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Matthew 19:27-30

What will those who give up earthly goods for Jesus receive?

Tom Faletti

February 13, 2024

Matthew 19:27-30 The rewards of giving up everything for God


Peter observes that the disciples have left everything behind to follow him.  What does Jesus say they will have “at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne” (19:28, NRSV)?


What does Jesus say that other believers who have left things behind will have in his kingdom?


In verse 29, “a hundredfold” is a metaphor rather than a literal accounting term.  What is “a hundredfold” describing, metaphorically?

A hundredfold might mean an abundance, a richness of life.


If they have left behind houses, brothers and sisters, parents and children, property, what do you think it means to say they will have “a hundredfold” in God’s kingdom?

Perhaps “brothers and sisters” is metaphorically referring to the fellow believers we will have as spiritual brothers and sisters.  It might have a similar meaning for parents and children, but wouldn’t it be awesome to think that I might have some great-great-great-grandparents who might, in heaven, be like parents to me?  The property might stand for the abundance and richness of life that we will experience in heaven.


Jesus concludes in verse 30: “But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (NRSV and NABRE).


In what ways does this passage support the conclusion that “the last will be first”?



Take a step back and consider this:


This incident is part of a series of events in this part of Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus explains what I like to call Jesus's upside-down/downside-up view of life:


  • the greatest must become like a child (18:1-5),

  • God cares as much about the one stray as the 99 who are safe (18:10-14),

  • the prayers of just two or three people can move heaven (18:19-20),

  • forgiveness is not something we can choose to dole out in limited amounts — we are called to forgive to the utmost (18:21-35),

  • men are to be committed to marriage and not find reasons to divorce their wives (19:1-9),

  • the kingdom of heaven belongs to the children, who are the lowest people on the social ladder (19:13-15),

  • wealth is a potential impediment to receiving God's salvation rather than being a sign of God’s favor (19:16-30),

  • the rewards of the kingdom are available to those who come late to Jesus as well as those who (think they) have followed God’s law from the beginning (20:1-16),

  • those who wish to be first must be the servant of all (20:20-28).


Jesus’s perspective is often diametrically opposed to prevailing societal perspectives regarding what is important, or valued, or expected, or right.


If you want to see as God sees, you generally need to train yourself to look at things from the bottom, not the top.  This can be hard for us.  We have to work to see as God sees.  Sometimes we have to force ourselves to see differently than the world has trained us to see.


What is one aspect of your life where you can challenge yourself to see what it looks like from the bottom up, from Jesus’s downside-up perspective?


Why does God choose to take that vantage point?  Can you do the same?  What difference would it make?



Click here for the bibliography.

Copyright © 2024, Tom Faletti (Faith Explored, This material may be reproduced in whole or in part without alteration, for nonprofit use, provided such reproductions are not sold and include this copyright notice or a similar acknowledgement that includes a reference to Faith Explored and See for more materials like this.

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