Matthew 19:27
(27) Behold, we have forsaken.--The question betrayed the thoughts that had been working in the minds of the disciples, and of which, as was his wont, St. Peter made himself the spokesman. They had complied with their Master's commands. What were they to have as the special reward to which they were thus entitled? It is obvious that in asking for that reward they showed that they had complied with the letter only, not with the spirit, of the command. They had not in the true sense of the word, denied themselves, though they had forsaken the earthly calling and the comforts of their home; and they were dwelling on what they had done, as in itself giving them a right to compensation.

Verse 27. - Then answered Peter. This was not so much a reply to any direct word of Jesus, as to the general purport of his late utterances. He had intimated that self-renunciation was the passport to eternal life; that a just reward awaited those who gave up all for Jesus' sake. This, Peter says, is exactly what the apostles had done. We have forsaken all, and followed thee. It was not much that they had left, but it was all they had, their whole means of subsistence, old habits, old associations, to which the poor cling as tenaciously as the wealthy. All this, at a simple word of Christ, they had relinquished unreservedly, without regret or complaint. They had reduced themselves to the condition which Christ had enjoined. What shall we have therefore? The question showed the usual ignorance of the nature of the kingdom of Messiah. Peter is thinking chiefly of temporal advancement and promotion, of success and dignity in an earthly realm. Even after their Master's crucifixion and resurrection they had asked, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). It was not till after the effusion of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that their imperfect view was corrected, and they understood what Christ meant when he said, "My kingdom is not of this world." But what a revulsion of feeling must have taken place in those who a few minutes before had despairingly thought that salvation was unattainable, and now asked what their reward would be for the sacrifices which they had made! The older commentators have regarded Peter's inquiry as referring to eternal life after death, to which their acts had given them a claim. But it must be remembered that the Jews had very vague ideas about the beatified state in the other world, which, as many thought, was to be inaugurated at the close of the Messianic era, and which others put off indefinitely to the unknown day of judgment. It was never generally and popularly anything more than an uncertain hope, and was not regarded as a stimulant to life and action on earth. While, on the other hand, the terrestrial proceedings of the Messiah were a subject of the keenest expectation, and the ground of national aspirations. It is not probable that the apostles' notions had at this time risen superior to the popular view. Peter's question, therefore, was doubtless prompted by the national conception of Messiah's reign.

19:23-30 Though Christ spoke so strongly, few that have riches do not trust in them. How few that are poor are not tempted to envy! But men's earnestness in this matter is like their toiling to build a high wall to shut themselves and their children out of heaven. It should be satisfaction to those who are in a low condition, that they are not exposed to the temptations of a high and prosperous condition. If they live more hardly in this world than the rich, yet, if they get more easily to a better world, they have no reason to complain. Christ's words show that it is hard for a rich man to be a good Christian, and to be saved. The way to heaven is a narrow way to all, and the gate that leads into it, a strait gate; particularly so to rich people. More duties are expected from them than from others, and more sins easily beset them. It is hard not to be charmed with a smiling world. Rich people have a great account to make up for their opportunities above others. It is utterly impossible for a man that sets his heart upon his riches, to get to heaven. Christ used an expression, denoting a difficulty altogether unconquerable by the power of man. Nothing less than the almighty grace of God will enable a rich man to get over this difficulty. Who then can be saved? If riches hinder rich people, are not pride and sinful lusts found in those not rich, and as dangerous to them? Who can be saved? say the disciples. None, saith Christ, by any created power. The beginning, progress, and perfecting the work of salvation, depend wholly on the almighty power of God, to which all things are possible. Not that rich people can be saved in their worldliness, but that they should be saved from it. Peter said, We have forsaken all. Alas! it was but a poor all, only a few boats and nets; yet observe how Peter speaks, as if it had been some mighty thing. We are too apt to make the most of our services and sufferings, our expenses and losses, for Christ. However, Christ does not upbraid them; though it was but little that they had forsaken, yet it was their all, and as dear to them as if it had been more. Christ took it kindly that they left it to follow him; he accepts according to what a man hath. Our Lord's promise to the apostles is, that when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, he will make all things new, and they shall sit with him in judgement on those who will be judged according to their doctrine. This sets forth the honour, dignity, and authority of their office and ministry. Our Lord added, that every one who had forsaken possessions or comforts, for his sake and the gospel, would be recompensed at last. May God give us faith to rest our hope on this his promise; then we shall be ready for every service or sacrifice. Our Saviour, in the last verse, does away a mistake of some. The heavenly inheritance is not given as earthly ones are, but according to God's pleasure. Let us not trust in promising appearances or outward profession. Others may, for aught we know, become eminent in faith and holiness.Then answered Peter and said unto him,.... Peter observing what Christ said to the young man, bidding him sell all that he had, and give to the poor, and he should have treasure in heaven, and come and follow him, lays hold on it, and addresses him in the following manner,

behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee. Though their worldly substance was not so large as the young man's, they had not such estates to sell, nor that to give to the poor, he had; yet all that they had they left for Christ's sake, their parents, wives, children, houses, and worldly employments, by which they supported themselves and families; and became the disciples and followers of Christ, embraced his doctrines, submitted to his commands, imitated him in the exercise of grace, and discharge of duty, denying themselves, and suffering many hardships on his account: wherefore it is asked,

what shall we have therefore? what reward for all this? what part in the Messiah's kingdom? or what treasure in heaven?

Matthew 19:26
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