Jesus Flips Houses
A long time ago, a young businessman came to Jesus and ask him for the key to eternal life. Jesus asks this leader if he takes the commandments seriously. The man says he does.
Jesus then asks him to liquidate his assets and give the money away to the poor. And the man walks away, unwilling or unable to make the sacrifice.
Jesus never hunts him down. He doesn’t negotiate, he doesn’t reframe the offer, he doesn’t offer better terms. Nor does he badger, berate, belittle or shame the man into following him. He simply lets him walk away.
Then Peter volunteers this statement.
Mark 10:28-30 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."
Peter is gives an accurate assessment of the disciples’ journey. Matthew has abandoned a lucrative tax business. Peter, James and John have walked away from their family fishing businesses. Simon the Zealot has turned his back on the political aspirations and advocacy initiatives he’d been a part of. So essentially, Peter is asking a question.
“If the man who has everything won’t leave it to follow Christ, then what is the reward for people who leave everything to do so?”
Jesus responds with this great line: “In time, whatever you walked away from will be restored.” You left your dream house behind for the sake of Jesus’ call on your life? Don’t worry.
You lost friends when you decided to surrender? Or maybe some family members turned their back on you for your faith decision? Don’t fret. Why? Because he says your fortune will turn.
And not on the other side of eternity, but now. “Everyone who gave up a house, etc. will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses…” Jesus says “I can take what you lost and turn it, flip it, transform it into something better for you and better for my purposes. Just hang on.”
To be fair, there is some fine print here. Jesus says we’ll regain some form of what we walked away from “along with persecution.” So it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows, but God has and is promising to take care of us, twice. In the aftermath of our short term losses, he promises us something now. And, he makes promises for the world to come as well. He offers eternal life.
Make no mistake. There are great things you will walk away from in order to follow Christ. Some material, some relational, some professional—but the spiritual return on those is always worth it. Both in this world and in the world to come.