Now in This Time, and in the Age to Come

I love Peter. Not because he’s so perfect, but because he’s so real. And, because his realness showcases Christ’s patience with those less-than-perfect people He calls to represent Him.

Reading in Mark 10 this morning. Jesus encounters a young man who wants to know what he must do “to inherit eternal life” (Mk. 10:17). Obey the commandments of Moses, says Jesus. “Check,” replies the young man, been there doing that. Then, says Jesus, sell all that you have — exchange it for treasure in heaven — and come follow Me. To which the young man then replies, “Checking out!” And the young man walks away sorrowful, “for he had great possessions” (10:22). It was too great a price to pay for eternal life (that’s a whole other point to ponder).

Okay, this is where Peter comes in. (Did I mention I love that guy?) He’s been listening in. He hears the whole conversation. He processes what Jesus told the young man and starts doing the math in his head. I’ve walked away from my source of income to follow Jesus. I’ve said goodbye to my wife, my kids, my home for extended periods of time as a I’ve followed Jesus on His itinerant ministry. I’ve taken a hit from friends and family who are suspect of my Teacher’s radical ways. So, is it the same deal for me?

Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left everything and followed You.”

(Mark 10:28 ESV)

Jesus, what you told that young dude to do, we have done. “What then will we have?” (Matt. 19:27).

And I think Jesus thought it was a fair question, because Jesus answers Peter without rebuke.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for My sake and for the gospel, who will 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.”

(Mark 10:29-30 ESV)

And I read that, and I think to myself, “Self, that looks like a promise to claim. Pull out the orange-colored pencil and shade it.” But then I think, is it really real? Does it reflect the reality for those who for centuries have left behind “everything” to follow Jesus? Does it reflect my reality?

Not that I’ve left “everything”, but for me to declare Christ as my Savior at the age of 19 cost me something with family and friends. No longer tracking on the same path, or thinking the same way, or valuing the same stuff. Referred to by some as a “bible-thumper”, assessed by others as someone who “grew up so smart and ended up so dumb.” A very real sense that, though I had already moved out of the house, I had now left home and family. Maybe I too could have asked, “What then will I have?”

So, does Jesus’ response ring true? As I noodle on it, “Yes and Amen!”

Having been disconnected somewhat from family, I found myself among this new family, the family of God. Brothers and sisters, and moms and dads, welcoming me, teaching me, encouraging me, befriending me — and to say that it was “a hundredfold” isn’t exaggerating. Houses too. I can’t recall the number of houses I was invited into for meals, for games, for fellowship. The home I left replaced by home after home. All part of the reward, “now in this time”, of owning Jesus as Savior. All with the ever-increasing, ever sure hope of eternal life “in the age to come.”

Yet the promised “return on investment” hasn’t just been sunshine and roses. But Jesus covers that too. He said that part of the “reward” would be “persecutions” as well. Yup, known some persecution in my day — not to the extent others have, for sure, but more than if I’d never tried to live for Jesus as Lord of my life. Have known some hardship, too. But through it all, I’ve known also the abiding presence of a faithful God, the ever-present power of His indwelling Spirit, and the unfailing love of His Son who gave Himself for me.

So yeah, I think there’s a promise to claim and a reality to recognize here.

Now in this time, and in the age to come.

By His grace. For His glory.

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