The Rewards of Discipleship. 28 Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel 30 who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. 31 But many that are first will be last, and (the) last will be first.”
Earlier (3:35) Jesus had redefined his family. “(For) whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” For many of the first believers, following Jesus meant leaving everything behind. What one gained by leaving the biological family behind was the faith-community, those who were doing the will of God.
Peter again acts as the spokesman for the Twelve. His response stands in stark contrast to the refusal of the rich man to follow Jesus. The Twelve had abandoned everything in order to follow Jesus (Ch. 1:16–20; 2:14). Lane [371-2] notes that “Jesus’ response defines Christian existence in terms of promise and persecution, and history as the interplay of blessedness and suffering. The contrast between the present age and the age to come is thoroughly Palestinian in character and expresses the tension between promise and fulfillment in the life of faith. The frank recognition of the loss that allegiance to Jesus and the gospel may entail (cf. 13:12f.) is conditioned by the promise that all that is lost in one society (v. 29) will be regained a hundredfold in the new society created by the dynamic of the gospel (v. 30). This reassurance is addressed to any man who suffers loss for Jesus and the gospel. God takes nothing away from a man without restoring it to him in a new and glorious form. Jesus’ reference to the new family which will compensate for the loss sustained in one’s own family finds its preparation in 3:31–35.”
A Final Thought
From Brian Stoffregen:
A dictionary definition of “sacrifice” is: “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.” A key to a sacrifice is giving up something valued. We seldom are confronted with giving up things that we value for the sake of Christ who should be regarded as more important or worthy. How often are things donated to the church, things a family wants to get rid of — something they no longer value? Such giving can’t be called a “sacrifice”.
Frequently testimonies talk about giving the worst things in one’s life in order to follow Jesus, e.g., addictions, swearing, promiscuity, etc. In contrast, Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3:4-11 indicates that he gave up the very best things in his life, the most righteous things in his life, for the sake of the gospel.
What are some things that we value that Christ might ask us to give up in order to follow him? Soccer practices on Sunday? Watching football games on Sunday? Buying a new car?
However, if we are giving such things up only because we expect even greater things from following Christ, then we have probably haven’t given up our most important possession, the control of our own lives and destinies.
Mark 10:28 We have given up everything and followed you. Now Peter wanted reassurance that the disciples had responded to Jesus’ call. He asked with some uncertainty and anxiety, hoping that Jesus would affirm the disciples’ commitment, which he did. The verb for “leaving” is in the aorist tense, denoting a renunciation that took place in the past, while the perfect tense of “following” looks to the ongoing effects of choosing to follow Jesus.
Mark 10:30 who will not receive hundred times more now in this present age: … along with persecution. Jesus promised that a new family and home—those of the church—would await the follower who made this sacrifice, but they would also experience persecution. The term for persecution (diōgmos) always refers to religious persecution in the NT (Acts 8:1; 13:50; 2 Cor 12:10; 2 Thess 1:4).
and eternal life in the age to come. Now the passage comes full circle back to the rich man’s question in Mark 10:17. People who align themselves with Jesus and the Gospel will gain eternal life in the world to come. A person is not saved by something he or she does, but by the one with whom they establish a relationship. In other parts of the NT, this means exercising faith in God and in the one he sent, Jesus Christ.
Mark 10:31 But many that are first will be last, and (the) last will be first. There is some discussion as to whether the remark affirms the disciples’ choice or is a rebuke in light of Peter’s outburst in Mark 10:28, but the reaffirmation of their commitment in Mark 10:29–30 favors an affirmation here.
- K. Beale and D. A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007).
- Alan Cole, Mark: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1989) 236-44
- John R. Donahue and Daniel J. Harrington, The Gospel of Mark, Sacra Pagina v.2 (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazer / Liturgical Press, 2001) 302-09
- Wilfred Harrington, Mark, The New Testament Message, v.4 (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazer Press, 1979)
- William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974) 362-73
- Philip Van Linden, C.M., “Mark” in The Collegeville Bible Commentary, ed. Dianne Bergant and Robert J. Karris (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1989) 924
- Pheme Perkins, The Gospel of Mark, vol. 8 of The New Interpreter’s Bible (Nashville, TN: Abington Press, 1994) 648-52
- Ben Worthington, The Gospel of Mark: A Social-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001) 86, 274-81
- David Turner and Darrell L. Bock, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 11: Matthew and Mark (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2005).
- Brian Stoffregen, CrossMarks Christian Resources, available at www.crossmarks.com/brian/
- Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995)
- Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990)
- The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman, Gary A. Herion, David F. Graf, John David Pleins and Astrid B. Beck (New York: Doubleday, 1996).
Scripture – The New American Bible available on-line at http://www.usccb.org/bible