Grace, Grace For The Church
28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
29 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,
30 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.
31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first. Mk. 10:28-31
As usual, with the Bible no amount of writing can exhaust the riches to be found within even a tiny portion of scripture. All our blogs and all our posts just tap at the tip of these riches.
Having said that, let me begin by summarizing what I want to discuss with regard to the scripture above:
- Peter’s “carnal mind” (Rom. 8:7).
- The manner in which Jesus answered Peter’s question.
- The essence of the answer that Jesus gave to Peter. This one is guaranteed to blow away your mind.
- Peter’s carnal mind.
Someone showed me a clip of one of the world’s top prosperity preachers ranting: “If I want to believe God for a 65 million dollar plane you cannot stop me!”
Apparently, someone had told the man not to buy the plane, and he was not happy about it. As I watched the clip, I saw a man under siege; and I was reminded of how Peter also one time felt under siege; so much so that he began to hound Jesus after Jesus made it clear that the Kingdom that He had come to establish had nothing to do with worldly riches.
“Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.”
That might appear to be a very innocent phrase, but it is not. When it says “Peter began to say”, it means there were other things he wanted to say. What the Bible is actually talking of here is a declaration of war: Peter was declaring war on Jesus!
In Matthew’s account it says: “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” (Mat. 19:27)
It is important to notice that Peter brought up this issue immediately after Jesus had finished telling His disciples how difficult it would be for those who love worldly riches to enter heaven. He had told them:
“24… Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mk. 10:24-25).
And the Bible says: “And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?” (v. 26)
Clearly, they hadn’t been expecting this. It is clear that Peter and his fellow apostles had all along been tagging behind Jesus expecting to receiving these very riches that Jesus was now declaring were not a part of the Kingdom He had come to establish. The news did not settle well with Peter and, being the edgy man that he was, he couldn’t hold in his impatience any longer: he wanted to know right away if, as it appeared, riches were out of the equation, then what was he and his friends who had “forsaken all, and followed thee” to profit in?
“C’mon, man, answer me!!” That was what he must have wanted to shout out aloud and he probably wanted to get his hands on Jesus and shake Him up. The Lord had just executed the biggest upset in the history of his life!
In engaging Jesus thus, Peter unwittingly exposed the lust in his heart. Peter is therefore the first self-declared prosperity gospel disciple that we find amongst the followers of Jesus.
But Peter was representative of all the rest of Jesus’ disciples… and he is representative of many of us today. There is no denying the fact that many believers today love the world and the things in it more than they do God or His spiritual Kingdom.
But – praise God! – Peter eventually parted ways with that “mind” of the flesh. After the cross, Peter repented and mended his ways. For, when the Jerusalem church was born, Peter and the apostles probably set the Guinness World Record for becoming the richest men within the shortest period of time. The Bible states that on the very first day that the church was born, 3,000 souls were added to the church! Subsequently, “…the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
That was surely a large number of people in that church. We have no idea of the total number of believers the church at Jerusalem eventually arrived at before it was finally scattered abroad by persecution.
Now, the Bible records that within this church, “34 … as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:34-35).
Notice the word “prices”. That is talking of hard cash; and with all those numbers, that must have been a lot of money in that church. And all this money, the Bible says, found its way to the apostles’ feet. But, somehow, it did not find its way into their pockets!
The apostles did not use it to fulfill their own lusts in the name of “ministry”. They did not use even a dime of it for themselves. On the contrary, we see Peter and John walking to church without a cent in their pockets on the day they healed the lame man.
All the money that the apostles received they appointed Godly men to distribute to the needy. They did not even handle it themselves.
It is in this light that I believe God is waiting for all the prosperity preachers and their followers within the church today to face the cross and embrace the true gospel of Jesus Christ, of Christ and Him crucified.
[Below: Under the shadow of the Uluguru Mountains lies the main bus stand in Morogoro]