What Jesus Said about Receiving Correction from Our Brethren: A Deep Look into Matthew 10:41-42

[It is always the general rule of thumb not to solely take the author’s word throughout the following study, but to pray and seek the face of Yahuah for one’s self, and let the Spirit lead you into all truth (John 16:13-15).]

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41 He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives 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.

Matthew 10:41-42 (KJVER)

Matthew 10:41-42 stands alone as the only time we see such a teaching of Jesus throughout all four Gospels. In context, the true spectrum of this lesson revolves around putting Christ first above all, most specifically in this instance, having the constraint and wisdom to walk in humility, even before our own brethren. The most underlining principle taught here though is actually previously expressed in Matthew 10:40, as Jesus states, He that receives you receives Me, and he that receives Me receives Him that sent me (KJVER).

Let’s examine the sayings of verses 41-42 a bit more closely than one would generally conceive: Through this study I’m confident you’ll find amazing insight and instruction into our Walk with the Lord — especially concerning the reception of correction and/or revelation and edification we either may or may not receive through our own brothers and sisters.

Though it is my opinion, through the way I read the text, I feel this teaching of Jesus is more focused on the subject of correction, and thee ability to receive a Word from the Lord, despite whether it may not want to be heard.

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Assumption (Testament) of Mosesxx

Matthew 10:41

Jesus says in Matthew 10:41a, He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward;What exactly does He mean by this?

Considering the context of the passage, it’s apparent Jesus is saying, if there’s one who is already an established or appointed prophet, and is wise enough to not let pride get in the way, and receives a Word given by another fellow prophet (likely the subject’s junior), our prophetic subject would receive a prophet’s reward in the Judgement. 

Continuing on into Matthew 10:41b, it’s obvious the same principle applies, and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward (KJVER). Of course we can discern through the scriptures, a righteous man is likely one – either male or female — brethren of the Body of Christ. Consider Psalm 1:5-6 for example.

Matthew 10:42

Matthew 10:42 I feel confirms the lesson being taught in the previous verse, is of one receiving correction, and/or revelation, edification (etc.) from a brethren of another’s junior. But before we cover that, let’s dive into the verse as a whole in its full context:

Matthew 10:42 reads, And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily, I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward (KJVER).

Though this verse states one of these little ones, it needs to be understood this by no means means this is a reference to the above point being proclaimed of receiving a Word from a brethren from one’s junior. To clarify the possible confusion, recall Jesus’ words in Luke 18:17 for example, Verily I say to you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein (KJVER). According to our Lord, we are ALL little ones as the scripture proclaims; and when meditating on Matthew 10:41-42 in context as this article will show, this is absolutely verified, and thus makes sense [cross reference Mark 9:41].

What Exactly is a Cup of Cold Water?

Continuing to crawl through Matthew 10:42, let it be understood, popular conceptions of this verse hastily depict the image of a cup of cold water to be one of a refreshing act of charity and love. Yet when considering what this verse is truly saying, it’s safe to say this is anything but the case. —So what exactly is this cup of cold water?


Jacob’s Well at what is thought to be the site of biblical Shechem.

Those familiar with their Bibles likely understand water is symbolic of the Word of God. Consider John 4 for example, as Jesus talks with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well, 13 Je’sus answered and said to her, Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13-14 KJVER). For those who don’t understand the concept, consider how throughout the Books of the Prophets, the term Jacob (being the father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel) can be discerned in representing humanity as a whole; rooted through the seed of Abraham. So what Jesus is saying in John 4:13-14 at Jacob’s Well, are those who drink from the scriptures through the conceptions of Man will thirst again, and thus are not properly understood or are even incomplete; but those who receive the lens of the scriptures seeing Jesus as the key all-throughout, will never thirst — as this is precisely what we find to be the case in our Bibles!; as the infinite wisdom and understanding Christ brings to us through our scriptures never ends [Matthew 24:35]. We also see this confirmed throughout the Gospel of John, Chapter 1 [discern Proverbs 8]; most blatantly in John 1:14, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (KJVER). 

This staple principle of biblical understanding is not only clearly stated in the apocryphal Shepherd of Hermas, Book 1, Vision 3:42, but gives insight why this metaphor of water is thus so: Here therefore why the tower is built upon the water: because your life is and shall be saved by water. For it is founded by the Word of the Almighty and Honorable Name, and is supported by the invisible power and virtue of God.

Getting back to the cup of cold water of Matthew 10:42: It’s interesting when looking into the Greek, it can be understood that the word psuchros ψυχρός used for cold isn’t necessarily intended to be literal — being that of temperature — but figurative as well. Though you may not find this interpretation so blatantly in the concordance (as it’s defined through its only other uses in Revelation 3:15 and 16), as we consider and discern the full context of the parabolic passage of Matthew 10:40-42, the pieces do indeed begin to undeniably come together; thus revealing the likelihood of the deeper, true meaning behind these words spoken by Messiah Himself. 

So what is Matthew 10:42 truly saying?

And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily, I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward

Matthew 10:42 (KJVER)

I believe what we’ve already established through the context of Matthew 10:40-42, absolutely confirms, And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple…, is truly speaking of, a Word given of correction (and/or revelation, edification, etc.) by means of the Holy Spirit and/or knowledge of the Inspired scriptures (i.e. a cup of cold water: a cold hard truth we may not want to hear sourced from the Word of God).

As also previously established, it’s interesting how Jesus says, to one of these little ones — though in context this is specifically referring to an already seasoned member of the Body of Christ; reminding us we are all but little ones through the eyes of the Kingdom [again, see Mark 9:41 and Luke 18:17]. This is confirmed through the careful words Jesus closes this passage with, only in the name of a disciple; meaning the brother or sister giving the Word, is to have the humility not to forget they are still in a position (perhaps of their junior) to revere the brethren they are correcting. Meditate on the concept of Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21 for example, In that hour Je’sus rejoiced in Spirit, and said, I Thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed to babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight (Luke 10:21 KJVER).

Of course Matthew 10:41 closes with, verily, I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. This of course is referencing the reward we receive at the coming of the Son of Man for the Judgement [Matthew 16:27]. It should be noted how the KJV/KJVER (i.e. the 1611 King James without the Old English) seems to really hit the nail on the head in this section, compared to other translations – even the NKJV!, in that it translates in no wise, confirming the next section of this article, which will cover how those who apply such practices are indeed wise.

And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily, I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward

Matthew 10:42 (KJVER)

Is This Interpretation Really Correct?

Cold water (1)

Like much of Jesus’ teachings, we can find what is being interpreted here backed up overwhelmingly throughout the Book of Proverbs — the one book in our Bibles that cornerstones the whole of our entire 66 book canon. If this interpretation was not correct, this would not be so. So let’s examine:

We begin to see the construct of Matthew 10:40-42 fully take form within Proverbs 3:11-18; most specifically focusing on verses 11-13, 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights. 13 Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding (KJVER)Jesus’ teaching begins to reflect it’s true colors when also considering the passages of Proverbs 9:6-10; especially focusing on verses 8-9, 8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate you: rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will love you (KJVER).

Also take note of Proverbs 15:31-32, 31 The ear that hears the reproof of life abides among the wise. 32 He that refuses instruction despises his own soul: but he that hears reproof gets understanding (KJVER).

If the reader feels this is just cherry-picking and connecting scriptures to support an individual idea, below is a long — mind you, but not exhaustive! — list of cross references in the Book of Proverbs to consider, meditate on, and use to connect dots of biblical truth. Remember, after all, Jesus was the Word as John Chapter 1 teaches us:

Proverbs 1:5
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
Proverbs 2:6

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Proverbs 13:10
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
Proverbs 13:18
Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
Proverbs 13:20
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Proverbs 15:5
A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
Proverbs 15:33
The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
Proverbs 19:20
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
Proverbs 25:12
As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
Proverbs 27:5-6
Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 28:23
He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
Proverbs 28:25-26
25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.
26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

The Conclusion of the Whole Matter

27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in His presence.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (KJVER)

We find a comparable circumstance in our Bibles through the story of Gideon [Judges 6-8]: An under confident man, called to lead an over confident army: “Please, Lord, ”Gideon asked, “how can I deliver Israel? Indeed, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house [Judges 6:15 BSB].” Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 10:40-42 is reminding us that the Lord can use even a babe in Christ to correct or even lead ones of their senior — whether it be through a prophet or out of a matter of righteousness; warning us to still maintain our humility in our Walk — though it may be seasoned — with the Him. On the flipside, Jesus does not fail to teach the babe must still not forget to revere their elders! It’s interesting how we also see this lesson in the story of John the Baptist through his forerunning relationship with Christ, 29 The next day John sees Je’sus coming to him, and says, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me comes a Man which is preferred before me: for he was before me (John 1:29-30 KJVER). 14 But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of You, and come You to me? 15 And Je’sus answering said to him, Allow [suffer] it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he allowed [suffered] Him (Matthew 3:14-15 KJVER).

Through the examples of these parallels found within our Bibles, the likelihood of the interpretation being conveyed in this study to be correct becomes yet even more apparent in this seemingly misunderstood passage from the Gospel of Matthew. Let us walk in wisdom and humility — in ever-reverence and respect for one another — so we not suffer loss in the time of the coming Judgement!

14 If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1 Corinthians 3:14-15 (KJVER)

Thank you for taking the time to read this study. I pray it serves as a blessing, and edification to Body of Christ!

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