“…I tell you the truth…” Matthew 10:42
The Lord was uncompromising when it came to His identity and Lordship. As the disciples listened, they heard Jesus declare that anyone who loved his/her father or mother, son or daughter, more than Him was not worthy of Him (His gift of eternal life, as He is the door to Heaven). Jesus was and remains a divisive person… not for the sake of separating family and friends, but for the sake of God’s eternal kingdom of holiness and righteousness. He is the dividing line between: Heaven and earth (vv. 32-34); the fellowship of the saints and the relationships of the world (vv. 35-37); those who know the hope of Heaven and those who will be turned away from Heaven (vv. 38-39). The divisiveness of Christ distinguishes between religion and relationships, between the secular and sacred, and between this temporal world and the eternal security and joy of Heaven.
There comes a time when each must choose between Jesus and the world. For some, this decision is made at an early age; while for others, the decision is made after living a life in bondage to sin. In either case, God searches throughout the earth to call hearts to Himself. At its core, the divide will be seen in eternity between those who are saved from the judgment of hell and those who will face destruction in hell – those who are saved, and those who are lost. In 1912, after the Titanic sank, the Cunard Cruise Line in New York City developed a double-columned list of the ship’s passengers. The headings for the columns were: “saved” and “lost”. Social standing, education, wealth, philanthropy, military rank, and athletic prowess served no benefit, and were not pertinent to the development of the list. In the end, it was only about those who survived and those who died. In Heaven, it will come down to those who Believed in Christ (the saved) and those who rejected Him (the lost)… it really is that simple.
Jesus also spoke for the first time about the cross:
“…and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (vv.38-39)
Though the disciples could not have imagined what Jesus was referring to concerning His own death, it is the most definitive description of true discipleship to Christ found in scripture. We struggle with living between the competing allegiances of the secular and the sacred… the temporal and the eternal.
The Master-Teacher concluded the heavenly lecture with these words:
“He who receives you, receives me, and he who receives me, receives The One Who sent me. 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. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, ITYTT, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (vv. 37-42)
The eternal truths found in this scriptural passage are Jesus’ identification with both The Father and His disciples (vv. 40 & 42). God, The Father, and God, The Son, are eternally entwined with God, The Spirit, as one. We may never understand this dynamic, though we will be forever growing as God reveals more about Himself through eternity. Jesus committed Himself to be fully present in the lives of His disciples when He commissioned the disciples and those gathered with them prior to His ascension (Read Matthew 28:16-20).
Jesus used history from the sacred texts to clarify His point of Heaven’s reward:
When He mentioned one receiving a prophet’s reward for receiving a prophet, most Jews would quickly identify the story of the widow who received Elijah. She was rewarded with enough oil and food to sustain she, her son, and Elijah the entire time of the prophet’s stay (1 Kings 17:7-16);
When He described one receiving a righteous man’s reward for receiving a righteous man, most Hebrews could easily recall the story of Abraham’s chief servant who was commissioned to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son, and of Rebecca and her family who received him well, and were richly rewarded (Genesis 24).
A third eternal truth, then, is that there will be rewards in Heaven! And they will be perpetuated by God’s grace and goodness! We will not lose the reward… it will be protected as an eternal right to The Redeemed in Christ!
May that thought bless you this day!