Correcting a Misread

Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, 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 farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,  30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.  31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” — Mark 10:28-31:

Always, always I have read this passage–whether in Matthew 19, Mark 10, or Luke 8–as speaking about a future, eternal reward.  Maybe that is because I have spent a lot more time in Matthew than in either of the other two.  Matthew says, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” Both Mark and Luke, however, are very clear that there is reward both in this age and in the one to come for the ones who leave behind houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, or farms.

Much of my thinking about Kingdom rewards points to the world to come.  I am confident that I will receive an eternal home, an inheritance, lasting fellowship with God, and perhaps some other unspecified rewards.  But Jesus is just as clear about the rewards of faithfulness in this present age:

  • “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
  • “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
  • “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
  • God supplies the needs of His children here and now; therefore, seek the Kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:25-33)
  • The Kingdom is here now (Luke 17:21); along with Christ’s own presence with gathered believers (Matthew 18:20); the visible Body of Christ, the Church; the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16); etc.

It is paramount that followers of Christ never cease to long for His return (Revelation 22:20) and for the coming of the Kingdom in the fullness of its power, for we seek a city that is to come (Hebrews 13:14).  But may we not delude ourselves so as to think that the present life is merely a solemn trudgin through a barren, God-forsaken wilderness.  God dwells in the midst of His people; He has left His Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing the inheritance that is to come; He comforts those in distress; He supplies peace beyond understanding; He is a fountain of joy unspeakable; and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

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