Last or First? - Part 2

September 5, 2021

But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:30).

The above cited text most likely was a common saying among the ancient Jewish people. Jesus repeated these words in Matthew 20:16; Mark 9:35; 10:31; and Luke 13:30. The common saying is a principle of exaltation and humbling. In reference to the rich young man who inquired about eternal life, Jesus pointed out that he, and others like him who were superior in riches and honor, were first in this world according to rank and order but will be the last in the world to come. Those who are last in this world according to rank and order, i.e. the Apostles, who were poor, seemingly insignificant, and hopeless and helpless, will be first in the world to come.

The Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees, who were in the chief place and highest esteem in the Jewish church, would be least in the kingdom of heaven, if they were included at all; when, on the other hand, the tax collectors, sick, diseases, handicapped, and sinners who were on the lowest rung of the social ladder and the least to be honored, would be the first to enter the Kingdom should they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah.

The ultimate example would be the Jews and Gentiles. To the Jews Jesus came first offering them the Kingdom of God and Himself as their Messiah and King of the Kingdom. They rejected and crucified Him. The Gospel then went to the Gentiles, who were hated by the Jews. The principle is repeated in the ministry of the Apostle Paul. It was his practice when entering a town or city, to go to the Jewish synagogue first and offer the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jews. Almost 100% of the time he was met with resistance and treated with contempt by the Jews. He then went to the Gentiles with the same Gospel. They almost always, with few exceptions, received his witness gladly.

That this prediction of the Lord has been literally fulfilled, the present state of the Christian and Jewish churches proves overwhelmingly. To illustrate this fully, and to demonstrate that the Jews and Gentiles were now put on an equal footing by the Gospel, Jesus spoke The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). The Jews were first to be offered the Kingdom but will come into the Kingdom last. The Gentiles were last to be offered the Kingdom but have come into the Kingdom first. The Gospel is offered to all who will hear, but only the humble in heart believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will enter His Kingdom.

“Lord Jesus, this is a humbling lesson to learn and maintain. It is clearly understood that those who give up this life for Your sake will gain the Kingdom, and those who hold on to this life will lose the Kingdom. But we tend to lose sight of that principle of humility after coming into the Kingdom. Many are the churchmen and women who have become haughty and shameless in their arrogance and pride, making a name for themselves, and creating their own little kingdoms. Remind me Lord to maintain a humble spirit before You, for I acknowledge I am nothing without You. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”


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