Today we are reading from Mark 10: 28-31:
28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Yesterday we saw Jesus tell His followers the real challenge with possessions and faithfulness. We talked about the thought, what if Jesus was serious when He told the rich young man to see everything and follow Him. What if He was serious about that? What if He really wants us to leave everything and follow Him?
That’s hard for us to think about, imagine how it must have felt for the disciples. That’s what we see today, we see Peter wrestling with this. He is thinking, man, if this person with all these resources, with all of this stuff, if they have a tough time getting in, what about the rest of us?
He says we’ve left it all! What do we have? You can almost feel the panic set in.
Jesus says, all that you’ve given up, possessions, family, friends, all of this, you will receive blessings and eternal life. The first will be last, and the last shall be first.
We don’t want to come in last place. This world tells us to be a winner. This world tells us to win at any price. There was even the like from that movie, “if you ain’t first, you’re last.” That is how the world lives, that is how we are conditioned to live.
Jesus says, the first, they may be last. But the last, the shall be first. Following Jesus is not always a path to earthly success. Turning the other cheek, forgiving your enemies, those can be really bad business or political game plans. How will we win?
The goal is not to “win.” The goal is to be faithful. If we are in last place in the eyes of the world, but faithful to the cause of Christ, then we are winning. That is what Jesus is trying to get them to see. The rich young man, who walked away, he made a sound financial decision for the world. But spiritually it was the wrong call.
What matters, above everything, everything, everything else, is our faithfulness to Jesus. That’s what matters. And even in the world things we are in last place because of that, in truth, we have “won.” Because we have gained life, in this age, as well as the next.
As CS Lewis says, “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”
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