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Eternal life is sacrificially following

Eternal life is sacrificially following
Matthew 19:16-28.

One of my favourite kids' exercises is the marshmallow test. Kids are given a marshmallow and left in a room. If they can wait for some time, they get more. You see kids staring, sniffing, poking and doing all sorts to the marshmallow. The point is to teach kids to wait for a better reward in the face of instant gratification.

In the passage, Jesus gives a marshmallow test to a rich man, and he begins sniffing, poking - he gets sad! And it also made Jesus' disciples greatly astonished. Why was this? Because the gospel pattern of life will always look nothing like what the world calls living.

Eternal life looks like sacrifice in the now for a future reward!

  • A Present Sacrifice. (16-26)
The rich man asks what good thing he must do to have eternal life (16). Jesus responds: only God is good; keep His commands (17). But the man replies, (paraphrased) "I am good too" with his list of good things (18-20). But quite quickly, we see that that is untrue, and he goes home sad (21-22). And the disciples are greatly astonished that Jesus counted this man's great wealth as nothing (25).

We see that the goodness he needed was all in sacrificially following Jesus (21). Faith in the Good One (17). Not a list of works.

It is impossible to attain eternal life on our merit, Jesus points out. It is only possible with God (26). God does this only through Jesus when we follow Him (21).

  • A Future Reward. (27-30)
Peter asks Jesus: what will there be for us - who have left everything to follow You? (27, Matthew 4:18-20). Jesus promises Peter and His apostles that they will reign on the new earth with Him (28).

And Jesus promises that all believers who have sacrificed for His sake "will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." (29)

He ends, "But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." (30) - those who sacrificed to follow Him - who stored up heavenly rather than earthly treasure will be first (21). There is a future reward of an indescribably satisfying eternal life for those who sacrificially follow Jesus now. And our sacrifice is noting compared to the glory of that future reward (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Reflect & Pray
What has it cost you to follow Jesus? And how does the future reward encourage you to keep following Him?
Thank you, Father that only you are good. And in your goodness, you hold a reward for all who follow Jesus.

God bless you exceedingly,
Sam.

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