Peter said to Jesus, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’
Peter said to Jesus: Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?
The world in which we live is a world that seems to be constantly seeking ‘value for money’. We like to know what we are getting in return for our outlay, whether that is in the form of labour or cash. This transactional approach to life is demonstrated in Peter’s words to Jesus. Peter responded to Jesus’ call to follow. He left his fishing business and family, and he followed. On the ensuing journey he witnessed great things: Jesus’ teaching and preaching, his miraculous signs, his healing and exorcising. But, despite all of this, today we hear him asking what the disciples might expect as a reward for their commitment and their loyalty.
Today the Church celebrates the conversion of Paul. As Peter was called to spread the Good News among the Jewish nation, so Paul was called to abandon his old life and become an apostle to the Gentiles, everyone who was not Jewish. Both Peter and Paul responded to Jesus’ call, albeit a call that came in dramatically different ways. Their self-sacrificial response brought with it the ultimate reward: an intimate relationship with Christ and eternal life in the nearer presence of their Heavenly Father. Whilst Peter’s question may seem fatuous and inappropriate it could also be viewed as being understandable. Alongside the ultimate rewards that await every faithful disciple lies the path of misunderstanding and persecution. Peter had witnessed the hostility of the religious leaders. Peter had grown up in a world where the weak were oppressed by a brutal military regime. Peter understood just how much he had put at risk, in worldly terms, by responding to Jesus’ call. In this context it may seem reasonable that he asks for reassurance. But … the life of faith is a life of trust. There is no empirical proof to be had. The life of faith is the life that is lived in love and service to all … and without the comfort blanket of a defined ‘bottom line’.
Today we are called to pray for faith. We are called to pray that our faith may be strong enough to confront the opposition of those who do not know Jesus Christ. We are called to pray that we might follow the path laid for us by God in joy and without counting the cost.