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Jesus said: “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.”
Wednesday 29 March Mark 10:29-30
As Jesus moved towards Jerusalem and his death on the cross, he spoke increasingly about the costliness of discipleship. He did nothing at all to make following him sound glamourous and attractive. However, he also wanted to make it clear that the costly path of following him would be generously rewarded. Our generous God is no one’s debtor. Jesus’ words became literally true for those early disciples. Many of them would be rejected by their families but, as they entered the family of God, they suddenly discovered brothers and sisters wherever they went and homes were flung open to greet them. This was the apostle Paul’s experience who, in his final greetings in the letter to the Romans, spoke of the mother of Rufus as being like a mother to him (see Romans 16:13). In another place he referred to Onesimus as his son (see Philemon 10).
The certainty of reward was also matched by the guarantee of persecution. Jesus saw this as inevitable. This was the experience of his own life, and he was sure that it would characterise his followers’ lives as well. This may all sound very heavy and forbidding but we need to remember the words of Hebrews 12:2 that it was “for the joy set before him” that Jesus endured the cross. There is nothing pleasant about persecution, but it was the certainty of joy that kept him going.
The ultimate reward is eternal life. Life here on earth is very brief. As James put it in his letter “your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14). But God offers us a new life which begins now, and which will never come to an end. When we see our lives as part of the big landscape of eternity, it should help us to see our present challenges and difficulties in their proper context. Following Christ will be tough at times but, when we keep our eyes on the big picture, we can only be full of joy and hope.
How does the promise of eternal life affect your thinking about today?
Lord Jesus, thank you for your generosity to me today and for all eternity. Amen
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