2. The Promise of Blessing
While people encounter loss if they follow Jesus, Mark 10:29-31 promises abundant gain.
“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 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. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (NIV translation).
From his birth until his death, Jesus did and said things that challenged people. Many times, he offended them. Some people face the painful choice of giving up a relationship with a beloved parent or sibling to follow Jesus. Yet Jesus offers a life of blessing for those who pursue him.
Jesus made it clear. He was not nor will he ever be popular in the world, and the people who love him will often face similar unpopularity—even persecution.
Of the disciples, all but one was martyred. Persecution of Christians worldwide skyrocketed in 2022, with “a thousand more Christians... killed for their faith last year than the year before.”
Yet Jesus promises a life of blessing for those who pursue him. While one of these is persecution, Christ also offers the unimaginable joy of an eternity spent in the presence of God. Other scriptures confirm our difficulties will pale in comparison to the glory of heaven (Revelation 21:4, Romans 8:18, 1 Peter 1:6-7).
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3. The Twelve Thrones in Heaven
Matthew, also recounting the story recorded in Mark 10, records a few more words in this exchange.
Peter said to Jesus, “‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.’” (Matthew 19:27, 28-30).
Though King of Kings, Jesus lived as a tradesman and died a death of shame on the cross. He fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies and pronounced his eventual ruling of nations and Israel’s judgment.
Again, we read that “first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
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