“All This, And Jesus Too?”
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Peter asked the Lord, “What will there be for us?” (19:27b). Jesus gave Peter not a rebuke, but a threefold answer: two encouragements; one warning.
Matt. 19:28a (Holman) Jesus said to them, “I assure you; in the Messianic Age, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne,”
“The Messianic Age” is literally “The regeneration.” It refers to a future event, Jesus’ Second Coming, when the world will be made beautifully new.
A day is approaching when this planet will rediscover its original pristine perfection. When Jesus literally, bodily returns to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (RV 19:16), the world will for the first time see what it could’ve been, the way God meant it to be. We will fully realize what we lost in the Fall.
Peter, throughout his decades of ministry, never lost sight of this coming glorious day. Thirty-five years after this talk with Jesus, Peter wrote, “We wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell” (2 P 3:13b).
The whole creation shares Peter’s end-time excitement, and is “groaning together with labor pains,” awaiting the day it will be set free from bondage (RM 8:18-22). It’s a blessed thought. No wonder John the Beloved ended the Revelation with an expectant sigh, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20b).
Matt. 19:28b “You who have followed Me will also sit on 12 thrones; judging the 12 tribes of Israel.”
The disciples had originally followed Jesus, having visions of themselves ruling in a Kingdom. They were off, but not 100% wrong. A Kingdom’s glory would be theirs, but not as they had anticipated. They dreamed of a political Kingdom; it would be spiritual. They thought now; it would be then. They at first were selfish in their motives; but learned loving Jesus would bring reward.
Christ promised they would govern with Him, presiding like courtiers gathered around the main throne, which would be occupied by Jesus. In a place of distinction they will participate in deliberations over “the 12 tribes of Israel”, possibly a symbolic reference to all the people in all the ages who will believe.
Jesus’ words beamed a helpful spotlight into the dark unknown future.
We are grateful for what He revealed to us, but remember, a spotlight, however bright it may be, leaves much around it dark. When it comes to the Second Coming of Jesus, we won’t understand it all until it happens. We can’t fully figure it out now, but what the spotlight does reveal certainly whets the appetite. As an aside, I remind us the 12 disciples won’t be the only ones enjoying honor and authority in the end. “The saints will judge the world” (I Cor. 6:2b). Believers will not be idle or bored. We will be involved in service that matters.
Jesus encouraged us. All who share the battle share the victory. Disgrace suffered here will be compensated. Tertullian told his persecutors, “Your cruelty is our glory.” He truly believed the more he gave up here, the greater would be his glory there. During their years of persecution, I wonder if each time one of the 12 stood before a throne of judgment he considered the consoling fact that he would someday be the one sitting on the throne judging.
Matt. 19:29a “And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children, or fields. . .”
Note the assumption. Turning to Jesus requires turning from something or someone highly valued. Serving Jesus does entail sacrifice. When we follow Him, certain options are disqualified to us. Loss is part of the deal. In our text, Jesus listed items we hold nearest and dearest: houses, family, and land.
It costs to follow Jesus. Abel gave his life, as did Samson, the Apostle James, and Stephen. Abraham and Rahab lost their homes. Hudson Taylor left behind the love of his life. Adoniran Judson and David Livingston lost the loves of their lives. C.T. Studd and William Borden forsook family fortunes.
Others less famous have followed their lead down a road of loss leading to a cross. Our Burmese congregation consists of families who for their Christian faith were driven from their lands by a ruthless military regime.
You tithers could spend that 10% on yourself. You who vowed marital faithfulness could have had an affair when your marriage became boring; you didn’t, due to Jesus. Time spent serving Him could be squandered elsewhere.
Matt. 19:29b “. . .because of My name . . .”
What we do matters. Why we do it does too. Jesus judges our spirituality not only by how much we give up, but also by the motive underneath our loss.
Don’t miss the importance of the why of what we do for Jesus. He said, “Because of My name.” This means do it for Him, for His sake and reputation.
Sacrifices we make for Jesus must be motivated by love, not selfishness. Lose things not for the applause of others, but in order to hear His “Well done”. Don’t serve Him for investment purposes, expecting health and wealth in return.
Matt. 19:29c “. . . will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life.”
If you are counting, this is 10,000%. If I could invest money at this rate, I would pray about whether or not to do it as I ran to the bank. Jesus obviously was not speaking literally. Even Godly Job received only double what he lost.
Arithmetic fails us here. Don’t try to materialize Heaven, or think in monetary terms. Jesus’ words were not intended to be tickets to sure wealth.
If this were a formula for wealth, we could make all we can, give it away, and wait for Jesus to give us 100 times more. Then we could repeat the process.
Jesus was saying every planted seed of sacrifice will produce a huge harvest of blessing. A stunning shocker, in light of how undeserving we all are.
Jesus wanted us to know, when all accounts are finally balanced, no one will feel God cheated them. No person can ever be a loser because of sacrifices made for Jesus. He will never be in anyone’s debt. Even people who go to Hell will be forced to acknowledge the fairness and justice of God. If we believed our text, nothing would be too hard to suffer, or too dear to part with, for Jesus.
Jesus was saying, “I was not speaking carelessly to the Rich Young Ruler when I spoke of a great reward. I meant what I said. Had even the worst persecution and difficulty come upon him, and it might have, the blessing would have more than made up for it.” Jim Elliot, missionary martyr, said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” What we receive from Jesus is secure. We can’t lose it. Heaven is our safety deposit box.
His blessings on our life are not only secure, but also share-able. God deposits them in hearts He makes loving, like His. Jesus blesses us with things we can bless others with. His smile rests on His benefits. He blesses us by granting us things that matter to us, things that can bless others through us.
Peter asked, “What’s in it for us? Is serving You worth our effort?” Jesus took up the challenge and resoundingly said, ”Yes it is worth every bit of it.”
I’m confident Peter was thinking of Heaven here—we are grateful for eternal life—but I think Jesus was saying, it is also worthwhile here and now.
Ours is peace of conscience, and a heart as tranquil as we are willing to let God make it. Ours can be a confident death; Paul said, “To die is gain.”
We are given power in prayer. I am not a prayer warrior, but I would not dare face the day without praying, and without knowing you are praying for me.
Best of all, in addition to all this, we have Jesus, God of very God, the sweetest and bravest of all, living in us. I am glad and honored to know Him.
An old Puritan sat to eat a meal of bread and water, with a Bible at hand. With thankful heart, he bowed his head and said, “All this, and Jesus too?”
I appreciate the Bible in the picture. It saves us shipwrecking our lives, car-wrecking our families, and train-wrecking our existence. We can all look back and see disastrous paths we might have taken had it not been for the Bible.