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Let’s look at Matthew 10:40-42. It says, “He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. 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. 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.” We see in verses 1-7 of this chapter, the Lord sending out His twelve apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to preach the gospel of the kingdom.  They were to canvas the land from city to city and from house to house, seeking to gain the ear of their fellow-countrymen with the good news that the Messiah had come. In verses 11-13, the Lord encouraged them by telling them some would indeed receive them and their message, but in verses 13-31, He forewarns them that some would reject them and the word that they brought. It must have humbled the apostles to realize that the Lord so completely identified Himself with them that if one received them they were, in effect, receiving Christ Himself! And this in turn meant they were also receiving the Father, who had sent Christ. To receive the one sent is to receive the sender! This is the blessed truth of verse 40.

We do well to take this principle to heart, for Christ has also sent us out into the world with the gospel of His grace. We learn of this in John 17:18, “As Thou as sent Me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world.”  We are His representatives today, and are called, in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “ambassadors for Christ.” If people receive the message of grace that we bring, and prove it by treating us with kindness, they are actually receiving Christ Himself!

Back in our portion, verses 41-42 go a step further and teach us that those who receive one who represents Christ will receive a reward. In fact, they will share in the very reward as the one who is sent! This is grace indeed and it shows us what Christ thinks of our treatment of His servants. He values and highly esteems all that is done for Him and to treat His servants kindly is to treat Him kindly. Everything that is done for Christ, from receiving the prophet who speaks for Christ to giving a cup of water to a simple disciple of Christ, will all be met with His divine approval and be rewarded in that coming day when we stand before the Lord Jesus at His judgment seat. We read of this in 1 Corinthians 3:11-14, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it….If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.”

I’d like to close by emphasizing the privilege we have to receive Christ’s servants today. We may not all have the gift of an evangelist or a teacher, but we can all “receive them” by having fellowship with them. We can pray for them; we can help them financially; and perhaps we’ll even have the opportunity to show hospitality to them in our homes, as they did with the apostles in Matthew 10:11-13. As our faith in Christ leads us to display our love for them and our appreciation for their service for Christ, we will indeed be receiving Christ Himself. This truth is illustrated beautifully in the Lord’s words to the faithful in Matthew 25:34-40, “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”  (128.3)  (DO)