The Prophet’s Reward!

The Prophet’s Reward!

Matthew 10:41 reads: “He who receives a prophet in {the} name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”

What is the Prophet’s Reward and what exactly will we receive for receiving the prophet in this life?

The Greek in this passage reveals some interesting clues. In Matt. 10:40 as a part of this passage tells of Jesus instructing his disciples, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” Clearly Jesus is explaining to the disciples that those who come on behalf of another honor not only the person they receive but also the person who sent them. In this case, Jesus explains that receiving the disciples is important because those that do, will be doing so also on behalf of Jesus who sent them. It’s an show of honor to the “sender,” in this case, an indirect honor to Jesus. The same is true of receiving the prophet. If a prophet is serving God, is not the sender equally God himself? Of course, the prophet comes to testify of Jesus therefore, receiving the prophet in this passage is likewise closely associated with receiving Jesus who sent the prophet in the first place, and the church would be wise to receive Jesus into the church in a fuller way.

Matthew 10:41 uses the Greek word dechomai for “receive,” which means to take hold of something with the hand, or lay hold of any person or thing in order to use it. It is not passive at all but directly proactive. A starving man who suddenly finds himself “receiving” a banquet does not sit and wait for the food to jump into his mouth, does he? At the mere mention of the gift, he receives it by taking hold of the food and eating it. He boldly and aggressively takes it for himself for he is starving!

This is the Lord’s intention for us with the spiritual gifts. We are not to receive the prophet and the prophetic like it’s something to be feared, but as an instrument of God boldly taken hold of and used. First Corinthians 14:1 reads “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual {gifts,} but especially that you may prophesy.” If we do not use the prophetic, we do not lay hold of it and the reward that comes with the prophet may only be deferred. And to do something with anything less than an “earnest desire” is to do so without passion, without zeal or without a burning pursuit.

I have often said that any gift given is just that, a gift given. That doesn’t mean it is received. To receive a gift, I must take hold of it. I must unwrap the gift and use it and keep it as my own. If all I do is put the gift on the table in front of me, I have not received the gift and it does me no good at all. I must choose to receive the gift and put it to good use. Otherwise, the gift is worthless.

Do you use the prophetic and other spiritual gifts or are they relics that sit on your shelf collecting dust? Spiritual gifts must be received in order to be useful. A shovel digs no holes on its own without a receiver taking the shovel as his own and using it to perform a task. We each should literally proclaim out loud to the Lord that we choose to receive his gifts and take them as our own and then begin to use them. Any parent can certainly identify with the picture of a small child trying to do something that is beyond their means. Take the task of vacuuming for instance. A 2-year old will struggle if the instrument of their task is too heavy for them to move or use properly. The imagery of this is tender and yet, in God’s kingdom, even if the gift is too big for us, he doesn’t take the tool out of our hand, he lets us use it anyway and allows us to grow into its intended purpose and power. But first we must try!

I believe that Jesus taught us to receive the prophet knowing 1) That there was great blessing to be had because of the prophet, and 2) That faith would be required to press through knowing that a number of false prophets existed at the time. In fact, there still is a number of false prophets today. And instead of joining with what God is doing, we see some in the church preaching that fear is a paralyzing force in our lives, and yet, they demonstrate the same fearful attitudes toward the prophetic – resulting in a quenching of the spirit (out of FEAR), that something might go wrong with it.

Fear overwhelms the gifts and instead quenches the spirit right out of our lives and of our church. And for prophetic people, this is tragic. Pain from being misunderstood or different is born out of that fear. Interestingly enough, when Jesus spoke of rejection, it wasn’t the gift of the apostle, pastor, teacher or evangelist that he used to illustrate his meaning – it was the prophetic and specifically the prophet as being the gift most closely associated with rejection (Mark 6:4). Of course it’s only human nature to fear the unknown. But we’re the body of Christ. We’re over-comers! We’re not supposed to fear the prophetic but to test it and lay hold of (receive) what is good. First Thessalonians 5:19-21 reads “Do not quench the spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything {carefully;} hold fast to that which is good.”

If the prophet is speaking for the edification of the body of believers, that is good. We should receive that without restraint. And if that prophet should ever say something this is not from God, let other prophets stand in judgment of his words and correct it accordingly (1 Cor. 14:29) instead of cutting off the flow either partially or entirely. Judgment by the prophets is not supposed to be to stand in judgment of the prophet himself, but the prophet’s word. People often confuse the judgment verse in 1 Corinthians 14 with the judgment verses for prophets in the Old Testament. They are not the same. The false prohets that came in the Old Testament came to testify of a false spirit. If the prophet today comes testifiying of Jesus, but gets it wrong, it’s okay because we live under grace not the law. In those situation, we lovingly correct when words do not witness to us. This is God’s order for the prophetic and how it should be used and managed. It’s not to be feared or judged any differently than anything the pastor or teacher brings each week to the body.

Surely the church should discern that the prophet is a man of God, but no more than a pastor or teacher. The judgments should be the same and regardless of the position or office. We should always look for evidence of authenticity that they are real (know them by their fruit) but after that, we need to get onto the business of receiving them by faith. What position a person with any gifting holds in a church depends on their level of gifting. For example, it’s one thing to be prophetic, and another to operate in the gifting and yet again another thing be in the office of the prophetic. What is God saying about the prophet, pastor, teacher and so on? What do others say? Has the Lord confirmed the person in some way? Does he have a calling and/or prophetic words of his own confirming his anointing and place? These are tough questions that should not only be asked of a prophet, but of all leaders, and particularly those we put into the highest positions of responsibility – the Office of the Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist and Pastor.

While all positions of leadership bring responsibility, so too do blessings also come. Prophets of the New Covenant bring the heart of God to the church. They build up and edify for 1 Cor. 14:3 reads “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” NKJV reads “It is for the purpose of building up the body of Christ.” The NIV reads that prophecy is for “strengthening, encouragement, and comfort.” Do these sound like rewards to you? They do to me even though, I don’t believe they are the actual rewards that God intended. I believe God knew that something extra in the way of faith would be required to truly receive the prophet and he rewarded that faith accordingly with what he called the “prophet’s reward.” Nevertheless, whether rewards come corporately to the body or to the individual, edification is good and goodness is from God.

So why was Jesus telling the disciples that whoever receives the prophet, receives the prophet’s reward? The majority of the passage in Matt. 10 speaks to the idea of position for the disciples among men, but also with perspective to their place before God. The prophets that Jesus speaks to in verse 41 may in fact refer to the disciples under the prophet’s anointing. Knowing this, Jesus would be instructing his disciples that a reward should follow for those who receive them. Surely there were prophets among the disciples. The reward is literally applied to those who receive them in this case. As I stated previously, I think there are aspects of the gifting that intrinsically are blessings and rewards coming out of the gifting as they are used to edify the church. Knowing this prophets should make a point to bless those who receive them (for the act of receiving them) and declare that God do so in an outrageous fashion so they receive a full measure of blessing no matter how God chooses to pour that blessing onto that body of believers.

In all the word “reward” is used 29 times in the New Testament and among the meanings closely applied to it are wages, pay, rewards, a price, or dues paid for work done. However, while in all cases the Greek word is the same, it is interpreted slightly different depending on the context. In a half dozen or so cases, the word refers to directly receiving pay for something done – but that is not how it is used in Matt. 10:41. In most cases the word is interpreted as a reward for a good deed and that reward can come in any number of ways.

Our instructions are clear though when reading and studying this passage. Honor and receive the prophet and you honor and receive the one who sent him. If you have done that, you will receive the Prophet’s Reward. Begin to pray that reward through as it is a promise from God. Hopefully for all churches, that person is always God rather than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. To know for sure, listen to the Lord. Use your gifts of discernment and if the prophet testifies of Jesus, then he is a true prophet. When he is, scripture is clear, blessings are sure to follow in whatever form they come.

13 thoughts on “The Prophet’s Reward!

  1. I’ve heard and read where some pastors don’t think the office of the prophet even exists in the new covenant. Their doctrine boggles my mind. I personally know and am friends with three of them.

  2. Thanks so much for writing.
    Yes, this is actually quite common. If you look up info on Calvinists, you see there are sincere people who want to follow God, but believe the great gifts are no longer active today. Many Baptists also believe that the gifts died off long ago. I’m still waiting for scipture that supports those beliefs. Blessings.

  3. Their are several scriptures that apply to some questions about spiritual gifts and offices in the church for today.

    The bible says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
    God who was Jesus Christ in the flesh also known as Emanuel which means God with us which I repeat refers to Jesus the Christ.

    God also tells us that he changes not and I repeat that he changes not.

    The word says God gives us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the (perfecting, teaching or instructing) in righteousness of the saints. I repeat all of them for perfecting us His saints through Christ Jesus our Lord.

    So if we still have evangelists, pastors and teachers, how can we deny that we must still have prophets and apostles and that they are still with us even today.

    Apostle just means sent one and a prophet means a for-teller, forerunner or for-see-er. Same as one who sees ahead of the rest of us in announcing things that is coming to pass shortly or in the for see-able future.. That God has already been hinting or preparing us for.

    Let common sense rule by the power of the Holy Spirit our greatest teacher in all things.

    Jesus said we must become like these little ones when referring to his disciple not to forbid little children that wanted to come to him.

    Just believe God’s word like a little child believes it’s parents every word when their infants..

    It really isn’t rocket science just plain truth that it is so simple people want to make it more complex than it really is.

  4. when I checked, Matthew 10:41 for receive is not lambano but decomai. I think the better understanding of decomai is “welcome”.
    I also make those typo’s often enough when making Bible studies.
    Thank you for the article.
    In Christ,
    Ed

  5. You are correct. The reference for Lambano was immediately below decomai with reference to part that reads “shall [receive] the prophet’s reward” part of the scripture. I have corrected. Thanks and good catch! And thanks for reading.

  6. What about the other part that says ” whoever receives the righteous man in the name of the righteous man shall receive the reward of the righteous man?”

  7. What about it? To me they are the same principle, one dealing with righteousness and one with prophecy. It comes down to the overflow of anointing that people bring to the body if we’ll have them.

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