I Look What We have Forsaken
In the previous incident Jesus told the rich young man to sell all he had and follow Him. This was exactly what the disciples had done, as expressed by Peter. We have left everything to follow You! What then will there be for us? Whereas the young ruler did not leave his possessions (v. 22), Peter and the other disciples had (4:18–22; 9:9; cf. 16:25). Surely then, Peter reasoned, God would bless them for they were not trusting in their wealth!
“What shall we have?” Peter’s self-life was showing, the old nature reasserting itself. It was a spirit each of us must guard against. He was bargaining with the Lord.
Yet Jesus does not castigate his disciples for being mercenary: they have made sacrifices and deserve an answer. But what he says—that the blessing to come, whether belonging exclusively to the Twelve at the renewal (19:28) or to all believers now (vv. 29–30), far surpasses any sacrifice they might make implies that it is a gentle rebuke.
II Look Where You will Sit
The Lord assured Peter that everything done for Him would be rewarded handsomely. As to the twelve specifically, they would have places of authority in the Millennium. The regeneration refers to Christ’s future reign on earth; it is explained by the expression, “when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory.” We have previously referred to this phase of the kingdom as the kingdom in manifestation. At that time the twelve will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Rewards in the NT are closely linked with positions of administration in the Millennium (see Luke 19:17, 19). They are awarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but manifested when the Lord returns to earth to reign.
As to believers in general, Jesus added that all who have left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for His sake shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. In this life, they enjoy a world-wide fellowship of believers that more than compensates for severed earthly ties. For the one house they leave, they receive a hundred Christian homes where they are warmly welcomed. For lands or other forms of wealth forsaken, they receive spiritual riches beyond reckoning.
The future reward for all believers is eternal life. This does not mean that we earn eternal life by forsaking all and sacrificing. Eternal life is a gift and cannot be earned or merited. Here the thought is that those who forsake all are rewarded with a greater capacity for enjoying eternal life in heaven. All believers will have that life but not all will enjoy it to the same extent.