The Prophet's Reward

He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, but what is "a prophet's reward?"

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

In the days of the apostles, Jewish families considered it a great privilege to be able to host a priest, a teacher, or a rabbi in their home. By providing hospitality to the servants of God, one could hope for some commensurate blessing from God.

Along that same line of thought, Yeshua said that anyone “who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew 10:41). This saying reflects a common idiom from Rabbinic Hebrew which could better be translated, “He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.” Likewise, “He who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man receives the reward of a righteous man” (Matthew 10:42). That is not to say that hosting a prophet or righteous man will earn a person the reward due to the prophet or the righteous man. Rather, it will earn the gratitude of God’s servant, and God’s servant will bestow a reward in the form of a spiritual blessing. With these words, the Master alluded to the story of Elisha the prophet and the Shunnamite woman. A childless woman from Shunem hosted the prophet Elisha in her home. As a reward for her hospitality, Elisha bestowed a blessing upon her, granting her a son (2 Kings 4).

The reward due for hosting one of the Master’s disciples extends even to the simple act of giving a cup of water to one of the least of His disciples: “Whoever in the name of a disciple [i.e., because he is a disciple] gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). In this context, the term "little ones" does not refer to children, it refers to young, novice disciples of a lowly station. To put it simply: "One who performs even the smallest act of kindness for one of the least significant of Yeshua’s disciples will receive a reward from heaven."

Among the rewards that a person could expect for hosting the apostles was their blessing of “shalom.” The Hebrew word “shalom” refers to more than just peace. It also implies wholeness, general well-being, adequate resources, and good health. By placing his “shalom” upon the household, the disciple of Yeshua offered his host a powerful blessing: the disciple's reward.

Today the apostles are no longer among us, but we can still receive and host disciples of the Master who labor and minister for the kingdom.

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