on Matthew 10 :42
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.
on 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
1. From the narrative in this chapter, in connection with that in Luke, we are permitted to see the Saviour's habits in regard to prayer. An important event was before him; an event on which, humanly speaking, depended the whole success of his religion - the choice of those who should be his messengers to mankind. He felt its importance; and even the Son of God sought the place of prayer, and during the nightwatches asked the direction of his Father. His example shows that we, in great and trying circumstances, should seek particularly the direction of God.
2. We see the benevolence of the gospel, 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.
on Matthew 10 :42
10:42 One of these little ones - The very least Christian. Mark 9:41.