Mark 10:28-34

Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.

He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.” Mark 10:28-34

What’s in it for me?” Isn’t that the way of the world? Isn’t that the basis for all marketing? Tell them what they don’t have. Tell them how much better their life will be if only they had it. Tell them that you have what they want. Give them what they want. You can even make them pay a premium price if you can convince them you’re giving them a premium product. One that stands out. One that people will notice. You’re IN!

We breathe it all in. We are surrounded by such messaging. We’ve internalized it. This is the system which has gone by many different names through history. It stretches all the way back to the initial promise of the land flowing with milk and honey (once you get rid of the Caanites.)

Peter has it. We all have it. “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” As if what he left behind, the tedious life of a fisherman living at a bare subsistence level of survival, was all that great to begin with.

Even Jesus plays the game. You’re going to get a HUNDREDFOLD! It is going to pay off! Now and for all eternity! There’s the promise…but do note the twist.

Fields with persecutions. Condemn him to death. Mock him. Spit upon him. Flog him. Kill him. Some were amazed. Some were afraid. There were good reasons for both.

Notice that Jesus shared the description of his future suffering privately to only his closest disciples. Tomorrow we’ll see how they respond. For today, let’s close with a simple question.

Where did we get the idea that the Christian faith is designed for our comfort, designed to make our life easier, designed to reward us? We certainly didn’t see that in Jesus.

Remember the words of Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The promise there is NOT he will give you everything your heart desires. The promise is that God will change what you desire in the first place. Even if that means fields with persecutions.

THAT is a word for grown up disciples.

Let us pray: Jesus, we are always attracted to short cuts, easy way outs, the newest shiny things. We pray so often that you take around the obstacles of life but, again and again, you promise only to lead us through. May we welcome you, trust in you, and follow you on your terms rather than our own. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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