March 23, 2020 – Monday
Mark 10:29-31 NIV
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel
30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
These verses above conclude Jesus teaching on The Rich and the Kingdom of God starting with verse seventeen. In these verse a man asks Jesus what he has to do to inherit eternal life. At the end Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” (v21) That’s when the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. (v22) Sad because he did not own his wealth, but his wealth owned him.
This led Jesus to say “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (v23) And when the disciples reacted in amazement at His words He added “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (v24-25) This left the disciples even more amazed wondering who could then be saved which led to Jesus looking at them and saying “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (v27)
This resulted in Peter saying, likely in great consternation, “We have left everything to follow you!” And they had, unlike the young rich man, they had left jobs, security, family, and eagerly followed Jesus and were now hearing from Jesus they may not, in their understanding, be able to enter the Kingdom of God. That is when Jesus replied with the verses we have for today which were to reassure Peter and the disciples as well as those who would follow them, including us.
So what did Jesus say in those verses above? First and foremost, whatever was given up to honor and follow Jesus will be returned a hundred times over, in addition to eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Peter Pett notes As some travelled the world in His name they would share many houses which they could for a time call home, they would find many brothers and sisters and mothers (but not ‘many fathers’ – they had one Father, even God), and they would often benefit from land as necessary in His service. But the solemn note was then added, ‘with persecution’. Life was not promised to be rosy, only fulfilling. And finally the greatest promise of all, ‘in the world to come eternal life’. This does not have in mind any kingdom age. It looks to the everlasting glory with God in eternity. And then the following where these verses imply those who serve Jesus Christ may have to leave all they love and treasure in order to serve Him and spread the Good News of the Kingly Rule of God. He demands everything from His people. The sacrifice might be great. They might be called to leave their families to the care of the wider family, either physical or spiritual. They might be called to leave wealth and relationships, such as they had, behind. They might be called to give up all that men treasure, for Him. The willingness for this is what Christ expects of all who follow Him.
Knowing this is what Jesus expects and persecution might be in the cards as well, why would anyone chose to follow Jesus? Because of the promise of the avoidance of hell and the promise of eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Or as Pett said, Eternal life, salvation, enjoying the eternal Kingly Rule of God, would be theirs. That life to come after the resurrection, that life of fullness in the presence of God, was the final certainty that He guaranteed to those who truly followed Him. So to truly know Him was to have life.
Then who would be first and who would be last? Jesus said But many who are first will be last, and the last first. But what did He mean? I don’t know, but suspect He will be looking at each person’s heart to determine where they would be in the line for rewards. Simply rushing in to be first will not be enough, He will look at our hearts to see who will be first and who will be last.
Let our hearts be focused on Him as we seek to do His and His Father’s will.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton