The greatest reward possible
Assuming you had the necessary skills and the opportunity, what is the biggest earthly prize you would aspire to?
Maybe it’s directing the highest grossing movie of all time…or Quarterbacking your favorite team to a Super Bowl victory…or building a business up from your garage into a global empire…or perhaps you are content to win the lottery and retire to a private island. What would be “the ultimate prize” for you?
How does thinking about this feel? Scary? Overwhelming? Unrealistic?
As those who believe in Jesus for eternal life, we know this present life will continue on with Him into Eternity Future. While there are big dreams and opportunities to be had here and now…we should also wonder if there are eternal opportunities that God has made available to us. In God’s revelation to John, He reveals a big one:
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever.
They will reign.
Those words carry a weight to them, and they should. To reign means that a person has obtained or has been given the authority to rule, to lead, and to preside over the lives of others. While we fully expect Jesus to reign in Heaven and over all creation…John tells us that in addition to Jesus, His servants will reign.
Those words don’t seem to go together, but it is exactly what Christ taught to His disciples.
At one point, Peter struggled with comparing the life he left behind with his choice to follow Jesus as a disciple. He could have believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, continued to work the family business as a fisherman, and still gone to Heaven. What Peter struggled with was seeing the tangible benefits to accepting Christ’s invitation to intimately follow Him in Discipleship, to living his earthly life learning how to imitate Christ. Let’s drop into their conversation:
Then Peter responded to Him, “See, we have left everything and followed You. So what will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Notice that Jesus does not rebuke Peter for asking this kind of “What’s the reward?” question. Jesus replies that there is a reward – a reward of authority – to those who have followed him. Jesus didn’t say that this magnitude of a reward was available to everyone who believes…rather those who will be great at the renewal of all things are those who, after believing, have spent their earthly lives learning how to imitate Christ.
Learning to imitate Christ, the greatest example of a Servant King, is what will qualify His servants to reign forever and ever.
You and I have the necessary skills and the opportunity to do the same. Will we follow Christ now so that we, too, can become Servant Kings in eternity future?