40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” — Matthew 10:40-42.
The apostles are ambassadors of Jesus. Whoever receives them receives Jesus and, since Jesus was sent by the heavenly Father (God), they receive God.
Hospitality and Reward
The message bearer and the receiver are the same. The same reward is given to the prophet as is given to the one who receives the prophet. The prophet is not greater than the one who receives him even though the one receiving him may not be a prophet himself. Those who serve the message are not greater than those who receive it; both receive the same reward from God. Everyone who receives God, either in service or in receiving those sent to serve, are the same and are both worthy of the same reward. This should help us to not minimize our value before God just because we may not have a ministry of our own and also to keep us humble if we do have a ministry, remembering that we are not greater than the people we serve.
Another thing — it does not matter who we are receiving if we are receiving them in the Lord. When we receive a person because they are sent by God or because they are God’s, we are receiving God. When we receive the prophet sent by God we are receiving The One Who sent him. When we receive a disciple of God then we are receiving the God who is his master. What matters is not the stature or prominence of the one we are receiving, but the name in which we are receiving them; what matters is not man but God. No matter who it is, if we receive them in the Lord, then we have a reward.
When we receive and serve someone in the name of the Lord, even though they be among the least (cf. Matt. 25:40, 45), we receive the Lord and we have our rewards. To receive someone in the name of the Lord is to receive them because they are sent by God; to see and receive them as though we are receiving God. We focus on the message because it is from God and serve the messenger because he is serving God. When we do this, our reward in heaven is sure.
These rewards are not necessarily immediate, but rather rewards to be given at the end of the age. Jesus confirms this when, referring to His own return, He says, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” — Revelation 22:12.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.