< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: The First will be Last and Last will be First

Monday, May 21, 2012

The First will be Last and Last will be First

Mark 10: 28-34 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

In the first part of this passage Jesus tells us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He is telling us to put ourselves in last place. This takes sacrifice. We need to put possessions and even family behind us and everyone else in front of us because not doing so causes competitiveness. Possessions can keep us too busy to do God’s will. They can bog us down.

Jesus also tells us the benefits of putting ourselves in last place. After we make the sacrifices to honor Christ, He promises a reward of a hundred times more than we give up. (In other words a massive amount.) The mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters we will gain are other believers. And we will enjoy them for all eternity. We are also rewarded when we are content with what we have and where we are. We begin to see that these rewards really are for ourselves.

Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We will never lose our reward.

Hebrews 6:10 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

How we live today and what we do with our time, talent and treasure on earth matters for how we are going to be living in Heaven.

Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.

Every time you extend Christ to someone He remembers. He will not forget one act or one attitude.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

This is the second judgment. It’s not designed to punish us, but to reward us for what we did on earth: evangelism, discipleship, ministry. 2 Corinthians 5:11 says Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. WE PERSUADE OTHERS. That’s evangelism.

Verse 30 says something a little odd: He mentions persecution in the list of rewards.

Matthew 5:11-12 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are honored if you are persecuted for Christ’s sake.

Finally, in verses 32 – 34 of Mark 10, Jesus gives us the perfect example of putting oneself last and living sacrificially. He describes His upcoming death. Jesus was in the final days of His life on earth and He put EVERYONE in front of Him:

“For God so loved THE WORLD He gave His only Son.”

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