Monday, June 25, 2018

Matthew - Rewards and Promises

In today's study from Matthew 10:40-11:11, our Lord wraps up his commissioning of the Twelve by telling them their reward for taking the message of the kingdom, the reward of those who received their message, and his response to John the Baptist about him truly being the one that was promised to come.

Receiving the Lord Jesus
v.40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Now Jesus promises them that whoever receives them, it was the equivalent of receiving Him. In other words, anyone that receives a disciple of the Lord receives the Lord Himself.

Promise for Those Who Receive Them
vv.41-42 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.  (42)  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.

There are three rewards that are mentioned for those who received one of the Lord’s disciples.

1. Prophet’s Reward
The Shunammite in 2 Kings 4:8-17 cared for the prophet Elijah and was rewarded with a baby. The Widow in 1 Kings 17:8-16 helped Elijah and her life was saved from starvation.

2. Righteous Man’s Reward
In 2 Sam. 17:27-29, Barzilai received David in exile and was rewarded with the offer to live with him for the rest of his life (2 Sam 19:33). Rahab received righteous men and survived the fall of Jericho.

3. Disciples Reward
This reward is for those who took care of the disciples (cf. Mat 25:34-40).

Chapter 11

John the Baptist
vv.1-3 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. (2) Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, (3) And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

We know that John had been imprisoned by Herod (Matt. 14:1-5).

Now, he is doubting if it was all worth it. He had grave concerns as to whether the Lord Jesus was who he believed He was. That’s hard to believe because he was the one who had introduced the Lord Jesus and baptized Him. But, after a little time in prison, John began to doubt whether Jesus was really the Messiah. So, he sent two of his disciples to make sure.

Doubts Dispelled
vv.4-5 Jesus answered and said unto them,  Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: (5) The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

To dispel John’s doubts, Jesus sent word back pointing to the miracles as proof of who he actually was. He did this by referring to Old Testament Scriptures that he knew John also knew.

Isa 35:5-6 “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. (6) Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.”

I find it interesting that Jesus didn’t just say, “Trust me”, instead he pointed to the Scriptures. We too need to go to the Scriptures like the Bereans did in Act 17:11 where it is said of them Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

v.6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Notice that the Lord encouraged John to not be offended because of Him. Why would John have been offended at Him? The word “offended” literally means “displeased”. It would have been very easy for John to have said, “Hey, if you can heal the blind, why can’t you get me out of jail!” We too get offended at the Lord because he does not do what we expect as well.

The Lord’s Questions
v.7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

Now Jesus asks the multitude a question, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see; a reed shaken in the wind? Now, bear in mind, that this is a rhetorical question. Jesus often use this as a means of soliciting a response. He was asking the questions to get them to think!

The answer was obviously that they went out to hear his powerful preaching. They didn’t go out to hear a “reed shaking in the wind” instead they went out to see the “wind that was shaking the reed!” John’s preaching was very pointed a powerful.

In the house of John Knox, in Edinburgh, there is a sentence of his hung upon the walls, which speaks so well of the steady strength of that hero's life, and reveals also the source where he got his strength. "From Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other inspired writers, I have learned to call a spade a spade, and a fig a fig." This is why King Herod and his new wife had an issue with him. So, much so that she asked for his head on a platter. He spoke the truth. So, too, we need to be people that speak the truth.

Sadly, we live in a culture that so afraid of the truth that they have redefined it to mean anything that they want it to. That’s garbage. Jesus said that he was the way, the truth, and the life. One of the biggest schemes that he Devil has perpetrated on modern society is the denial of absolute truth.

I had a young college kid tell me one time that he didn’t believe there was such a thing as absolute truth anymore. I asked him if he was absolutely sure of that!

Soft Raiment
v.8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.

Jesus asks another question, “Did you go out to see a man in soft clothing?” Barnes says that “the kind of raiment here denoted was the light, thin clothing worn by effeminate persons.  The kind of clothing that was emblematic of riches, splendor, effeminacy, feebleness of character.” No.  Jesus is saying that they knew full well who they were going out to see. John was man! He was all man. He wore camel’s hair and gnawed on grasshoppers. He was telling them that they did not go out to hear a “wuss” in the wilderness, but a man who spoke truth.

Prophet & Messenger
vv.9-11 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.  (10)  For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  (11)  Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

They went out to hear a prophet of God. Jesus goes on to say that he was more than just a prophet. He was the “messenger” that was foretold at the very close of the Old Testament Scriptures in Malachi 3:1 where it says,  “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.

I also find it interesting that this verse is quoted of John the Baptist at least three times in the New Testament. However, never is the second part quoted (Mal. 3:1b). Why?  - Because they were not seeking the Lord and rejected him so that he could not “come into his temple.” John the Baptist could have ushered in the Kingdom of Heaven had they responded appropriately. Instead, they killed the messenger and the King.

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