Matthew 19:27-29 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”
Mark 10:29-30, KJV ...for my sake, and the gospel’s ... he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time ... and in the world to come eternal life.
•• The blessings of “leaving everything to follow [Jesus].”
• (1) 100-fold now, in this life, plus (2) eternal life
•• As the old saying goes, you cannot outgive God.
• Give your time and your resources for Jesus and the Gospel, and it comes back to you from God a hundred times over.
•• As vitally important as family is, place Jesus even higher, and He will reward you with family blessings many times over.
Matthew 20:20-21, 24-28 ...(21) “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” ... (24) When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “...(26) whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
•• Jesus identifies the essence of greatness as:
• servitude — the willingness to serve, not to be served
• “...be your servant...be your slave”
• giving, not taking
• “to serve...to give his life...”
•• I recall many years ago accompanying my pastor as we visited a small church in a small Alaskan town. I was moved by my pastor’s opening words. Even though he was the leader of a very large church in Alaska’s biggest city, he humbly and sincerely asked the pastor of that small church, “How can I serve you?”
Matthew 21:28-32 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”
•• It’s not the talking, it’s the doing. Many people can “talk a good game”, but the Lord is looking for those who will obey Him and will follow through on their stated intentions.
•• The point of Jesus’ parable here is repentance. The prostitutes and the despised tax collectors at first remained stubbornly in their sinful ways. But later they repented and changed their minds and conduct, and it was they who found entrance into the kingdom of God — by sincere repentance.
•• What is the present-day application of Christ’s words? It’s not too late to repent! Although the first son resisted at first, he “later changed his mind and went.” It was this repentant son, not the smooth-talking but disobedient son, who pleased the Father.
Matthew 22:15-22 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.... (17) Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” ... (21b) Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Romans 13:7 “If you owe taxes, pay taxes.”
•• There’s a valid realm entrusted by God to “Caesar”, to governmental authority, just as there is a valid realm of God.
• Interestingly, the early Plymouth pilgrims had their magistrates, rather than their clergymen, officiate at weddings. They apparently felt that it was important for governmental authority to solemnize the contractual and legal aspects of marriage.
•• Romans 13:1, KJV, says: “The powers that be are ordained of God.” There is no room for anarchy in a Christian’s heart. Not every governmental leader is necessarily a good person. But governmental leadership is most assuredly a creation of God.
•• As Christians we are still subject to the laws of the land, the tax code, speed limits, planning and zoning codes in the construction of our church buildings, and many other governmental requirements.
•• The other side of Jesus’ reply was to be certain to render “to God the things that are God’s.”
Matthew 22:23-32 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.... (28) Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?” Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead — have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
•• Like the Sadducees, we can fall into much error by not knowing:
•• In His reply, Jesus makes the interesting declaration that marriage as we practice it on earth is no longer an issue in the eternal state in heaven.
• Some have suggested, probably correctly, that marriage on earth is perhaps the closest human approximation to a much higher level of relational closeness to the Lord and to each other that we will enjoy in heaven.
•• In correcting an error of the Sadducees, Jesus declared that the long-deceased Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were even then among “the living”, obviously referring to their conscious existence in heaven. This would seem to settle the issue that the soul of the believer does not at death go “to sleep”. Rather, it enters into the presence of God in heaven.
• The apostle Paul elaborated on this thought. In speaking of his own eventual death, Paul spoke of his being "willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8).
This is part three of a series of “Conversations with Jesus, the Son of God”. The next dialogue with Jesus may be seen here. More "Conversations" sermons can be found at the INDEX to Conversations with Jesus.