Our Present Inheritance
“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or
parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake who shall not receive
manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting” (Luke
by Noah Amoo
The very first decision to symbolize consecration through water baptism came with a reward. Our Lord’s words in the theme text were prompted by the young rich ruler’s response after Jesus explained to him what self-denial meant. He had kept all the commandments to the best of his ability since infancy, and yet, he realized he still lacked something. Realizing that the Law could not gain him eternal life was a step in the right direction, though insufficient to gain eternal life. What he lacked was consecration to follow in Jesus’ footsteps — to expend (or devote) all the affluence he had accumulated in God’s service. After counting the cost, he comprehended and decided that it was a task he could not bear at that time.
In his assessment, the young rich ruler may have considered the rustic living conditions of Jesus and the twelve. Perhaps he weighed the simplicity of their daily routines and their social alienation from the powerful and influential of their time and surmised that that was not the life for him. The sadness on his face as he left may have caused a stir among the twelve. Peter’s question to the Master was direct and succinct: What have we to gain after abandoning everything to follow you? After the Master’s resurrection, they realized that there was more to gain than to lose.
Jesus’ proposal to the young ruler was not unbearable though. If the twelve and other disciples could do it, then he could too if he wanted. While Jesus explained the terms of consecration, the twelve might have lingered close by. Perhaps they shared in the conversation, the aftermath of which led to Jesus’ encouragement in our theme text. Many pieces of evidence in the scriptures convince us that other individuals were equally well educated and affluent along earthly lines, like the rich young ruler. However, they were able to take the step of consecration. Luke’s profession as a doctor, Matthew’s as a tax collector, Paul’s training as a Pharisee, and Cornelius’ as a centurion, did not prevent these determined and zealous individuals for giving up their earthly wealth to follow Jesus. For Zacchaeus, it was a privilege and delight to bestow a great amount of his wealth to the poor and afflicted even without the Master’s instruction (Luke 19:8).
Mary Idolized Jesus’ Memorial
Mary’s exceptional devotion to the Master in preparation for his death indicates a clear understanding of the more to be gained after sacrificing all to the Master’s course. Jesus’ love for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus was not only demonstrated by the raising of Lazarus from death but his parable about the favor to be extended to the Gentile nations used the name of his good friend Lazarus (John 11:5, Luke 16:19-31). Lazarus’ fervency to follow Jesus made him a target of the murderous intentions held by the chief priests against the Master (John 12:10, 2).
Martha, perceived to be the elder sister of Mary and Lazarus, was also very devoted to Jesus. She demonstrated her devotion through hospitality and her encounter with Jesus for the first time was based on such service (Luke 10:38). Whenever the Master visited their home, she ensured that he and his followers were well fed and comfortable. Martha’s attitude demonstrates the Apostle’s admonition in Hebrews 13:2. When their younger brother Lazarus died, she seized the opportunity to inquire from the Master the truth about the resurrection. Her absolute faith in Jesus afterward indicates her acceptance of Jesus’ statement, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25-27).
It was, however, Mary’s question similar to that of Martha, and her demeanor, that moved our Lord to shed tears over Lazarus’ death. Not only did Mary share his mother’s name, but she also always paid close attention when the Master spoke — an attitude that got her castigated by her older sister. She listened more, accepted more, and demonstrated more, to be seen by all (Luke 10:40-42).
If Mary prepared the perfume herself, that would have required exceptional skills. If she purchased it, it would have cost her more than a year’s wage (compare Mark 14:5 and Matthew 20:2). What prompted her to expend an ointment worth a year’s wages on the Master’s feet? She used nothing else but her own hair to wipe the Master’s feet. The Apostle Paul explains that a woman’s hair represents her glory, given as a covering (1 Corinthians 11:15). Thus, she submitted her glory with modesty and humility to the Master. What stirred up such intense humility to wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair? Mary was once criticized by Martha for preferring to stay at the feet of Jesus instead of assisting with the hospitality chores. Later she was criticized by the disciples for spending such wealth to anoint the Master’s feet. What was the source of her strength to stand up to both criticisms? Even after the Master was crucified, she with the other Marys and Martha were among the first to visit the master’s tomb.
When Jesus stated that wherever the Gospel would be preached, Mary’s deed of anointing his feet would be mentioned, he was drawing our attention to intense devotion on her part (Mark 14:9). Perhaps Mary had a greater appreciation of the Master’s course even before the holy Spirit came upon all at Pentecost.
Undoubtedly, anyone who consecrates all that they are and have — family, friends, and all other earthly ties for the Kingdom of God’s sake — receives more in this present time. Paul states that they obtain “an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). The joys of our consecration are not future-related only. The Spirit Begotten enjoy blessings in this life that stir them to give all they are and have, in sacrifice to God. Our Heavenly Father’s wealth and riches bestowed on them are immeasurable. And they have His assurance that He will not withhold any good thing from them. “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). We shall consider three of the plenteous riches in relation to the Memorial.
An Inheritance of Forgiveness
To those who are in Christ Jesus and are justified, the Apostle declares that they have been exonerated from all condemnation (Romans 8:1). Since the entire human race was condemned due to Adam’s disobedience, sin, symbolized as miry clay, has remained stuck with them. But as joyfully declared by the Psalmist, Jehovah brought us out of that horrible pit, out of the miry clay, set our feet upon a rock and established our goings! (Psalms 40:2). “And such were some of you: but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
The very basis of our justification is our faith in the blood of Christ as a ransom sacrifice for Adam’s sin which then provides forgiveness of our sins. Since we consecrated all to the Lord, once God has accepted our consecration and applied the merit of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, we are no longer counted as part of those under Adamic condemnation and death. While we remain under the blood, we are promised a sustained justification (1 Peter 1:4, Ephesians 5:5).
An Inheritance of Peace
Having been justified by faith, we now have peace with God. Not the peace the world offers, which is enforced by tyranny and authoritarianism, weapons of mass destruction, and deadly ammunition, but a divine peace with God (Romans 5:1). The serenity and conduciveness which hover around the consecrated make those close to them experience and appreciate divine joy, blessing, and contentedness. Unlike the world, the consecrated are at peace because they are blessed to understand God’s plan of salvation for the world (1 Corinthians 2:9-10); they do not wrestle and contend for worldly riches and pleasures (1 Corinthians 9:25-26); they are content with what they have — for they know how to be abased and how to abound (1 Timothy 6:6-8, Philippians 4:12); they count it joy when they suffer persecution (Matthew 5:10-12); and with wings of eagles
they fly high above all others, looking down on the vicissitudes and cares of the groaning creation (Isaiah 40:31). We must apply the promises of God personally to obtain the peace of God.
An Inheritance of Love and Fellowship
Prominent among the plenteous beautiful riches presented to us by the Father is the communion to love and fellowship. Love, just like Jehovah himself, neither has a beginning nor an end. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? seeing that we the many are one bread, one body: for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 RVIC). Indeed, we live now, not under Adamic condemnation, because of our justification through the blood of Jesus. The privilege to love one other as brethren and to maintain a cordial and friendly relationship among ourselves has kept many from falling into temptations and difficulties which could easily overwhelm us (1 John 3:14). Many who have considered the writer’s words, “Make friends of God’s children,” can testify to this. Indeed, blest be the tie that binds Our hearts in Christian love!
After careful consideration, we happily offered all that we have, are, and could be in the world to the Lord’s service. It would have still been a worthy course had the Lord attached no rewards. Yet we have all these rich inheritances to aid us in securing a crown for ourselves if we remain faithful to death. “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).