God Will Certainly Reward Each And Every One Of Us For What We Have Done In The Flesh
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 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.”
Welcoming the Witness
Jesus proclaims something very profound here regarding witnessing for Him. When someone accepts you, they are accepting Him. Those who witness for Christ at His request are His ambassadors. They have the full weight and power to go out and represent the person abroad.
The disciples of Jesus have been given His full authority to act in His name – His very character – to represent Him to others. And when we represent Him, we are, in fact, representing the One who sent Him – His Father. Jesus was God the Father’s ambassador to men, and we have now in turn been passed the baton in this relay race. Everything that we do will reflect upon not only Jesus but also God the Father – for good, and for bad. We should keep that in mind before we form conclusions in our minds, say anything to anyone, or do anything that might bring shame upon God.
Receive the Reward
Jesus also clarifies what type of reward we receive when we welcome His ambassadors. Those who welcome a prophet (as a prophet) will receive the reward of a prophet. That should cause us pause. Even if we are the lowliest workers in His kingdom, when we receive a prophet of God as a prophet, we receive his reward as well:
And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.
If we receive a righteous person, we receive a righteous person’s reward. There is only one who is righteous, and He is Jesus Christ. He received a great reward – eternal life. In a like manner, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness:
1 “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Retain the Reward
Gaining the reward is the first giant hurdle. We have an obligation, a blood-debt, so to speak, with the One who purchased our lives with His very own blood. Jesus died upon the cross for our sins, offering His blood as the final, and only permanent atoning sacrifice for them:
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”
We are to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. And Jesus provides us with the litmus test:
If you love me, keep my commands.
When we aid and assist an ambassador, we are, in effect, aiding and assisting the one who sent him/her. Even providing relief of the desert sun by giving a cup of cold water to the least of his disciples (ambassadors), we are, in effect, doing it to Him:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
And although the gift of salvation is a free one, insofar as we do not have to earn it but merely accept it, how ungrateful would we appear if we did not thank the One who made it, and show our appreciation for His efforts?
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask some questions: How do I receive ambassadors from God? Am I living in such a way that I am a faithful ambassador for God?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have sent Your prophets and recorded Your words through them in Your word. Help me, Father God, that I would listen to Your word, and receive them as You sent them – as Your ambassadors. Help me to yield myself to Your Holy Spirit, for He testifies about Your Son and is the One You have sent as a down-deposit on my inheritance in You. Help me to be faithful and obedient to His voice as He speaks to me through Your word. Guide me so that I would be a faithful ambassador for You as well. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.