Today’s reading is Matthew 19.
Compared to doing whatever you want to do and whatever the culture around you allows you to do, following Jesus is hard! If you want to follow Jesus you:
- shoudn’t get divorced unless your spouse is unfaithful (vv. 1-10).
- would be better off staying single, but that requires something unusual that isn’t for most people (vv. 11-12).
- need to be childish in your faith, something that is really difficult to do (vv. 13-15).
- must follow Jesus absolutely, even if he commands you to give everything you have away (vv. 16-24).
- have to rely on God because what Jesus requires is impossible apart from his grace (vv. 25-26).
Quite a discouraging list, yes?
But what rewards Christ promised to those who trust him and follow him in obedience (vv. 27-30). This kind of submission to Christ may cause you to fall far behind in the rat race of human life. Human life, however, is over quickly; eternity, ...um..., lasts forever. Jesus promised more than fair compensation to those who follow him in this life. According to verse 29 you will get eternal life and far more, far better stuff in eternity when you actually have the spiritual capacity to enjoy created things without worshipping them.
Following Jesus in this way might make you feel like a loser in this life but expectations for this life are upside down. As verse 30 put it, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”