Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Irrefutable Evidence

Then Peter began to speak up. "We've given up everything to follow you," he said. "Yes," Jesus replied, "and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property--along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then." ~ see Mark 10:17-31

Peter spoke these words to Jesus just moments after the moral and wealthy young man declined Jesus' rite of passage into discipleship training, hung his head, and sadly walked away. Jesus' prerogative is to assign each one of us a place in the Kingdom, and the level of sacrifice may seem unfair. From our earthly viewpoint the cost of follow-ship is much more for some than others. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor... Then come follow me. Peter recognized this. Dumbfounded, he asked, Who then can be saved?

At the young man's core was a high level of commitment to morality and money. When you get right down to the brass tacks, those two things defined him. His request simply revealed he thought he could be moral, rich, and sold-out to the Kingdom. Jesus knew in his case that was impossible.

We've given up everything to follow you. Jesus agreed with Peter, and gave a confounding response. At first glance it appears that Jesus was saying--Whatever you give up materially, I will materially return one hundred times over in this world. That is not what Jesus was saying. A quick read of Fox's Book of Martyrs, Hebrews chapter eleven, or the New Testament in general debunks that interpretation. No, entering the Kingdom is not at all like investing our last red-cent to purchase a Megabucks ticket, knowing full well we have the winning numbers.

What Jesus was saying is that when a person completely sells out for the Good News, they receive in this life spiritual blessings that exceed their wildest imagination. For sure, just as it was Jesus' prerogative to set the terms of discipleship for the rich young man, in some instances Jesus' prerogative is to bless some people materially. But he is not bound to that give-and-take exchange.

Look at that passage again. Notice what Jesus also said...

Did you see it? They will receive--persecution. All-in means all-out spiritual warfare. That is the testimony of the Church that Jesus Christ is building, and it is irrefutable. 

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