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Matthew 10:42

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A cup of cold water - Υδατος, of water, is not in the common text, but it is found in the Codex Bezae, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, Slavonic, all copies of the Itala, Vulgate, and Origen. It is necessarily understood; the ellipsis of the same substantive is frequent, both in the Greek and Latin writers. See Wakefield.

Little ones - My apparently mean and generally despised disciples.

But a cup of water in the eastern countries was not a matter of small worth. In India, the Hindoos go sometimes a great way to fetch it, and then boil it that it may do the less hurt to travelers when they are hot; and, after that, they stand from morning to night in some great road, where there is neither pit nor rivulet, and offer it, in honor of their god, to be drunk by all passengers. This necessary work of charity, in these hot countries, seems to have been practised by the more pious and humane Jews; and our Lord assures them that, if they do this in his name, they shall not lose their reward. See the Asiatic Miscellany, vol. ii. p. 142.

Verily - he shall in no wise lose his reward - The rabbins have a similar saying: "He that gives food to one that studies in the law, God will bless him in this world, and give him a lot in the world to come." Syn. Sohar.

Love heightens the smallest actions, and gives a worth to them which they cannot possess without it. Under a just and merciful God every sin is either punished or pardoned, and every good action rewarded. The most indigent may exercise the works of mercy and charity; seeing even a cup of cold water, given in the name of Jesus, shall not lose its reward. How astonishing is God's kindness! It is not the rich merely whom he calls on to be charitable; but even the poor, and the most impoverished of the poor! God gives the power and inclination to be charitable, and then rewards the work which, it may be truly said, God himself hath wrought.

It is the name of Jesus that sanctifies every thing, and renders services, in themselves comparatively contemptible, of high worth in the sight of God. See Quesnel.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 40-42

He that receiveth you … - In all these three illustrations Christ meant to teach substantially the same thing - that he that would entertain kindly or treat with hospitality himself, his disciples, a prophet, or a righteous man, would show that he approved their character, and should not fail of proper reward. To receive in the “name” of a prophet is to receive “as” a prophet; to do proper honour to his character, and to evince attachment to the cause in which he was engaged.

Matthew 10:42

These little ones - By “these little ones” are clearly meant his disciples.

They are called “little ones” to denote their want of wealth, rank, learning, and whatever the world calls “great.” They were “little” in the estimation of the world and in their own estimation. They were “learners,” not yet “teachers;” and they made no pretensions to what attracts the admiration of mankind.

A cup of cold” water “only - Few would refuse a cup of cold water to any man, if thirsty and weary, and yet not all people would give it to such a one “because he was a Christian,” or to express attachment to the Lord Jesus. In bestowing it on a man “because he was a Christian,” he would show love to the Saviour himself; in the other case he would give it from mere sympathy or kindness, evincing no regard for the Christian, the Christian‘s Master, or his cause. In one case he would show that he loved the cause of religion; in the other case, he would not.

Remarks On Matthew 10:7-8. The apostles were to confer the highest favors on mankind without reward. Like air, and sunbeams, and water - gifts of God - they are without price. The poor are welcome; the rich, unaided by their wealth, are welcome also; the wide world may freely come and partake the rich blessings or the gospel of peace.

3. Ministers of the gospel, and all the followers of Jesus, should depend on the providence of God for support and the supply of their wants, Matthew 10:9-10. He sent his apostles into a cold, unfriendly world, and he took care of them. So none that trust Him shall lack. The righteous shall not be forsaken. The God who has in His hand all the pearls of the ocean, the gold in the heart of the earth, and the cattle on a thousand hills, and that feeds the raven when it cries, will hear the cries of His children and supply their needs.

4. We see the duty of treating kindly the messengers of salvation, Matthew 10:11-13. Christ expected that in every city and town they would find some who would welcome them. He promised the reward of a prophet to those who should receive a prophet, and assured those of his favor who had nothing better to bestow than even a cup of cold water. The ministers of religion are sent to benefit the world. It is but right that in that world they should be kindly received, and that their wants should be supplied.

5. The guilt of rejecting the gospel, Matthew 10:14-15. It is not a small matter to reject an offer of heaven. A palace, a throne, a rich earthly inheritance, might be rejected, and, compared with rejecting the gospel, it would be a trifle. But life eternal is not like thrones, and gold, and palaces. This lost, all is lost. The gospel rejected, all is gone. Nor hope nor happiness awaits him that hath spurned this offer. God requires everyone to believe the gospel; and woe, woe, a greater woe than befell guilty Sodom and Gomorrah, to him who rejects it.

6. Judgment will certainly overtake the guilty, Matthew 10:15. It fell upon Sodom, and it will fall on all transgressors. None shall escape. Damnation may slumber long over the wicked, and they may long mock the God of truth, but in due time their feet will slide, and the whole creation shall not be able to save them from woe. How dangerous, how awful is the condition of an impenitent sinner!

7. We are to take proper care of our lives, Matthew 10:23. The apostles were to flee from danger, when they could do it without denying their Lord. So are we. He that throws away his life when it might have been, and ought to have been preserved, is a self-murderer. He that exposes himself when duty does not require it, and whose life pays the forfeit, goes before God “rushing unbidden into his Maker‘s presence,” nor can he be held guiltless.

8. We are to persevere “in our duty” through all trials, Matthew 10:23. Neither the world, nor pain, nor poverty, nor persecution. nor death is to appal us. He that endures to the end shall be saved. We have but one thing to do - to do the will of God, to “be Christians everywhere,” and to leave the event with him.

9. God exercises a particular providence, Matthew 10:29-30. He watches the falling sparrow, numbers the hairs of the head, and for the same reason he presides over all other things. The Lord reigneth, says the Psalmist, let the earth rejoice, Psalm 97:1.

10. The duty of making a profession of religion, Matthew 10:32-33. It must be done in a proper way, or Christ will disown us in the day of judgment. It is impossible to neglect it, and have evidence of piety. If ashamed of him, he will be ashamed of us.

11. Religion is easy, and easily tested, Matthew 10:40-42. What more easy than to give a cup of water to a stranger, and what more easy than to know from what motive we do it! Yet how many are there who, while they would do the thing, would yet “lose eternal life” rather than do it with a view of honoring Christ or showing attachment to him! How dreadful is the opposition of the human heart to religion! How amazing that man will not do the slightest act to secure an interest in the kingdom of God!

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent's wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God's opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God's love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, Ac 20:27. Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God's people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ's disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.
Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 59.5

Christ was misunderstood by His brothers; for He was not like them. He worked to relieve every case of suffering that He saw, and He was always successful. He had little money to give, but He often gave His own humble food to those whom He thought more needy than Himself. His brothers felt that His influence went far to counteract theirs; for when they spoke harshly to poor, degraded souls with whom they came in contact, Christ sought these very ones, and spoke words of encouragement to them. If when in the family circle, He could do no more, He would as quietly and secretly as possible, give the wretched beings He was trying to help, the cup of cold water, and then place His own meal in their hands.—Manuscript 22, February 20, 1898, “Christ, the Great Missionary.” TDG 59.5

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 43.3

Christ suffered in the flesh.... He knew what it was to suffer keen pangs of hunger, and He has given special lessons in regard to feeding the hungry and caring for the needy poor, and has declared that in ministering to the needy we are ministering to Himself in the person of His saints. He says, “I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat” (Matthew 25:35). He knew the discomfort and suffering of thirst, and He declared that a cup of cold water given in His name to any of His disciples should not lose its reward.9 TMK 43.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 103

When you place the Lord first, and determine that His house shall no longer be dishonored by debt, God will bless you. Every week endeavor to lay aside something for this object, something in addition to your tithe money. Have a box for this purpose. Explain to your children that it is the self-denial box, in which you place every dollar and every penny that is not required for actual necessities. It is for the Lord's house, to lift the heaven-dishonoring debt from the place of worship. In making this offering, every member of the family will receive a blessing. 6T 103.1

God reads every thought. He notes every action. Everything done with sincere purpose for the advancement of His work will be blessed by Him. The two mites, the cup of cold water, presented in sympathy and love, will be made effective in doing good here and will bring a reward hereafter. 6T 103.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 229

I am deeply solicitous that our people should preserve the living testimony among them, and that the church should be kept pure from the unbelieving element. Can we conceive of a closer, more intimate relation to Christ than is set forth in the words: “I am the Vine, ye are the branches”? The fibers of the branch are almost identical with those of the vine. The communication of life, strength, and fruitfulness from the trunk to the branches is unobstructed and constant. The root sends its nourishment through the branch. Such is the true believer's relation to Christ. He abides in Christ and draws his nourishment from Him. 5T 229.1

This spiritual relation can be established only by the exercise of personal faith. This faith must express on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration. Our will must be wholly yielded to the divine will, our feelings, desires, interests, and honor identified with the prosperity of Christ's kingdom and the honor of His cause, we constantly receiving grace from Him, and Christ accepting gratitude from us. 5T 229.2

When this intimacy of connection and communion is formed, our sins are laid upon Christ; His righteousness is imputed to us. He was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. We have access to God through Him; we are accepted in the Beloved. Whoever by word of deed injures a believer thereby wounds Jesus. Whoever gives a cup of cold water to a disciple because he is a child of God will be regarded by Christ as giving to Him. 5T 229.3

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