We Have Left All To Follow You
Peter said to Jesus in Luke 18:28, “We have left all and followed you.”
Many of the disciples who followed Jesus were businessmen, had jobs, and had family obligations they were responsible for. So when Peter said to Jesus, “We have left all to follow you,” this was a legitimate concern of many of His disciples.
If they followed Him, how would they be compensated for their time away from their families, jobs and businesses?
This was not only a major concern for His disciples then, it is a major concern of His disciples today.
The bible says, “If a man doesn’t work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thess 3:10) (My paraphrase of that verse is:) Any man who squanders his time pursuing foolish things can’t support his family and his business will go belly up.
So the answer Jesus gave the rich ruler was of the utmost importance to Peter and prompted him to state his concern. Jesus responded to his concern in verse 29, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
I want to focus on the words ‘no one’, the ‘kingdom of God’, and ‘who shall not receive many times more in this present time.’ The words, ‘no one’ are self explanatory and means no one, not one single person, rich or poor, black or white, American or any other nationality who shall not receive many times more in this present time if they are willing to forsake all they own, their friends, family, or anything else I may have overlooked, to pursue the kingdom of God with all of their heart. If we are not receiving many times more than what we gave up… have we really ‘forsaken all’ for the kingdom of God because it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than it is for God’s Word not to come to pass. (Matthew 24:35)
There are two groups of people in the church, “Some give all, and some give nothing.” The ones who ‘give all for the kingdom of God’ are on the way up the ladder of God’s promised blessing. They may be just starting out, or they may be half way up the ladder, or they may be near the top, but wherever they are on the ladder God’s promises are being fulfilled in their life, and sooner or later people will start seeing the results of their progress.
Those who ‘give nothing’ are still fighting the same battles they were years ago. For them nothing has changed or will change.
This conversation with the disciples of Jesus began shortly after a ‘certain ruler’ had asked Him, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded to the man, “Sell all you own and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” What this man wanted from Jesus was to be assured he had eternal life. Instead, Jesus told him he was coming up short and what he had to do and left it up to the rich man to make his choice. The rich man didn’t like the answer Jesus gave him so he went away very sorrowful. (My paraphrase of Luke 18:18-23)
The rich ruler responded like all selfish people do in that he looked upon what belonged to God and began to think of it as his own; and when a person views things as belonging to them… they are less likely to share it with anyone else. The second thing this rich ruler did not understand was that God had given him this great wealth, and if he was willing to give it away to help those who couldn’t help themselves God would have given him many times more than what he currently possessed. We can verify this by reading Psalm 24:1 which tells us, Everything in heaven and on earth belongs to the Lord. So the only reason the rich ruler had his great wealth was because God had released the blessing to get wealth upon him. (Deuteronomy 8:18)
Now according to the scriptures I have used; Can we honestly say, “We have ‘forsaken all’ to follow Jesus?” Or, are we like the rich ruler who wanted to inherit eternal life, but only if eternal life came on his terms?
This rich man did not become rich because he was a dummy. He knew how to make money and he knew we come into this world with nothing, and go out the same way.
So, if Jesus told him the only thing preventing him from receiving eternal life was his possessions which he couldn’t take with him when he died, why wouldn’t he go all the way and do what Jesus instructed him to do, instead of going away sorrowful? And why would a person so close to receiving eternal life be so willing to forfeit his eternal soul for something that was temporary and he couldn’t take with him anyway? Does it make sense to you? It doesn’t make sense to me.
God has not changed since Jesus talked with the rich ruler. His requirements to inherit eternal life are the same now as they were then. The requirements are to, ‘Forsake all and follow Him’, or ‘keep what we have and lose our soul’. Just as Jesus gave the rich ruler a choice; He gives us one as well. I pray we all make the right choice. Eternity is a long time. DThrash