Wednesday

“Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” (v. 27)

Matthew 19:27-30 Wednesday 13 November 2019

Psalm: Psalm 110

Background

Continuing this very bitty exploration of a single encounter and its implication, we begin with Peter’s heartfelt question. His desperate plea for some reassurance seems very distant from where we are, the radical difficulty of what Jesus was asking and saying has been smoothed out over 2000 years. We could keep repeating verse 27 to ourselves until it begins to penetrate, either for us, or to have some idea of what Peter was going through when he said it. Though we can also see it as a narrative device, setting Jesus up for his pronouncement. I urge all readers not to take this literally, though it’s not clear how it could be taken literally. To do so would be to fall into the trap set by so many of Jesus’ challengers.

Jesus is not especially literal when he explains things, the drama is radical disruption through literary descriptions. However, crystallising it into a simple one liner also flattens out the impact. Note that he calls it “renewal” (v. 28). This is restoration or reconstruction, turning things on their head, as we would expect, with his great unsettling line, “many who are first will be last, and the last will be first". We need to be extremely wary of being first, and our history and theology may have a tendency of allowing us to think that we are.

 

To Ponder:

  • How unsettling do you find “many who are first will be last, and the last will be first”?
  • When do you want to say – we left everything and what have we received in return?
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