(Mark 10:29, 30)
Warren E. Berkley
“And Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life’,” (Mark 10:29,30, New King James).
In the study of this passage, the first thing that should demand our attention is the context. Peter was interested in the rewards he and his companions would have. He made the statement, “See, we have left all and followed You.” Jesus, in these words of Mark 10:29,30, was responding to Peter’s statement.
Jesus had, on several occasions, warned His disciples of the sacrifices they would be called upon to make, and the hardships they would pass through (Mark 8:34-38). Some, in order to follow Christ, would have to leave their possessions and/or their people. But He assured them, they would be repaid “a hundredfold now in this time.. .and in the age to come, eternal life.” So, there would be necessary sacrifices to make; and, “with persecutions.” Yet, the sacrifice and persecution would be worthwhile. In Luke’s account the words are: “…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 everlasting life,” (Lk. 18:29,30).
There is no difficulty with Mark 10:29,30 unless you construe the language literally! Let’s look at the trouble we get into, when we assume a literal meaning. “A hundredfold” means (literally) a hundred times. Now, if I have one house, but I leave that one house to follow Christ, what do I have?? A hundred houses! Wow, this is great! The literal (and materialistic) interpretation of this passage would lead many to Christ – but you would have real estate investors, not Christians.
But let’s try that again. If I have one wife, but I leave her to follow Christ, guess what the literal approach says I have? That’s right – 100 wives! It should be sufficiently clear, the literal interpretation of Mark 10:29,30 is unacceptable.
Here’s an approach that will work, and harmonize with the context perfectly: The people and possessions of verse 29 are literal, but the people and possessions of verse 30 are spiritual in nature!
To say that another way: That which you may have to give up is physical; but, that which you receive is spiritual – and, many times greater!
In the centuries since Christ’s death, many dedicated disciples have found fulfillment on these words in their own lives. They have had to leave their people and possessions in order to follow Christ. But, for every fleshly relationship lost – they gained hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ; for every alienated parent – hundreds in God’s family to care for them; for every possession lost – spiritual blessings, many times greater.
Related to this:
“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” (Heb. 10:32-35)