Bergant, Dianne with Fragomeni, Richard, Preaching the New Lectionary, Year A (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2001)

Blomberg , Craig L., New American Commentary: Matthew, Vol. 22 (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992)

Boring, M. Eugene, The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VIII (Nashville: Abingdon, 1995)

Brueggemann, Walter; Cousar, Charles B.; Gaventa, Beverly R.; and Newsome, James D., Texts for Preaching: A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV—Year A (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995)

Bruner, Frederick Dale, Matthew: Volume 1, The Christbook, Matthew 1-12 (Dallas: Word, 1987)

Craddock, Fred B.; Hayes, John H.; Holladay, Carl R.; Tucker, Gene M., Preaching Through the Christian Year, A (Valley Forge: Trinity Press International, 1992)

Gardner, Richard B., Believers Church Bible Commentary: Matthew (Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1990)

Hagner, Donald A., Word Biblical Commentary: Matthew 1-13, Vol. 33a (Dallas: Word, 1993)

Hanson, K. C., Proclamation 6: Pentecost 1, Series A (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995)

Hare, Douglas R. A., Interpretation: Matthew (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1993)

Harrington, Daniel J., S.J., Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Matthew (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1991)

Holwerda, David E. in Van Harn, Roger (ed.), The Lectionary Commentary: Theological Exegesis for Sunday’s Text. The Third Readings: The Gospels (GrandRapids: Eerdmans, 2001)

Johnson, Sherman E. and Buttrick, George A., The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 7 (Nashville: Abingdon, 1951)

Keener, Craig S., The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Matthew, (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997)

Long, Thomas G., Westminster Bible Companion: Matthew (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997)

Morris, Leon, The Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1992)

Niedenthal, Morris and Lacocque, Andre, Proclamation, Pentecost 1, Series A (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975)

Pfatteicher, Philip H., Lectionary Bible Studies: The Year of Matthew, Pentecost 1, Study Book (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1978)

Senior, Donald, Abingdon New Testament Commentaries: Matthew (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998)

Soards, Marion; Dozeman, Thomas; McCabe, Kendall, Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary: Year A (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993)

Tiede, David L. and Kavanagh, O.S.B., Proclamation 2: Pentecost 1, Series A (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981)

Copyright 2009, Richard Niell Donovan


What Jesus Did! 'Cup of Water' — Matthew 10:42

[Jesus concluded his warning and instructions to the apostles when he sent them out:] "And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."

— Matthew 10:42 NLT

Key Thought

Little things, insignificant things, are used by Jesus to make huge differences. A cup of cold water is such a wonderful thing when you are thirsty, away from home, and need some time to rest and reflect. A gift of a cup of cold water is so powerful if it is offered in Jesus' name, is shared to honor him, and is given to bless others out of thanks for Jesus' grace. In such circumstances, a cup of cold water is much more than a drink; it becomes a holy gift given to the Lord himself.

Today's Prayer

Almighty God, help me notice more things, both small and large, that I can do to bless others and serve them as I would serve the Lord himself. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
  • 1 Peter 3:8-9
  • Luke 13:30

Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Thursday, May 13, 2021


Illustration of Matthew 10:42 NLT — [Jesus concluded his warning and instructions to the apostles when he sent them out:] "And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

More What Jesus Did!


Commentary matthew 10 42

Matthew 10:42

Bible verse

Matthew 10:42 is a verse in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament.


In the original Greek according to Westcott-Hort for this verse is:

Καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ποτίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ποτήριον ψυχροῦ μόνον εἰς ὄνομα μαθητοῦ, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀπολέσῃ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ.

In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

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.

The New International Version translates the passage as:

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."


MacEvilly notes that cold water is the cheapest possible thing, and within the reach of anyone to bestow. The "little ones" here is said to be anyone striving to lead a good life whether just or unjust. Here it said the followers of Christ were called disciples and later "Christians" in Antioch. (Acts 11:26) This is echoed later by St. Paul, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." (Gal 6:10) [1][2]


Jerome: " That none should say, I am poor and therefore cannot be hospitable, He takes away even this plea by the instance of a cup of cold water, given with good will. He says cold water, because in hot, poverty and lack of fuel might be pleaded. And whosoever shall give to drink to one of the least of these a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."

Saint Remigius: " The least of these, that is, not a prophet, or a righteous man, but one of these least."

Glossa Ordinaria: "Note, that God looks more to the pious mind of the giver, than to the abundance of the thing given."

Glossa Ordinaria: "Or, the least are they who have nothing at all in this world, and shall be judges with Christ."

Hilary of Poitiers: " Or; Seeing beforehand that there would be many who would only glory in the name of Apostleship, but in their whole life and walk would be unworthy of it, He does not therefore deprive of its reward that service which might be rendered to them in belief of their religious life. For though they were the very least, that is, the greatest of sinners, yet even small offices of mercy shown them, such as are denoted by the cup of cold water, should not be shown in vain. For the honour is not done to a man that is a sinner, but to his title of disciple."


  1. ^John MacEvilly, An Exposition of the Gospel of St. John consisting of an analysis of each chapter and of a Commentary critical, exegetical, doctrinal and moral, Dublin Gill & Son 1879.
  2. ^Cornelius Cornelii a Lapide; Thomas Wimberly Mossman The great commentary of Cornelius à Lapide, London: J. Hodges, 1889-1896.

External links[edit]

Matthew 10:1-42 lesson by Dr. Bob Utley

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Instructions to the Apostles.

      16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.   17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;   18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.   19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.   20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.   21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.   22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.   23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.   24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.   25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?   26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.   27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.   28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.   29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.   30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.   31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.   32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.   33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.   34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.   35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.   36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.   37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.   38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.   39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.   40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.   41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.   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.

      All these verses relate to the sufferings of Christ's ministers in their work, which they are here taught to expect, and prepare for; they are directed also how to bear them, and how to go on with their work in the midst of them. This part of the sermon looks further than to their present mission; for we find not that they met with any great hardships or persecutions while Christ was with them, nor were they well able to bear them; but they are here forewarned of the troubles they should meet with, when after Christ's resurrection, their commission should be enlarged, and the kingdom of heaven, which was not at hand, should be actually set up; they dreamed of nothing then, but outward pomp and power; but Christ tells them, they must expect greater sufferings than they were yet called to; that they should then be made prisoners, when they expected to be made princes. It is good to be told what troubles we may hereafter meet with, that we may provide accordingly, and may not boast, as if we had put off the harness, when we are yet but girding it on.

      We have here intermixed, I. Predictions of trouble: and, II. Prescriptions of counsel and comfort, with reference to it.

      I. We have here predictions of trouble; which the disciples should meet with in their work: Christ foresaw their sufferings as well as his own, and yet will have them go on, as he went on himself; and he foretold them, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise to them, and so a shock to their faith, but that, being the accomplishment of a prediction, they might be a confirmation to their faith.

      He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom.

      1. What they should suffer: hard things to be sure; for, Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves,Matthew 10:16; Matthew 10:16. And what may a flock of poor, helpless, unguarded sheep expect, in the midst of a herd of ravenous wolves, but to be worried and torn? Note, Wicked men are like wolves, in whose nature it is to devour and destroy. God's people, and especially his ministers, are like sheep among them, of a contrary nature and disposition, exposed to them, and commonly an easy prey to them. It looked unkind in Christ to expose them to so much danger, who had left all to follow him; but he knew that the glory reserved for his sheep, when in the great day they shall be set on his right hand, would be a recompence sufficient for sufferings as well as services. They are as sheep among wolves, that is frightful; but Christ sends them forth, that is comfortable; for he that sends them forth will protect them, and bear them out. But that they might know the worst, he tells them particularly what they must expect.

      (1.) They must expect to be hated, Matthew 10:22; Matthew 10:22. Ye shall be hated for my name's sake: that is the root of all the rest, and a bitter root it is. Note, Those whom Christ loves, the world hates; as whom the court blesses the country curses. If the world hated Christ without a cause (John 15:25), no marvel if it hated those that bore his image and served his interests. We hate what is nauseous, and they are counted as the offscouring of all things,1 Corinthians 4:13. We hate what is noxious, and they are counted the troublers of the land (1 Kings 18:17), and the tormentors of their neighbours, Revelation 11:10. It is grievous to be hated, and to be the object of so much ill-will, but it is for thy name's sake; which, as it speaks the true reason of the hatred, whatever is pretended, so it speaks comfort to them who are thus hated; it is for a good cause, and they have a good friend that shares with them in it, and takes it to himself.

      (2.) They must expect to be apprehended and arraigned as malefactors. Their restless malice is resistless malice, and they will not only attempt, but will prevail, to deliver you up to the councils (Matthew 10:17; Matthew 10:18), to the bench of aldermen or justices, that take care of the public peace. Note, A deal of mischief is often done to good men, under colour of law and justice. In the place of judgment there is wickedness, persecuting wickedness, Ecclesiastes 3:16. They must look for trouble, not only from inferior magistrates in the councils, but from governors and kings, the supreme magistrates. To be brought before them, under such black representations as were commonly made of Christ's disciples, was dreadful and dangerous; for the wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion. We find this often fulfilled in the acts of the apostles.

      (3.) They must expect to be put to death (Matthew 10:21; Matthew 10:21); They shall deliver them to death, to death in state, with pomp and solemnity, when it shows itself most as the king of terrors. The malice of the enemies rages so high as to inflict this; it is the blood of the saints that they thirst after: the faith and patience of the saints stand so firm as to expect this; Neither count I my life dear to myself: the wisdom of Christ permits it, knowing how to make the blood of the martyrs the seal of the truth, and the seed of the church. By this noble army's not loving their lives to the death, Satan has been vanquished, and the kingdom of Christ and its interests greatly advanced, Revelation 11:11. They were put to death as criminals, so the enemies meant it, but really as sacrifices (Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6); as burnt offerings, sacrifices of acknowledgement to the honour of God, and in his truth and cause.

      (4.) They must expect, in the midst of these sufferings, to be branded with the most odious and ignominious names and characters that could be. Persecutors would be ashamed in this world, if they did not first dress up those in bear-skins whom they thus bait, and represent them in such colours as may serve to justify such cruelties. The blackest of all the ill characters they give them is here stated; they call them Beelzebub, the name of the prince of the devils, Matthew 10:25; Matthew 10:25. They represent them as ringleaders of the interest of the kingdom of darkness, and since every one thinks he hates the devil, thus they endeavour to make them odious to all mankind. See, and be amazed to see, how this world is imposed upon: [1.] Satan's sworn enemies are represented as his friends; the apostles, who pulled down the devil's kingdom, were called devils. Thus men laid to their charge, not only things which they knew not, but things which they abhorred, and were directly contrary to, and the reverse of. [2.] Satan's sworn servants would be thought to be his enemies, and they never more effectually do his work, than when they pretend to be fighting against him. Many times they who themselves are nearest akin to the devil, are most apt to father others upon him; and those that paint him on others' clothes have him reigning in their own hearts. It is well there is a day coming, when (as it follows here, Matthew 10:26; Matthew 10:26) that which is hid will be brought to light.

      (5.) These sufferings are here represented by a sword and division, Matthew 10:34; Matthew 10:35. Think not that I am come to send peace, temporal peace and outward prosperity; they thought Christ came to give all his followers wealth and power in the world; "no," says Christ, "I did not come with a view to give them peace; peace in heaven they may be sure of, but not peace on earth." Christ came to give us peace with God, peace in our consciences, peace with our brethren, but in the world ye shall have tribulation. Note, They mistake the design of the gospel, who think their profession of it will secure them from, for it will certainly expose them to, trouble in this world. If all the world would receive Christ, there would then follow a universal peace, but while there are and will be so many that reject him (and those not only the children of this world, but the seed of the serpent), the children of God, that are called out of the world, must expect to feel the fruits of their enmity.

      [1.] Look not for peace, but a sword, Christ came to give the sword of the word, with which his disciples fight against the world, and conquering work this sword has made (Revelation 6:4; Revelation 19:21), and the sword of persecution, with which the world fights against the disciples, being cut to the heart with the sword of the word (Acts 7:54), and tormented by the testimony of Christ's witnesses (Revelation 11:10), and cruel work this sword made. Christ sent that gospel, which gives occasion for the drawing of this sword, and so may be said to send this sword; he orders his church into a suffering state for the trial and praise of his people's graces, and the filling up of the measure of their enemies' sins.

      [2.] Look not for peace, but division (Matthew 10:35; Matthew 10:35), I am come to set men at variance. This effect of the preaching of the gospel is not the fault of the gospel, but of those who do not receive it. When some believe the things that are spoken, and others believe them not, the faith of those that believe condemns those that believe not, and, therefore, they have an enmity against them that believe. Note, the most violent and implacable feuds have ever been those that have arisen from difference in religion; no enmity like that of the persecutors, no resolution like that of the persecuted. Thus Christ tells his disciples what they should suffer, and these were hard sayings; if they could bear these, they could bear any thing. Note, 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.

      2. They are here told from whom, and by whom, they should suffer these hard things. Surely hell itself must be let loose, and devils, those desperate and despairing spirits, that have no part nor lot in the great salvation, must become incarnate, ere such spiteful enemies could be found to a doctrine, the substance of which was good will toward men, and the reconciling of the world to God; no, would you think it? all this mischief arises to the preachers of the gospel, from those to whom they came to preach salvation. Thus the blood-thirsty hate the upright, but the just seek his soul (Proverbs 29:10), and therefore heaven is so much opposed on earth, because earth is so much under the power of hell, Ephesians 2:2.

      These hard things Christ's disciples must suffer,

      (1.) From men (Matthew 10:17; Matthew 10:17). "Beware of men; you will have need to stand upon your guard, even against those who are of the same nature with you"--such is the depravity and degeneracy of that nature (homo homini lupus,--man is a wolf to man), crafty and politic as men, but cruel and barbarous as beasts, and wholly divested of the thing called humanity. Note, Persecuting rage and enmity turn men into brutes, into devils. Paul at Ephesus fought with beasts in the shape of men, 1 Corinthians 15:32. It is a sad pass that the world is come to, when the best friends it has, have need to beware of men. It aggravates the troubles of Christ's suffering servants, that they arise from those who are bone of their bone, made of the same blood. Persecutors are, in this respect, worse than beasts, that they prey upon those of their own kind: Sævis inter se convenit ursis--Even savage bears agree among themselves. It is very grievous to have men rise up against us (Psalms 124:1-8), from whom we might expect protection and sympathy; men, and no more: mere men; men, and not saints; natural men (1 Corinthians 2:14); men of this world,Psalms 17:14. Saints are more than men, and are redeemed from among men, and therefore are hated by them. The nature of man, if it be not sanctified, is the worst nature in the world next to that of devils. They are men, and therefore subordinate, dependent, dying creatures; they are men, but they are but men (Psalms 9:20), and who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die?Isaiah 51:12. Beware of the men, so Dr. Hammond; those you are acquainted with, the men of the Jewish sanhedrim, which disallowed Christ, 1 Peter 2:4.

      (2.) From professing men, men that have a form of godliness, and make a show of religion. They will scourge you in their synagogues, their places of meeting for the worship of God, and for the exercise of their church-discipline: so that they looked upon the scourging of Christ's ministers to be a branch of their religion. Paul was five times scourged in the synagogues,2 Corinthians 11:24. The Jews, under colour of zeal for Moses, were the most bitter persecutors of Christ and Christianity, and placed those outrages to the score of their religion. Note, Christ's disciples have suffered much from conscientious persecutors, that scourge them in their synagogues, cast them out and kill them, and think they do God good service (John 16:2), and say, Let the Lord be glorified,Isaiah 66:5; Zechariah 11:4; Zechariah 11:5. But the synagogue will be so far from consecrating the persecution, that the persecution, doubtless, profanes and desecrates the synagogue.

      (3.) From great men, and men in authority. The Jews did not only scourge them, which was the utmost their remaining power extended to, but when they could go no further themselves, they delivered them up to the Roman powers, as they did Christ, John 18:30. Ye shall be brought before governors and kings (Matthew 10:18; Matthew 10:18), who, having more power, are in a capacity of doing the more mischief. Governors and kings receive their power from Christ (Proverbs 8:15), and should be his servants, and his church's protectors and nursing-fathers, but they often use their power against him, and are rebels to Christ, and oppressors of his church. The kings of the earth set themselves against his kingdom, Psalms 2:1; Psalms 2:2; Acts 4:25; Acts 4:26. Note, It has often been the lot of good men to have great men for their enemies.

      (4.) From all men (Matthew 10:22; Matthew 10:22). Ye shall be hated of all men, of all wicked men, and these are the generality of men, for the whole world lies in wickedness. So few are there that love, and own, and countenance Christ's righteous cause, that we may say, the friends of it are hated of all men; they are all gone astray, and, therefore, eat up my people,Psalms 14:3. As far as the apostasy from God goes, so far the enmity against the saints goes; sometimes it appears more general than at other times, but there is something of this poison lurking in the hearts of all the children of disobedience. The world hates you, for it wonders after the beast,Revelation 13:3. Every man is a liar, and therefore a hater of truth.

      (5.) From those of their own kindred. The brother shall deliver up the brother to death,Matthew 10:21; Matthew 10:21. A man shall be, upon this account, at variance with his own father; nay, and those of the weaker and tenderer sex too shall become persecutors and persecuted; the persecuting daughter will be against the believing mother, where natural affection and filial duty, one would think, should prevent or soon extinguish the quarrel; and then, no marvel if the daughter-in-law be against the mother-in-law; where, too often, the coldness of love seeks occasion of contention, Matthew 10:35; Matthew 10:35. In general, a man's foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew 10:36; Matthew 10:36). They who should be his friends will be incensed against him for embracing Christianity, and especially for adhering to it when it comes to be persecuted, and will join with his persecutors against him. Note, The strongest bonds of relative love and duty have often been broken through, by an enmity against Christ and his doctrine. Such has been the power of prejudice against the true religion, and zeal for a false one, that all other regards, the most natural and sacred, the most engaging and endearing, have been sacrificed to these Molochs. They who rage against the Lord, and his anointed ones, break even these bonds in sunder, and cast away even these cords from them,Psalms 2:2; Psalms 2:3. Christ's spouse suffers hard things from the anger of her own mother's children,Song of Solomon 1:6. Sufferings from such are more grievous; nothing cuts more than this, It was thou, a man, mine equal (Psalms 55:12; Psalms 55:13); and the enmity of such is commonly most implacable; a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city,Proverbs 18:19. The martyrologies, both ancient and modern, are full of instances of this. Upon the whole matter, it appears, that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer persecution; and through many tribulations we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God.

      II. With these predictions of trouble, we have here prescriptions of counsels and comforts for a time of trial. He sends them out exposed to danger indeed, and expecting it, but well armed with instructions and encouragements, sufficient to bear them up, and bear them out, in all these trials. Let us gather up what he says,

      1. By way of counsel and direction in several things.

      (1.) Be ye wise as serpents,Matthew 10:16; Matthew 10:16. "You may be so" (so some take it, only as a permission); "you may be as wary as you please, provided you be harmless as doves." But it is rather to be taken as a precept, recommending to us that wisdom of the prudent, which is to understand his way, as useful at all times, but especially in suffering times. "Therefore, because you are exposed, as sheep among wolves; be ye wise as serpents; not wise as foxes, whose cunning is to deceive others; but as serpents, whose policy is only to defend themselves, and to shift for their own safety." The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and, therefore, they need the serpent's wisdom. Note, It is the will of Christ that his people and ministers, being so much exposed to troubles in this world, as they usually are, should not needlessly expose themselves, but use all fair and lawful means for their own preservation. Christ gave us an example of this wisdom, Matthew 21:24; Matthew 21:25; Matthew 22:17; Matthew 22:18; Matthew 22:19; John 7:6; John 7:7; besides the many escapes he made out of the hands of his enemies, till his hour was come. See an instance of Paul's wisdom, Acts 23:6; Acts 23:7. In the cause of Christ we must sit loose to life and all its comforts, but must not be prodigal of them. It is the wisdom of the serpent to secure his head, that it may not be broken, to stop his ear to the voice of the charmer (Psalms 58:4; Psalms 58:5), and to take shelter in the clefts of the rocks; and herein we may be wise as serpents. We must be wise, not to pull trouble upon our own heads; wise to keep silence in an evil time, and not to give offence, if we can help it.

      (2.) Be ye harmless as doves. "Be mild, and meek, and dispassionate; not only do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill will; be without gall, as doves are; this must always go along with the former." They are sent forth among wolves, therefore must be as wise as serpents, but they are sent forth as sheep, therefore must be harmless as doves. We must be wise, not to wrong ourselves, but rather so than wrong any one else; must use the harmlessness of the dove to bear twenty injuries, rather than the subtlety of the serpent to offer or to return one. Note, It must be the continual care of all Christ's disciples, to be innocent and inoffensive in word and deed, especially in consideration of the enemies they are in the midst of. We have need of a dove-like spirit, when we are beset with birds of prey, that we may neither provoke them nor be provoked by them: David coveted the wings of a dove, on which to fly away and be at rest, rather than the wings of a hawk. The Spirit descended on Christ as a dove, and all believers partake of the Spirit of Christ, a dove-like spirit, made for love, not for war.

      (3.) Beware of men,Matthew 10:17; Matthew 10:17. "Be always upon your guard, and avoid dangerous company; take heed what you say and do, and presume not too far upon any man's fidelity; be jealous of the most plausible pretensions; trust not in a friend, no, not in the wife of thy bosom," Micah 7:5. Note, It becomes those who are gracious to be cautious, for we are taught to cease from man. Such a wretched world do we live in, that we know not whom to trust. Ever since our Master was betrayed with a kiss, by one of his own disciples, we have need to beware of men, of false brethren.

      (4.) Take no thought how or what ye shall speak,Matthew 10:19; Matthew 10:19. "When you are brought before magistrates, conduct yourselves decently, but afflict not yourselves with care how you shall come off. A prudent thought there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing, disquieting thought; let this care be cast upon God, as well as that--what you shall eat and what you shall drink. Do not study to make fine speeches, ad captandam benevolentiam--to ingratiate yourselves; affect not quaint expressions, flourishes of wit, and laboured periods, which only serve to gild a bad cause; the gold of a good one needs it not. It argues a diffidence of your cause, to be solicitous in this matter, as if it were not sufficient to speak for itself. You know upon what grounds you go, and then verbaque prævisam rem non invita sequentur--suitable expressions will readily occur." Never any spoke better before governors and kings than those three champions, who took no thought before, what they should speak: O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter,Daniel 3:16. See Psalms 119:46. Note, The disciples of Christ must be more thoughtful how to do well than how to speak well; how to keep their integrity than how to vindicate it. Non magna loquimur, sed vivimus--Our lives, not boasting words, form the best apology.

      (5.) When they persecute you in this city, flee to another,Matthew 10:23; Matthew 10:23. "Thus reject them who reject you and your doctrine, and try whether others will not receive you and it. Thus shift for your own safety." Note, In case of imminent peril, the disciples of Christ may and must secure themselves by flight, when God, in his providence, opens to them a door of escape. He that flies may fight again. It is no inglorious thing for Christ's soldiers to quit their ground, provided they do not quit their colours: they may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. Observe Christ's care of his disciples, in providing places of retreat and shelter for them; ordering it so, that persecution rages not in all places at the same time; but when one city is made too hot for them, another is reserved for a cooler shade, and a little sanctuary; a favour to be used and not to be slighted; yet always with this proviso, that no sinful, unlawful means be used to make the escape; for then it is not a door of God's opening. We have many examples to this rule in the history both of Christ and his apostles, in the application of all which to particular cases wisdom and integrity are profitable to direct.

      (6.) Fear them not (Matthew 10:26; Matthew 10:26), because they can but kill the body (Matthew 10:28; Matthew 10:28). Note, it is the duty and interest of Christ's disciples, not to fear the greatest of their adversaries. They who truly fear God, need not fear man; and they who are afraid of the least sin, need not be afraid of the greatest trouble. 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 carefully watched, and striven, and prayed against. Be the times never so difficult, enemies never so outrageous, and events never so threatening, yet need we not fear, yet will we not fear, though the earth be removed, while we have so good a God, so good a cause, and so good a hope through grace.

      Yes, this is soon said; but when it comes to the trial, racks and tortures, dungeons and galleys, axes and gibbets, fire and faggot, are terrible things, enough to make the stoutest heart to tremble, and to start back, especially when it is plain, that they may be avoided by a few declining steps; and therefore, to fortify us against this temptation, we have here,

      [1.] A good reason against this fear, taken from the limited power of the enemies; they kill the body, that is the utmost their rage can extend to; hitherto they can go, if God permit them, but no further; they are not able to kill the soul, nor to do it any hurt, and the soul is the man. By this it appears, that the soul does not (as some dream) fall asleep at death, nor is deprived of thought and perception; for then the killing of the body would be the killing of the soul too. The soul is killed when it is separated from God and his love, which is its life, and is made a vessel of his wrath; now this is out of the reach of their power. Tribulation, distress, and persecution may separate us from all the world, but cannot part between us and God, cannot make us either not to love him, or not to be loved by him, Romans 8:35; Romans 8:37. If, therefore, we were more concerned about our souls, as our jewels, we should be less afraid of men, whose power cannot rob us of them; they can but kill the body, which would quickly die of itself, not the soul, which will enjoy itself and its God in spite of them. They can but crush the cabinet: a heathen set the tyrant at defiance with this, Tunde capsam Anaxarchi, Anaxarchum nom lædis--you may abuse the case of Anaxarchus, you cannot injure Anaxarchus himself. The pearl of price is untouched. Seneca undertakes to make it out, that you cannot hurt a wise and good man, because death itself is no real evil to him. Si maximum illud ultra quod nihil habent iratæ leges, aut sævissimi domini minantur, in quo imperium suum fortuna consumit, æquo placidoque animo accipimus, et scimus mortem malum non esse ob hoc, ne injuriam quidem--If with calmness and composure we meet that last extremity, beyond which injured laws and merciless tyrants have nothing to inflict, and in which fortune terminates her dominion, we know that death is not an evil, because it does not occasion the slightest injury. Seneca De Constantid.

      [2.] A good remedy against it, and that is, to fear God. Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Note, First, Hell is the destruction both of soul and body; not of the being of either, but the well--being of both; it is the ruin of the whole man; if the soul be lost, the body is lost too. They sinned together; the body was the soul's tempter to sin, and its tool in sin, and they must eternally suffer together. Secondly, This destruction comes from the power of God: he is able to destroy; it is a destruction from his glorious power (2 Thessalonians 1:9); he will in it make his power known; not only his authority to sentence, but his ability to execute the sentence, Romans 9:22. Thirdly, God is therefore to be feared, even by the best saints in this world. Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men to stand in awe of him. If according to his fear so is his wrath, then according to his wrath so should his fear be, especially because none knows the power of his anger,Psalms 90:11. When Adam, in innocency, was awed by a threatening, let none of Christ's disciples think that they need not the restraint of a holy fear. Happy is the man that fears always. The God of Abraham, who was then dead, is called the Fear of Isaac, who was yet alive, Genesis 31:42; Genesis 31:53. Fourthly, The fear of God, and of his power reigning in the soul, will be a sovereign antidote against the fear of man. It is better to fall under the frowns of all the world, than under God's frowns, and therefore, as it is most right in itself, so it is most safe for us, to obey God rather than men,Acts 4:19. They who are afraid of a man that shall die, forget the Lord their Maker,Isaiah 51:12; Isaiah 51:13; Nehemiah 4:14.

      (7.) What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light (Matthew 10:27; Matthew 10:27); "whatever hazards you run, go on with your work, publishing and proclaiming the everlasting gospel to all the world; that is your business, mind that. The design of the enemies is not merely to destroy you, but to suppress that, and, therefore, whatever be the consequence, publish that." What I tell you, that speak ye. Note, That which the apostles have delivered to us is the same that they received from Jesus Christ,Hebrews 2:3. They spake what he told them--that, all that, and nothing but that. Those ambassadors received their instructions in private, in darkness, in the ear, in corners, in parables. Many things Christ spake openly, and nothing in secret varying from what he preached in public, John 18:20. But the particular instructions which he gave his disciples after his resurrection, concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, were whispered in the ear (Acts 1:3), for then he never showed himself openly. But they must deliver their embassy publicly, in the light, and upon the house-tops; for the doctrine of the gospel is what all are concerned in (Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 1:21; Proverbs 8:2; Proverbs 8:3), therefore he that hath ears to hear, let him hear. The first indication of the reception of the Gentiles into the church, was upon a house-top,Acts 10:9. Note, There is no part of Christ's gospel that needs, upon any account, to be concealed; the whole counsel of God must be revealed,Acts 20:27. In never so mixed a multitude let it be plainly and fully delivered.

      2. By way of comfort and encouragement. Here is very much said to that purpose, and all little enough, considering the many hardships they were to grapple with, throughout the course of their ministry, and their present weakness, which was such, as that, without some powerful support, they could scarcely bear even the prospect of such usage; Christ therefore shows them why they should be of good cheer.

      (1.) Here is one word peculiar to their present mission, Matthew 10:23; Matthew 10:23. Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. They were to preach that the kingdom of the Son of man, the Messiah, was at hand; they were to pray, Thy kingdom come: now they should not have gone over all the cities of Israel, thus praying and thus preaching, before that kingdom should come, in the exaltation of Christ, and the pouring out of the Spirit. It was a comfort, [1.] That what they said should be made good: they said the Son of man is coming, and behold, he comes. Christ will confirm the word of his messengers,Isaiah 44:26. [2.] That it should be made good quickly. Note, It is matter of comfort to Christ's labourers, that their working time will be short, and soon over; the hireling has his day; the work and warfare will in a little time be accomplished. [3.] That then they should be advanced to a higher station. When the Son of man comes, they shall be endued with greater power from on high; now they were sent forth as agents and envoys, but in a little time their commission should be enlarged, and they should be sent forth as plenipotentiaries into all the world.

      (2.) Here are many words that relate to their work in general, and the troubles they were to meet with in it; and they are good words and comfortable words.

      [1.] That their sufferings were for a testimony against them and the Gentiles,Matthew 10:18; Matthew 10:18. When the Jewish consistories transfer you to the Roman governors, that they may have you put to death, your being hurried thus from one judgment-seat to another, will help to make your testimony the more public, and will give you an opportunity of bringing the gospel to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; nay, you will testify to them, and against them, by the very troubles you undergo. Note, God's people, and especially God's ministers, are his witnesses (Isaiah 43:10), not only in their doing work, but in their suffering work. Hence they are called martyrs--witnesses for Christ, that his truths are of undoubted certainty and value; and, being witnesses for him, they are witnesses against those who oppose him and his gospel. The sufferings of the martyrs, as they witness to the truth of the gospel they profess, so they are testimonies of the enmity of their persecutors, and both ways they are a testimony against them, and will be produced in evidence in the great day, when the saints shall judge the world; and the reason of the sentence will be, Inasmuch as ye did it unto these, ye did it unto me. Now if their sufferings be a testimony, how cheerfully should they be borne! for the testimony is not finished till those come, Revelation 11:7. If they be Christ's witnesses, they shall be sure to have their charges borne.

      [2.] That upon all occasions they should have God's special presence with them, and the immediate assistance of his Holy Spirit, particularly when they should be called out to bear their testimony before governors and kings; it shall be given you (said Christ) in that same hour what ye shall speak. Christ's disciples were chosen from among the foolish of the world, unlearned and ignorant men, and, therefore, might justly distrust their own abilities, especially when they were called before great men. When Moses was sent to Pharaoh, he complained, I am not eloquent,Exodus 4:10. When Jeremiah was set over the kingdoms, he objected, I am but a child,Jeremiah 1:6; Jeremiah 1:10. Now, in answer to this suggestion, First, they are here promised that it should be given them, nor some time before, but in that same hour, what they should speak. They shall speak extempore, and yet shall speak as much to the purpose, as if it had been never so well studied. Note, When God calls us out to speak for him, we may depend upon him to teach us what to say; even then, when we labour under the greatest disadvantages and discouragements. Secondly, They are here assured, that the blessed Spirit should draw up their plea for them. It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father, which speaketh in you,Matthew 10:20; Matthew 10:20. They were not left to themselves upon such an occasion, but God undertook for them; his Spirit of wisdom spoke in them, as sometimes his providence wonderfully spoke for them, and by both together they were manifested in the consciences even of their persecutors. God gave them an ability, not only to speak to the purpose, but what they did say, to say it with holy zeal. The same Spirit that assisted them in the pulpit, assisted them at the bar. They cannot but come off well, who have such an advocate; to whom God says, as he did to Moses (Exodus 4:12), Go, and I will be with thy mouth, and with thy heart.

      [3.] That he that endures to the end shall be saved,Matthew 10:22; Matthew 10:22. Here it is very comfortable to consider, First, that there will be an end of these troubles; they may last long, but will not last always. Christ comforted himself with this, and so may his followers; The things concerning me have an end,Luke 22:37. Dabit Deus his quoque finem--These also will God bring to a termination. Note, A believing prospect of the period of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. The weary will be at rest, when the wicked cease from troubling,Job 3:17. God will give an expected end,Jeremiah 29:11. The troubles may seem tedious, like the days of a hireling, but, blessed be God, they are not everlasting. Secondly, That while they continue, they may be endured; as they are not eternal, so they are not intolerable; they may be borne, and borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them, in everlasting arms: The strength shall be according to the day,1 Corinthians 10:13. Thirdly, Salvation will be the eternal recompence of all those that endure to the end. The weather stormy, and the way foul, but the pleasure of home will make amends for all. A believing regard to the crown of glory has been in all ages the cordial and support of suffering saints, 2 Corinthians 4:16; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Hebrews 10:34. This is not only an encouragement to us to endure, but an engagement to endure to the end. They who endure but awhile, and in time of temptation fall away, have run in vain, and lose all that they have attained; but they who persevere, are sure of the prize, and they only. Be faithful unto death, and then thou shalt have the crown of life.

      [4.] That whatever hard usage the disciples of Christ meet with, it is no more than what their Master met with before (Matthew 10:24; Matthew 10:25). The disciple is not above his master. We find this given them as a reason, why they should not hesitate to perform the meanest duties, no, not washing one another's feet. John 13:16. Here it is given as a reason, why they should not stumble at the hardest sufferings. They are reminded of this saying, John 15:20. It is a proverbial expression, The servant is not better than his master, and, therefore, let him not expect to fare better. Note, First, Jesus Christ is our Master, our teaching Master, and we are his disciples, to learn of him; our ruling master, and we are his servants to obey him: He is Master of the house, oikodespotes, has a despotic power in the church, which is his family. Secondly, Jesus Christ our Lord and Master met with very hard usage from the world; they called him Beelzebub, the god of flies, the name of the chief of the devils, with whom they said he was in league. It is hard to say which is here more to be wondered at, the wickedness of men who thus abused Christ, or the patience of Christ, who suffered himself to be thus abused; that he who was the God of glory should be stigmatized as the god of flies; the King of Israel, as the god of Ekron; the Prince of light and life, as the prince of the powers of death and darkness; that Satan's greatest Enemy and Destroyer should be run down as his confederate, and yet endure such contradiction of sinners. Thirdly, The consideration of the ill treatment which Christ met with in the world, should engage us to expect and prepare for the like, and to bear it patiently. Let us not think it strange, if they who hated him hate his followers, for his sake; nor think it hard if they who are shortly to be made like him in glory, be now made like him in sufferings. Christ began in the bitter cup, let us be willing to pledge him; his bearing the cross made it easy for us.

      [5.] That there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed,Matthew 10:26; Matthew 10:26. We understand this, First, Of the revealing of the gospel to all the world. "Do you publish it (Matthew 10:27; Matthew 10:27), for it shall be published. The truths which are now, as mysteries, hid from the children of men, shall all be made known, to all nations, in their own language," Acts 2:11. The ends of the earth must see this salvation. Note, It is a great encouragement to those who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. It is a plough which God will speed. Or, Secondly, Of the clearing up of the innocency of Christ's suffering servants, that are called Beelzebub; their true character is now invidiously disguised with false colours, but however their innocency and excellency are now covered, they shall be revealed; sometimes it is in a great measure done in this world, when the righteousness of the saints is made, by subsequent events, to shine forth as the light: however it will be done at the great day, when their glory shall be manifested to all the world, angels and men, to whom they are now made spectacles,1 Corinthians 4:9. All their reproach shall be rolled away, and their graces and services, that are now covered, shall be revealed,1 Corinthians 4:5. Note, It is matter of comfort to the people of God, under all the calumnies and censures of men, that there will be a resurrection of names as well as of bodies, at the last day, when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun. Let Christ's ministers faithfully reveal his truths, and then leave it to him, in due time, to reveal their integrity.

      [6.] That the providence of God is in a special manner conversant about the saints, in their suffering, Matthew 10:29-31; Matthew 10:29-31. It is good to have recourse to our first principles, and particularly to the doctrine of God's universal providence, extending itself to all the creatures, and all their actions, even the smallest and most minute. The light of nature teaches us this, and it is comfortable to all men, but especially to all good men, who can in faith call this God their Father, and for whom he has a tender concern. See here,

      First, The general extent of providence to all the creatures, even the least, and least considerable, to the sparrows,Matthew 10:29; Matthew 10:29. These little animals are of so small account, that one of them is not valued; there must go two to be worth a farthing (nay, you shall have five for a halfpenny, Luke 12:6), and yet they are not shut out of the divine care; One of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father: That is, 1. They do not light on the ground for food, to pick up a grain of corn, but your heavenly Father, by his providence, laid it ready for them. In the parallel place, Luke 12:6, it is thus expressed, Not one of them is forgotten before God, forgotten to be provided for; he feedeth them,Matthew 6:26; Matthew 6:26. Now he that feeds the sparrows, will not starve the saints. 2. They do not fall to the ground by death, either a natural or a violent death, without the notice of God: though they are so small a part of the creation, yet even their death comes within the notice of the divine providence; much more does the death of his disciples. Observe, The birds that soar above, when they die, fall to the ground; death brings the highest to the earth. Some think that Christ here alludes to the two sparrows that were used in cleansing the leper (Leviticus 14:4-6); the two birds in the margin are called sparrows; of these one was killed, and so fell to the ground, the other was let go. Now it seemed a casual thing which of the two was killed; the persons employed took which they pleased, but God's providence designed, and determined which. Now this God, who has such an eye to the sparrows, because they are his creatures, much more will have an eye to you, who are his children. If a sparrow die not without your Father, surely a man does not,--a Christian,--a minister,--my friend, my child. A bird falls not into the fowler's net, nor by the fowler's shot, and so comes not to be sold in the market, but according to the direction of providence; your enemies, like subtle fowlers, lay snares for you, and privily shoot at you, but they cannot take you, they cannot hit you, unless God give them leave. Therefore be not afraid of death, for your enemies have no power against you, but what is given them from above. God can break their bows and snares (Psalms 38:12-15; Psalms 64:4; Psalms 64:7), and make our souls to escape as a bird (Psalms 124:7); Fear ye not, therefore,Matthew 10:31; Matthew 10:31. Note, There is enough in the doctrine of God's providence to silence all the fears of God's people: Ye are of more value than many sparrows. All men are so, for the other creatures were made for man, and put under his feet (Psalms 8:6-8); much more the disciples of Jesus Christ, who are the excellent ones of the earth, however contemned, as if not worth one sparrow.

      Secondly, The particular cognizance which providence takes of the disciples of Christ, especially in their sufferings (Matthew 10:30; Matthew 10:30), But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This is a proverbial expression, denoting the account which God takes and keeps of all the concernments of his people, even of those that are most minute, and least regarded. This is not to be made a matter of curious enquiry, but of encouragement to live in a continual dependence upon God's providential care, which extends itself to all occurrences, yet without disparagement to the infinite glory, or disturbance to the infinite rest, of the Eternal Mind. If God numbers their hairs, much more does he number their heads, and take care of their lives, their comforts, their souls. It intimates, that God takes more care of them, than they do of themselves. They who are solicitous to number their money, and goods, and cattle, yet were never careful to number their hairs, which fall and are lost, and they never miss them: but God numbers the hairs of his people, and not a hair of their head shall perish (Luke 21:18); not the least hurt shall be done them, but upon a valuable consideration: so precious to God are his saints, and their lives and deaths!

      [7.] That he will shortly, in the day of triumph, own those who now own him, in the day of trial, when those who deny him shall be for ever disowned and rejected by him, Matthew 10:32; Matthew 10:33. Note, First, It is our duty, and if we do it, it will hereafter be our unspeakable honour and happiness, to confess Christ before men. 1. 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. We must never be ashamed of our relation to Christ, our attendance on him, and our expectations from him: hereby the sincerity of our faith, is evidenced, his name glorified, and others edified. 2. However this may expose us to reproach and trouble now, we shall be abundantly recompensed for that, in the resurrection of the just, when it will be our unspeakable honour and happiness to hear Christ say (what would we more?) "Him will I confess, though a poor worthless worm of the earth; this is one of mine, one of my friends and favourites, who loved me and was beloved by me; the purchase of my blood, the workmanship of my Spirit; I will confess him before my Father, when it will do him the most service; I will speak a good word for him, when he appears before my Father to receive his doom; I will present him, will represent him to my Father." Those who honour Christ he will thus honour. They honour him before men; that is a poor thing: he will honour them before his Father; that is a great thing. Secondly, It is a dangerous thing for any to deny and disown Christ before men; for they who so do will be disowned by him in the great day, when they have most need of him: he will not own them for his servants who would not own him for their master: I tell you, I know you not,Matthew 7:23; Matthew 7:23. In the first ages of Christianity, when for a man to confess Christ was to venture all that was dear to him in this world, it was more a trial of sincerity, than it was afterwards, when it had secular advantages attending it.

      [8.] That the foundation of their discipleship was laid in such a temper and disposition, as would make sufferings very light and easy to them; and it was upon the condition of a preparedness for suffering, that Christ took them to be his followers, Matthew 10:37-39; Matthew 10:37-39. He told them at first, that they were not worthy of him, if they were not willing to part with all for him. Men hesitate not at those difficulties which necessarily attend their profession, and which they counted upon, when they undertook that profession; and they will either cheerfully submit to those fatigues and troubles, or disclaim the privileges and advantages of their profession. Now, in the Christian profession, they are reckoned unworthy the dignity and felicity of it, that put not such a value upon their interest in Christ, as to prefer that before any other interests. They cannot expect the gains of a bargain, who will not come up to the terms of it. Now thus the terms are settled; if religion be worth any thing, it is worth every thing: and, therefore, all who believe the truth of it, will soon come up to the price of it; and they who make it their business and bliss, will make every thing else to yield to it. They who like not Christ on these terms, may leave him at their peril. Note, It is very encouraging to think, that whatever we leave, or lose, or suffer for Christ, we do not make a hard bargain for ourselves. Whatever we part with for this pearl of price, we may comfort ourselves with this persuasion, that it is well worth what we give for it. The terms are, that we must prefer Christ.

      First, Before our nearest and dearest relations; father or mother, son or daughter. Between these relations, because there is little room left for envy, there is commonly more room for love, and, therefore, these are instanced, as relations which are most likely to affect us. Children must love their parents, and parents must love their children; but if they love them better than Christ, they are unworthy of him. As we must not be deterred from Christ by the hatred of our relations which he spoke of (Matthew 10:21; Matthew 10:35; Matthew 10:36), so we must not be drawn from him, by their love. Christians must be as Levi, who said to his father, I have not seen him,Deuteronomy 33:9.

      Secondly, Before our ease and safety. We must take up our cross and follow him, else we are not worthy of him. Here observe, 1. They who would follow Christ, must expect their cross and take it up. 2. In taking up the cross, we must follow Christ's example, and bear it as he did. 3. It is a great encouragement to us, when we meet with crosses, that in bearing them we follow Christ, who has showed us the way; and that if we follow him faithfully, he will lead us through sufferings like him, to glory with him.

      Thirdly, Before life itself, Matthew 10:39; Matthew 10:39. He that findeth his life shall lose it; he that thinks he had found it when he has saved it, and kept it, by denying Christ, shall lose it in an eternal death; but he that loseth his life for Christ's sake, that will part with it rather than deny Christ, shall find it, to his unspeakable advantage, an eternal life. They are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life.

      [9.] That Christ himself would so heartily espouse their cause, as to show himself a friend to all their friends, and to repay all the kindnesses that should at any time be bestowed upon them, Matthew 10:40-42; Matthew 10:40-42. He that receiveth you, receiveth me.

      First, It is here implied, that though the generality would reject them, yet they should meet with some who would receive and entertain them, would bid the message welcome to their hearts, and the messengers to their houses, for the sake of it. Why was the gospel market made, but that if some will not, others will. In the worst of times there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Christ's ministers shall not labour in vain.

      Secondly, Jesus Christ takes what is done to his faithful ministers, whether in kindness or in unkindness, as done to himself, and reckons himself treated as they are treated. He that receiveth you, receiveth me. Honour or contempt put upon an ambassador reflects honour or contempt upon the prince that sends him, and ministers are ambassadors for Christ. See how Christ may still be entertained by those who would testify their respects to him; his people and ministers we have always with us; and he is with them always, even to the end of the world. Nay, the honour rises higher, He that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. Not only Christ takes it as done to himself, but through Christ God does so too. By entertaining Christ's ministers, they entertain not angels unawares, but Christ, nay, and God himself, and unawares too, as appears, Matthew 25:37; Matthew 25:37. When saw we thee an hungered?

      Thirdly, That though the kindness done to Christ's disciples be never so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted, though it be but a cup of cold water given to one of these little ones,Matthew 10:42; Matthew 10:42. They are little ones, poor and weak, and often stand in need of refreshment, and glad of the least. The extremity may be such, that a cup of cold water may be a great favour. Note, Kindnesses shown to Christ's disciples are valued in Christ's books, not according to the cost of the gift, but according to the love and affection of the giver. On that score the widow's mite not only passed current, but was stamped high, Luke 21:3; Luke 21:4. Thus they who are truly rich in graces may be rich in good works, though poor in the world.

      Fourthly, That kindness to Christ's disciples which he will accept, must b done with an eye to Christ, and for his sake. A prophet must be received in the name of a prophet, and a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, and one of those little ones in the name of a disciple; not because they are learned, or witty, nor because they are our relations or neighbours, but because they are righteous, and so bear Christ's image; because they are prophets and disciples, and so are sent on Christ's errand. It is a believing regard to Christ that puts an acceptable value upon the kindnesses done to his ministers. Christ does not interest himself in the matter, unless we first interest him in it. Ut tibi debeam aliquid pro eo quod præstas, debes non tantum mihi præstare, sed tanquam mihi--If you wish me to feel an obligation to you for any service you render, you must not only perform the service, but you must convince me that you do it for my sake. Seneca.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Matthew 10:42". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.


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Commentary on Matthew 10:40-42

Our text comes at the end of Matthew 10, the second major section of Jesus’ teaching after the Sermon on the Mount.

The chapters in between (8-9) narrate various episodes in Jesus’ ministry of teaching, healing, casting out demons, and raising the dead. At the end of chapter 9, Jesus looks at the crowds and has compassion on them because they are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (9:36). So he tells his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (9:37-38).

Jesus evidently intends his disciples to be the answer to their own prayer, for at the beginning of chapter 10, he is sending them out, giving them “authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness” (10:1). Jesus instructs the twelve to “go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” and to “proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (10:5-8).

The disciples are to act as envoys of Jesus, extending his ministry, proclaiming the same good news and performing the same works of healing that he is doing. Jesus’ further instructions make clear that the disciples are also to share in his poverty and homelessness, taking with them no money or extra clothing, and depending solely on the hospitality of others for shelter and sustenance (10:8b-13).

They will not be welcomed everywhere (10:14-15), and they can expect to experience the same hostility Jesus often does, for he is sending them out “like sheep into the midst of wolves” (10:16). They can expect to encounter persecution and trials (10:17-23), for “a disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master” (10:24-25). They need also be prepared for painful division within families, and to be willing to put Jesus’ mission above family loyalties (10:34-38). For all of this risk and suffering, Jesus promises, “those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (10:39).

Welcome Rewards

Matthew, of course, is not only recalling Jesus’ instructions to his first disciples; he is also speaking to his own community of disciples a few generations later. There is still need to send out laborers into the harvest, to send missionaries out beyond the community into a perilous world. And those sent will still need to depend on the hospitality of others. Jesus says of those who enact such hospitality, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (10:40).

In the ancient world identity was tied to family and community. It was understood that in showing hospitality, one welcomed not just an individual, but implicitly, the community who sent the person and all that they represent. Therefore, welcoming a disciple of Jesus would mean receiving the very presence of Jesus himself and of the one who sent him, God the Father.

Jesus continues: “Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous” (10:41). The words “prophet” and “righteous” in Matthew often refer to the prophets and faithful servants of biblical history (e.g., 11:13; 13:17; 23:29), but can also refer to contemporary prophets (7:15-20) and righteous ones (13:43, 39; 25:37, 46). It is not clear whether Matthew is referring to two distinct roles within the community, or whether these are simply alternative ways of describing those sent out as missionaries.

What are the “prophet’s reward” and the “reward of the righteous” of which Jesus speaks? Elsewhere in Matthew the prophets receive persecution (5:12), rejection (13:57), and death (23:30-35, 37), and yet those who are persecuted are told, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (5:12). Similarly, the righteous are promised that they “will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (13:43).

Finally, Jesus says, “and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple — truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward” (10:42). “Little ones” (mikros) often refers to children, but Matthew uses it to refer to Jesus’ disciples, especially those who are young in faith or particularly vulnerable (cf. 18:6, 10). The statement about giving a cup of cold water to one of these little ones points ahead to the parable of the judgment in Matthew 25. Here the Son of Man says to the righteous, “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink” (25:35), and “truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (25:40). The word translated “least of these” is elachistos, superlative of mikros. The righteous who attend to the needs of the “littlest ones” are told: “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (25:34).

The word “reward” (misthos) in Matthew 10 carries connotations of something earned, but this word is not used in the parable of judgment. Here Jesus says to the righteous, “Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you…” An inheritance is pure gift. Those who welcome and care for the needs of “little ones” welcome and care for Jesus himself. To receive Jesus is to receive the one who sent him, and to become heirs to all that the Father has to give.

The Sent Church

Sent by God, Jesus sends his disciples to participate in his mission of proclaiming in word and deed the good news of God’s kingdom drawing near. Matthew assumes that the church is a “sent” church, a missionary church (Matthew 28:18-20). There is simply no other way to be the church! This understanding is being recovered in our own day with the missional church movement. There is growing awareness that mission is not just a program of the church; it is (or ought to be) the defining purpose of everything the church does.

An approach to preaching Matthew 10:40-42 might be to focus a congregation’s attention on what it means to be sent. Perhaps not all are sent to be wandering missionaries, depending on others for shelter and sustenance, but that doesn’t mean we are off the hook. The entire baptized are sent into the world to tell and embody the good news of Jesus Christ. All are sent to bear Christ to others with humility and vulnerability, being willing to risk rejection.

What would happen if we stopped expecting people to come on their own initiative through our church doors, and instead took seriously our calling to bring the gospel to them? What would happen if we truly believed that we bear the presence of Christ to every person we encounter, in every home, workplace, or neighborhood we enter? What would happen if we saw every conversation as an opportunity to speak words of grace, every interaction as an opportunity to embody Christ’s love for the neighbor?

Recently a friend told of an interaction with a bagger at her local grocery store. She had been talking with this woman off and on for a year, and upon learning that she no longer worked on Sundays, invited her to come to her church, to their casual, outdoor, come-as-you-are service. Much to my friend’s surprise, the woman responded by giving her a hug!

We may not always receive such a positive response when we take the risk of reaching out, yet we may be surprised at how ready many are to receive our most humble efforts. Lest we forget what we have to offer, we have Jesus’ promise: “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me.”


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