Peter caught the drift of what Jesus was teaching after the encounter with the rich young ruler. In this section we are going to study the promise the Lord made to all who forsake all and follow, the prerequisite for following Him, and the prediction He made concerning His death on the cross.
“Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:28-30).
This promise is for all believers of every generation until the Lord returns. Every Christian who becomes anxious, depressed, and faint-hearted ought to encourage themselves with this promise. Those who are undergoing suffering and persecution for the cause of Christ can receive spiritual strength and comfort to endure from it.
The promise is available to those who are willing to sacrifice all for the sake of Christ. It is they who receive the hundredfold blessing, not those who seek the wealth of the world. Persecutions will come, for Scripture says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12), but the promise of everlasting life far exceeds the discomfort they may experience. Their days on earth may be difficult, but there is glory in the world to come. The precious promises of Christ are sufficient to make up for all that might be lost on earth. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Those who enter into life through tribulation will enjoy the communion and fellowship of all those who have gone to be with the Lord. The communion of the saints in earth cannot be compared with that of Heaven
The moment a believer passes from this earthy existence, he will enter into the glory that God has prepared for him. The light afflictions of earth will be forgotten as he receives his everlasting reward. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17) … “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Their years of dedication, endurance and sorrow while in the body will be exchanged for perfect rest and a conqueror’s crown. All their tears, pains and tribulations will be no more, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
In the light of this precious promise, can any believer dare say that it does not pay to serve Christ? The time is short, and the end is near. There is a need for Christians who are sold out and committed to the cause of Christ today. Let us “Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;” and “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass” (Hebrews 12:12; Psalm 37:7).
“But many that are first shall be last; and the last first” (Mark 10:31).
Along with the promise we must accept the Lord’s warning. What was on Peter’s mind when he questioned the Lord about what the disciple’s would receive for following Him? The Lord knew that they were still thinking about positions and self-glorification. The more they fought for the highest position, the lower they would go instead. The Lord was reminding them that the only way up was down. The followers of Christ must walk in humility and persevere no matter what comes their way. We must not allow anything of this world to sidetrack or hinder us.
“And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Mark 10:32-34).
Jesus speaks very clearly here about His suffering, death and resurrection. Though the Lord was predicting what was going to happen to Him once He arrived in Jerusalem, the events were foretold as early as the first chapter of Genesis. Throughout Old Testament Scripture we find reference is made to the Messiah’s suffering, death and resurrection. This tells us that Jesus went to the cross through His own free will, determination and deliberate choice. From the beginning of His earthly ministry He saw the cross ever before Him and went to it as the suffering servant. He knew that His death was the only means of reconciling God and man, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). His blood is the only acceptable payment that God can receive for man’s sin.
Those who are actively engaged in the Lord’s work will be blessed by the Lord throughout eternity. This blessing is not payment for what they have achieved, but is the reward for being partakers of Christ’s ministry and suffering, “And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation” (2 Corinthians 1:7). Surely if Jesus died for us, it is a small thing to require Christians to live for Him.