Genesis 40; Mark 10; Job 6; Romans 10: Proverbs 7
I have the sense from my reading in Mark today that the Disciples were looking for some sort of reward for having left everything to follow Jesus. James and John even ask Him to let them sit one on His right and one on his left when He comes into His kingdom. But there is one little word that has caught my attention. Persecution.
It all starts when a man runs up to Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus lists out the commandments he must follow, and the man replies that he has done all of those things since his youth. But there is one thing lacking Jesus informs him. He must sell all that he owns and give it to the poor then come and follow Jesus. “But at these words he (the man) was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.” -Mark 10:22, NASB. Jesus then looks around at His followers and tells them, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” -v. 23 The disciples are amazed when Jesus elaborates on this statements and wonder who can ever be saved. Then comes an oft quoted word from Jesus, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Good ol’ Peter has to jump in at this point, “We have left everything to follow You.” And Jesus response to this all sounds pretty good to us: “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, 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 (…and then the kicker…) along with persecutions: and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mark 10: 29-30, NASB. I have heard this quoted many times, but never with that little piece about persecutions being a part of the “reward.” We want the bed of roses without the thorns-but the two go hand in hand.
Grace, peace, and mercy,