Mark 10:23-31 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus had just sent the rich young ruler away because he was not willing to give up everything to follow Jesus. This shocked the disciples as based upon outward appearance the rich young ruler was the perfect Jew and was the exact type of ruler that the disciples desired to be like in Jesus’ new kingdom that He was soon going to establish. They were unable to discern the true spiritual condition of the rich young ruler. The disciples still did not understand that Jesus was going to establish a new spiritual kingdom as He would form the Church: the body of Christ- a kingdom of individuals from every tribe and nation worshipping Him as their Lord and Savior. They had expected Israel to once again rise in prominence and to rule the world.
It devastated the disciples to see this ruler sent away. It made them question how anyone could be saved. In sending the ruler away their own hopes for the future were crushed. Jesus makes it clear that it is impossible through human effort for any man to be saved. Salvation is totally of God as He draws us to Himself and leads us into repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. It is at this point that Jesus encourages His disciples. Their hopes had been crushed and so He rebuilds them. He confirms to them that they were born again. They had given up everything to follow Jesus. And He confirms to them that they would indeed rule in His Kingdom. In Matthew 19:28 Jesus says:
Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
In all these things Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure. In order for them to lead His Church they needed to shake this false idea that they would soon rule over Israel in glory and splendor. They would rule over the twelve thrones of Israel in the new world- in the future perfect eternal Kingdom of God but not yet. For now they had to become the last. For now they had to be willing to be mistreated by family. For now they had to be willing to give up material wealth and earthly pleasure. For now they had to be willing to be persecuted. The Church is composed of believers filled with humility living in a manner that is absolutely contrary to the world sharing the Good News to a lost and dying world. Based upon outward appearances the Church is weak and foolish but in reality it is filled with spiritual power and blessings.
Jesus confirms to His disciples that every true follower of Him will receive a hundredfold blessing in this lifetime. In spite of the hardship and rejection experienced by following Jesus, in spite of the sacrifice and persecution that will come, the blessings of following Jesus far exceed the life that we once lived. There is a hundredfold blessing in this lifetime for all who follow Jesus. The spiritual blessings that we receive for being in union with Jesus Christ are far and above anything the world can offer. The riches that the young ruler possessed were nothing compared to the spiritual blessings that the disciples had already experienced by following Jesus and the many, many amazing experiences yet to come. Pentecost was soon coming when divided tongues as of fire would rest upon each one of them and they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. They would see the Good News of Jesus Christ spread around the world.
But even greater than the spiritual blessings promised in this lifetime to every true follower of Jesus is the future promise of eternal life! If we only knew what eternal life is really like we would have no trouble in sacrificing here and now for Jesus Christ! If we only knew the reality of the perfect eternal Kingdom of God we would turn away from all temptation to evil that surrounds us here and now and we would be willing to suffer all in proclaiming the Good News to the lost around us! The disciples were not yet fully living their lives in light of this future glory. They were still looking for glory upon this earth. How foolish are we in seeking the same? Let us set our eyes heavenward and live here and now in the light of the glory that awaits us and not think that it is here and now that we are living for. Why would anyone want the glory of this broken world? Why would anyone want the fading glory that can be found in a sinful world? Live for what is to come! Live in humility and sacrifice for your Lord and your Savior Jesus Christ! Live as the least and not as the greatest and you will be amazed at who you will become in the future. Jesus Christ will raise you up to glory if you are truly living your life for Him- if you are willing to submit to Him in every way and to fulfill His will for your life. He intends to use you for His glory here and now and to one day in the future reveal His glory within you!
Can you see how Jesus is slowly breaking down the disciples false ideas of what it means to be in His Kingdom? Do you still have false ideas of what it means to follow Jesus? If you are truly born again, you are progressively being sanctified; you are progressively being made holy. You are already separated from the world; you have been set apart unto God and are no longer of this world. You belong to Him! You are a child of God! Do not keep looking at the world around you as if you still belong to it. You are already in the spiritual Kingdom of God. The disciples struggled to understand this and we can struggle in the same way. Let go of your false ideas of what it means to be in the Kingdom of God. Submit to the teachings of Jesus Christ and He will lead you into untold blessings here and now and in the future eternal life. One day we will rule with Jesus Christ! One day we will be exalted! One day we will be glorified with Him forever! In light of the future glory we live here and now as servants of Jesus Christ in all humility.
Pastor Murray Hack