Mark 10: 29-31
29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
In context, the rich young ruler decided to hold onto his possessions, and Peter has just told Jesus they left all to follow him. Jesus responds, starting with ‘Assuredly, I say to you…”
Our Lord uses this phrase (or its translated variants) when He’s prophesying.
The Son of G=d who had a hand in the creation of all things prophesies to us still, but in our humanity we don’t understand, or turn away, or we’re afraid to question.
What it means for us as believers however, is that it is certain to happen. For my part, I think we don’t pay attention to what the Word really says because we tend to take it and apply it to us.
One of the phrases I think we do this with is “all nations.” There are people who say that, but think G-d only means the nations that look like them. When you eat, take, or give all of something, nothing is left of it. I often wonder when these people read that phrase, what really crosses their mind when they see it.
Another one is ‘the last will be first.’ We live in a prosperous, powerful nation, and with phrases like ‘Not our kind’ and ‘Not in my backyard’ which I wrote about in a previous post, there are people we pass by in various states of wretchedness, brokeness, sinfulness, and states of poverty. Like Christmas decorations we bring them out once a year and tuck them back inside when the holidays are over. To be sure, there are those who work those ministries year round, but for the most part the general public makes it a once-a-year ‘feel good’ works kind of thing. And that’s okay in and of itself: our lives are busy with jobs and families, our concerns about our own future and making sure we have enough to look after ourselves.
After all, Jesus said the poor will always be with us. I haven’t seen an eradication of charities yet, and we can give to who and what we wish to share our resources with. And He also tells us that what we do have comes with their own brand of persecutions: bills, taxes, maintenance, health problems that afflict us and reduce our ability, trouble and strife in families, in addition to general hatred and unbelief in our faith both from within and without it.
So what’s the point? The point is that when the harvest is done, those people will be at the front of the line, the ones who sleep in wet alleys, the children who are battered and abused, the victims of a predatory society who have by and large replaced or misunderstood that the silver and gold belongs to G-d, not us. (Haggai 2:8)
In the parable of the Field Workers, the last who came to work were paid the same as those who came earlier, and they were mad the last received the same pay. The thief on the cross came to faith and repentance at the last possible instance; there was no time for him to study. It came down to a simple declaration of faith and repentance: “Remember me, when You come into Your kingdom.”
We all know the gracious and life giving response Jesus gave Him.
“Assuredly I say to you…”
Therefore I pray:
I take comfort from Your willingness to keep assuring us our salvation is true, our places prepared, and the work is finished.
Help me to claim that which is mine through faith in You, and works on Your behalf. Let repentance be true, and every doubt a liar. Let me lips and heart be conjoined in their honor, in their meditation, in their joy and hope of salvation.
Let we who have enjoyed the basics of life, and the overflow of life in You, rejoice at the sight of the least of all nations standing in line before us as You bless them with far more than the crumbs from our tables, however lavish.
Let us raise our voices in praise, song, and thanksgiving as we see Your mercy displayed in the light of the Father’s glory.
Insofar as what time remains to me, let me be light and salt in the ways that I can, that they may see You in me, and I see You in them, that we may both glorify our Father in heaven.
I repent of the times I shuttered that light willingly and knowingly, with willful and selfish purpose when I heard from the Spirit to open my hand.
Soften my heart, embolden my spirit, and fill me with power in the ways that You would have me work to help others. Help me to know always that Your prophecies concerning me are ‘yes and amen,’ in blessed assurance.
By the power of Your Holy Name, I ask it.