No sane person would willingly and knowingly follow someone off a cliff, because this goes against the natural instinct of self-preservation. And if we do choose a path of self-sacrifice, there’s usually a higher good we seek to achieve. It could be some benefit we hope to enjoy in the end, an ideal we think is more important than our own life, or a way to help other people.
When a rich young ruler was challenged to give up what he most valued and follow the Lord, he was devastated because the price was too high. From his perspective, such an action was the equivalent of following Jesus off a cliff. He didn’t have eyes to see what Christ was promising him in exchange—treasure in heaven. He was unwilling to sacrifice his earthly security, comfort, and position in order to receive eternal benefits.
In contrast, the disciples had left everything—families, vocations, financial security, and positions in society—to pursue Christ, because they considered their Messiah more valuable. As they watched the rich young man walk away, Jesus assured them that their sacrifice for righteousness’ sake would not be overlooked. They would one day sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel in Christ’s glorious kingdom.
We serve a truly gracious Savior who not only saves unworthy sinners like us but also promises His followers rewards. Some of these benefits are available now in the form of Christ’s peace and joy filling our hearts, and the sweet fellowship of our faith community. But in eternity, He will give us much more than we have ever sacrificed to Him.
Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 1-3