"Rewards of Discipleship"- Matthew 19:27-30

This Week’s Core Virtue - Love - I sacrificially and unconditionally love and forgive others.

1 John 4:10-12 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Scripture: Matthew 19:27-30  Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

The Message of this Passage:

In the daily devotional by RC Sproul on these verses he wrote: “Often we think we should only follow Jesus because of His inherent worth and that to seek a reward from Him is entirely wrong. Christ’s inherent goodness and beauty is, of course, enough to motivate discipleship; however, it is not altogether improper to look for other blessings as well. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 says God is pleased when we believe “he rewards those who seek him.”

Today’s passage reinforces this understanding of serving Jesus in hopes of a reward. Jesus’ earlier promise of treasure in heaven to the rich young ruler (Matt. 19:21) probably moves Peter to ask what the disciples will gain from following Christ. The disciple is not rebuked for his question; on the contrary, Jesus says His followers will receive “a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life” (vv. 27–30), implicitly affirming that Peter’s question is not wholly wrong thinking.

According to Mark’s account, the hundredfold reward Jesus promises is not limited to the future; it is also experienced in the present (10:29–31). We will enjoy our blessings fully only in the new heavens and earth, but we err if we expect them in the age to come alone. Still, benefits today will not be without hardship; Mark’s record says that good things come with persecutions (v. 30). This cautions us against thinking believers will be the most wealthy and successful of all peoples, according to earthly standards.  Christians are better off than unbelievers even when our standard of living seems comparatively less than theirs (Proverbs 15:16). John Calvin writes that “God gladdens his people, so that the small portion of good which they enjoy is more highly valued by them, and far sweeter, than if out of Christ they had enjoyed an unlimited abundance of good things.”

Therefore Jesus also says that in the age to come, many who are first will be last and vice versa (Matt. 19:30). The exact sense of the proverb in this context is a bit unclear, but James M. Boice helpfully interprets it to mean that “those who have the most here will not necessarily have the most in heaven” (The Gospel According to Matthew, vol. 2, p. 411). “All who for the Savior’s sake reject power, position, and possessions now, though they suffer much, will find in eternity that their sacrifice was worth the temporary shame of being last today.”  From RC Sproul

For Discussion:

  • Read verses 27-30. What was Peter thinking when he compared himself with this rich young man?

  • What promises did Jesus give him and us?

  • What does verse 30 mean to the disciples and to us? How can we inherit eternal life?

  • The disciples asked Jesus what their reward would be for leaving what they had left to follow Him (v. 27). What did they leave? (See Matthew 4:20 and Luke 5:11.)

  • Jesus gave a list of things a person might have to leave to follow Him (v.29). What is the reason He gave for leaving those things? What is the reward He promised to those who leave those things?

  • What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “But many who are first will be last, and the last first”

  • What insights into the future did Christ give in His promise?

  • What did Jesus promise the twelve disciples?

  • What further promise did Jesus make to Christians through the ages who make sacrifices for Him?

  • How are spiritual values different from worldly values?

  • The language used in this section is difficult. Jesus borrows from Daniel 7 (and where the English says “renewal of all things” it literally means rebirth). What is Jesus really saying to the disciples (and us) in this section?

Any reward that God gives us is by His grace, for He is the one who prepares good works for us and enables us to do them (Eph. 2:8–10). Because it is all by His grace, we should never arrogantly demand that He bless us, yet,  neither should we disregard a reward in this life. Take time today to think on the blessings of Christian friends, your church family, and other such things in this present age. Make sure to thank the Father for all of these rewards.