I had to review the math to be certain. A 100% return on a $10 investment earns you $10. One hundred times $10 is $1,000, which works out to a 10,000% return. So, when Jesus says that those who lose everything to follow him will receive “a hundredfold” (Mark 10:28-31) he is promising a 10,000% return on our kingdom investment.
Yet some don’t benefit from the consolation provided here because we are too busy working out a mathematical formula: so your brother shunned you because you proclaim the gospel; Jesus promises to give us 100 times what we lose; therefore I should receive 100 brothers. Which means that you will likely be adopted into the Duggar family and five or six more like it.
What Jesus is telling his followers is that we will receive a real consolation for the loss of material things and relationships in this life.
Will that consolation be a direct replacement of the thing lost (plus 100 more)?
When believers leave brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers and children for Christ, we receive much more. The number of our spiritual family members has multiplied exponentially. We are adopted into God’s family of believers everywhere. And if this is to be a real consolation, believers must ACT like family to other believers.
When believers lose houses for Christ, we receive the hospitality and welcome and even potentially places to sleep from our new family in Christ. If this, too, should be a real consolation, believers must be willing to share their homes with others.
When believers lose lands for Christ, we receive a kingdom with branch offices in every nation on earth. To be a real consolation, we must welcome fellow believers from other nations to our own.
And what of “persecutions”? Jesus tests our “name the term that doesn’t fit” abilities and throws “persecutions” in with brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, land and houses. Why is receiving persecutions a consolation for those who have lost everything? Isn’t persecution just one aspect of losing everything?
The student is not greater than his teacher. Persecutions prove that we are part of Christ’s body. Persecutions demonstrate to us that the losing was not in vain. Persecutions prove that what we gain through Christ is infinitely better than what we lose because of Christ.