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
2. The second significant thing that we find in the above scripture is the manner in which Jesus answered Peter. Jesus was always – always – in the Spirit. Everything He did was spiritual; and if you asked Him a question in the flesh, like Peter did here, He would answer it in the Spirit. Jesus never answered anyone in the flesh, no matter the spiritual mode in which the question was made. He never missed the mark. This is because in His heart Jesus never lost focus of the Kingdom of God.
Peter’s question was in the prosperity-gospel mode, which is a carnal approach; but Jesus answered him in the Spirit. He hit the bullseye: He told him it was all about the church.
I believe that in answering Peter, Jesus found the best opportunity to talk about the glories of the church. This must have been one of His finest moments. He must have enjoyed this moment tremendously.
But judging from the way Peter presented his question, it was a tense moment. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that Peter was even contemplating leaving. At that particular moment, after Jesus had made the no-riches declaration, the atmospehere within the camp was verging on the mutinous.
The wonderful news is that Jesus remained cool as a cucumber. He gave it to them exactly as it was, and stayed put. He did not compromise God’s standards to please anyone. I am not saying that Jesus would have loved to see His disciples leave; but He would not have been fazed in the least had they left.
“…he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:38).
The bottom line is that God is not a respecter of men. He respects those who humble themselves and take the road of the cross.
But Peter had a humble heart, and he stayed, despite the disappointment. So did the other apostles.
3. Finally, let us consider the essence of Jesus’ answer to Peter.
Notice carefully Jesus’ answer: “29… 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…”
That is Jesus’ promise to the church concerning what it would receive in this world.
When Jesus said, “But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands”; do you really think Jesus was talking about worldly material things here? No, sir!
On the contrary, Jesus was talking about the abundance of God’s grace that would be found within the church. The Kingdom of God is not about things. It is about God’s grace, the grace of God that is revealed in God’s people’s lives as they give their lives sacrificially one to another.
The Kingdom of God never has been, and never will be about the things or riches of this world.
The Kingdom of God is all about the grace of God in believers’ lives.
The Bible says of the early believers:
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32).
They had all things common.
In our contemporary self-driven, self-made and self-possessed setting, it probably is rather hard to imagine such a state of affairs where people have all things in common. But that is simply because we have allowed the flesh into the church.
But personally, I have tasted of this joy of the church. I have spiritual brothers and sisters and mothers galore all over the world. And when it comes to the things of this world, I have everything I need on account of the church. I have houses, I have cars, I have lands. None of them is in my name, of course, but they are mine all the same simply because they belong to brethren who literally love me as their own soul.
Finally, notice the phrasing of Jesus words, “with persecutions…”
“With” speaks of “going together”. In other words, grace for the church and persecution go together. Jesus was making it clear that there is no grace without the crucified life. Grace goes with persecution. Where an abundance of grace is there is also an abundance of persecution. We can see that with the Early Church, and with the life of the Apostle Paul.
Persecution comes in many forms, but the crucified life is a state of heart. You have either seen the light or you have not. You are either ready to surrender your life or you are not.
This grace that would be found in the church would come from people whose lives have been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20).
If we are not carrying the crucified life, we will end up like the Corinthians. There was no grace, and there was not much of a “church” there at the time of Paul’s writing. Only divisions and selfishness.
But where there is the revelation of the cross there is much grace, grace for the church.
And the final reward?
“…and in the world to come eternal life.”
[Below: The fire of persecution brings much grace to the church]