Even A Cup of Cold Water
(Preacher ― Bill Davey, Elder ― Information sourced from the websites: “Meditation for Christians” and “Association of Hebrew Catholics in New Zealand”)
New International Version (NIV)
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
In this message I hope we can capture something of the teaching style of our Lord, as He prepared His disciples for mission and ministry.
To his disciples Jesus was a rabbi who taught in a Jewish context and one who expected his disciples to grapple and wrestle with the ideas He presented to them.
His study methods also included the disciplines of reflection and meditation ― All are part of their (and our) Jewish heritage and inheritance (Our patrimony).
First: We will review the Lord’s straight talk about relationships and then the likely rewards of faithful service.
Secondly: I accept that we might well struggle to understand some of the teaching of Jesus, until we have had the chance to ponder the issues further.
Thirdly: I hope we will discover something of the profound ideas Jesus has expressed within these Scriptures:
• He who receives you receives me ….. me receives the one who sent me!
• Receiving even a cup of cold water can be a ministry!
“Even A Cup of Cold Water”
St. Matthew 10: 37 ― 42 New International Version
We are in rabbinic school, and this is how Jesus, our tutor presents His doctrine. He does not open with words such as:
“Gentlemen, today we will consider aspects of natural and supernatural life.”
In the tradition of the culture, He opens with a stunning quandary — and, yes, the disciples would have shrunk back, just as we might.
Now let us review inclusive language of A/v 1 and 3 — “Anyone”, ” Whoever” and “He who” ―
Now return to A/v 1
Now, in three verses, Jesus makes three points in an ascending order of hardship to emphasise the phrase, “for my sake”.
37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Now, in three verses, Jesus makes three points in descending sequence of reward.
40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.
41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
These six verses of Scripture really belong together ― They cause me to examine my commitment and motives before the Lord, both within the context of my own family, and also within the wider family of the Household of God.
They have application for all Christians and I suspect Jesus uses them as basic training for all of His disciples. They appear to be standards for every disciple who wants a truly close relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lord.
In addition, in the second cluster of verses, please note use of the words: “I tell you the truth.” (Verily, verily I say unto you” or “Truly, truly I tell you.” ― these are matters of great moment.)
However the consoling, underlying message is that anyone can qualify — it is a matter of personal choice. There are no exclusions! The love of God can therefore be spread to the utmost end of the earth by those whom He uses.
Verses 37 ― 39 ― Relate to the motives of the believer
First: Jesus requires His disciples to love their parents and family no less than totally, but they are to love Him even more. He is here calling them into a very special relationship, which they must be entirely free to enter into. Love for Him will not diminish legitimate God-given love for family.
Secondly: The follower must be ready to share in the fate of Jesus, to be persecuted and to die. This is the first mention (in this Gospel) of crucifixion. Only by coming to terms with this very real possibility of cruel and torturous execution, could the disciple be free to proclaim the message of Jesus.
Thirdly: The follower will spend the rest of his life exploring and implementing the strange paradox of gaining and losing life.
Verses 40 ― 42 ― Challenges on the Mission Field
First: Those who receive the Messiah’s representatives, the Disciples, (and then those whom they subsequently appoint and authorise), receive Him, and with Him, His Father. They receive God! Their commission is thus a very solemn one — and is addressed equally to us.
Secondly: Those who receive the Apostles because they recognise them to be prophets (the word here means teachers), righteous men and disciples of the Lord, will receive the same reward as did they, namely eternal life.
Thirdly: Even those who help the disciples down through the ages on their mission, by offering only a cup of cold water (the smallest possible action) as they journey, will be rewarded. All are thus joined, in some way, to the outreach of the Lord, not actually because they merited it ― but because the Lord chooses to respond in graciousness.
A thought for Reflection
When, as followers of Jesus, we make this commitment to Him, the most amazing blessings follow. We become not just members of the Household of God; we also become bearers of Him to any who will receive us — We are empowered to help lead home the lost sheep of this world by simply receiving any kindness — let alone giving any — We are to be praying in our hearts, a blessing upon the people we meet.
Can we imagine a higher status than to be a God-bearer?
These readings represent a formal rabbinic “lesson plan” for the disciples, easily committed to memory, and providing a treasury of our Lord’s deepest thoughts.
We are left challenged by the question: “Can we really believe each of the points He makes?”
We have to question of ourselves — that is part of the purpose of the passage.
This Messiah certainly gives some very focused attention ― to be sure we understand Him!
Our Rabbi Yeshua asks us to follow in His footsteps, and promises
that if we do so, He will walk in ours, with us, to the farthest ends of the earth.