THE COSTLY SACRIFICES FOR GOD’S KINGDOM
WILL PROVE TO BE WORTH IT BECAUSE OF CHRIST’S SACRIFICE
The call to “Follow Jesus” unreservedly with full heart commitment comes to each of us in our own circumstances. Jesus asks us individually to forsake specific things in order to submit to His plan for our life. The rich young ruler went away sad because he was unwilling to choose Christ over the sacrifice of his great wealth. Peter speaks up on behalf of the apostles to raise the obvious question: For those of us who have made the sacrifice to “Follow You” – how is that going to work out for us? Will it prove to have been worth it?
Philip Ryken: There are times in life when even the strongest Christians wonder whether it’s really worth it to follow Jesus. Once you make a total life commitment to Christ, there are certain commands you are committed to obey, certain pleasures you choose to forgo, and certain sacrifices you are compelled to make. Sometimes it is so hard to follow Jesus that it is tempting to wonder whether it is really worth all the trouble. Maybe life is better with Jesus, but it doesn’t always seem that way.
Deffinbaugh: I believe that the revelation of our Lord to His disciples in verses 31-34 was intended to put their “sacrifice” into perspective. Did they think that they were giving up everything for the kingdom of God? In reality, they were not giving up, but gaining, as our Lord’s immediately preceding words indicate. There was really only one sacrifice on which the kingdom of God was based, and that was the sacrifice which the Lord Jesus would make—the sacrifice of His own precious blood, to atone for the sins of the world.
Lenski: The disciples go from one extreme to the other. They first fear that, on the basis of what Jesus said, none of them can be saved; now after their fears in that direction have been allayed, they want assurances that they will be rewarded for the sacrifices they have made.
I. (:28-30) COSTLY SACRIFICES BY THE DEDICATED FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST
A. (:28) Testimony of Total Commitment – Implied Question: Is it Worth It?
“And Peter said, ‘Behold, we have left our own homes, and followed You.’”
Peter says this in contrast to the example of the rich young ruler who chose his possessions over the opportunity to follow Jesus. Looking for assurance that the apostles have made a wise choice. What’s in it for us?
Joe Marino: Peter is wondering if his investment in following Jesus is a sound investment and if the return on his investment will make it all worthwhile. Peter’s essentially asking: “Is it worth it to follow you Jesus?” and Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question is a beautiful promise.
B. (:29-30) Triumph of Tremendous Reward – Definitive Promise: You Bet It Is
1. (:29) Recognition of the Sacrifice
“And He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,’”
2. (:30) Recompense Corresponding
a. In This Life
“who shall not receive many times as much at this time”
Emphasis is on relationships here – our spiritual family – especially our local church relationships – should be valued as a tremendous gift from God
Guzik: There is a special honor for these disciples. They have a special place in judgment, probably in the sense of administration in the millennial Kingdom. As well, the apostles had the honor of helping to provide a singular foundation for the church (Ephesians 2:20), and have a special tribute in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 20:14).
William Barclay: Peter pointed out that he and his fellow disciples had left all to follow Jesus; and Jesus promised that no man would ever give up anything for the kingdom of God but he would be repaid many times over. It is the experience of all Christian folk that that is true. Once someone said to David Livingstone, thinking of the trials he had endured and the sorrows he had borne, of how he had lost his wife and ruined his health in Africa, “What sacrifices you have made!” Livingstone answered, “Sacrifices? I never made a sacrifice in all my life.” For the man who walks the Christian way there may be things the world calls hard, but, beyond them all and through them all, there is a peace which the world cannot give and cannot take away, and a joy that no man takes from him.
b. In the Age to Come
“and in the age to come, eternal life.”
Joe Marino: The beautiful promise that Jesus gives us here is that when we invest ourselves in the kingdom of God to the extent that we willingly resist our longings for material possessions and reject even the closest relationships that threaten our relationship with Jesus then we can rest assured that the return on our investment will be worth “many times more in this time, and in the age to come” because what we receive by leaving everything behind to follow Christ is the beautiful promise of the very presence of Christ himself. This beautiful promise is a very costly gift.
II. (:31-34) COSTLY SACRIFICE BY CHRIST HIMSELF = SUPREME SACRIFICE
A. (:31) Prophetic Fulfillment Regarding Suffering and Death in Jerusalem
“And He took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished.’”
– Resolve to go to Jerusalem despite knowing what awaits there – part of God’s overall redemptive plan
– Reassurance that all that will take place there is in fulfillment of prophecy
Geldenhuys: For the fourth time now the Saviour announces that He will be delivered to suffer and to die (ix. 22, 44, xiii. 33).
B. (:32-33a) Progression of Suffering Culminating in Crucifixion
“For He will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him;”
Lenski: Note the wording: four passives regarding things that are done to Jesus; then one plural active, “they shall kill” (not another passive, “he shall be killed”), which points to the murderers; then one singular middle-active, which points to the resurrection of Jesus as being effected by himself.
J. C. Ryle: The importance of our Lord’s death appears in the frequency with which He foretold it, and referred to it during His life. He knew well that it was the principal end for which He came into the world. He was to give His life a ransom for many. He was to make His soul an offering for sin, and to bear our transgressions in His own body on the tree. He was to give His body and blood for the life of the world. Let us seek to be of the same mind with Christ in our estimate of His death. Let our principal thoughts about Jesus be inseparably bound up with His crucifixion. The corner-stone of all truth concerning Christ is this–that “While we were yet sinners, He died for us.” (Rom. 5:8.)
David Guzik: Taken together, the entire picture is one of great suffering.
· Suffering from the disloyalty of friends.
· Suffering from injustice.
· Suffering from deliberate insult and humiliation.
· Suffering from physical pain.
· Suffering from great humiliation and degradation.
MacArthur: So you go from disloyalty to rejection to humiliation to condemnation, injustice, to bodily injury. And then they nail Him to the cross and that adds more injury, put a crown of thorns on Him, that adds more injury. And death by crucifixion, we all know, was the most horrible way to die. You basically died by asphyxiation when you could no longer push yourself up, being suspended on your great wounds, and catch another breath. One writer says, “Death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of the horrible and the ghastly, dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus, shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of open wounds, breathlessness, all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but stopping short of the point which would give the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness. The unnatural position made every movement painful, the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish. The wounds inflamed by exposure gradually gangrened, the arteries especially at the head and stomach became swollen, compressed with surcharged blood while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing. There was added to them the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst. All these physical complications cause an internal excitement and anxiety and in all this you couldn’t catch your breath.” Add to that the weight and the burden of the soul tortured by men and by God and the proportions of Christ’s sufferings are staggering.
C. (:33b) Promise of the Resurrection
“and the third day He will rise again.”
D. (:34) Perplexity on the Part of the Apostles
“And they understood none of these things, and this saying was hidden from them,
and they did not comprehend the things that were said.”
Deffinbaugh: The amazing thing for me is that even with such a specific prophecy, the disciples had no idea what Jesus was talking about (verse 34). The reason for their lack of understanding is given in our text: the meaning was hidden from them—God deliberately withheld it. They were not ready for it. They would only understand Jesus’ rejection, crucifixion, and death after His resurrection.
J. Ligon Duncan: Even in the wake of Jesus emphasizing the centrality and importance of His death and resurrection, even in the wake of His emphasizing the importance of understanding why He had to die and why He had to be raised again, the disciples do not understand what He saying. They’re clueless.
Requires sovereign grace and the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit for any of us to comprehend the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.