The Gain of Giving Up Everything - Mark 10:28-31

Back to Message Archive


In Mark 10:17-27 we have the story of a man who walked away from Jesus because the cost of following Him seemed too high. The call of Jesus is the same for every person: we are called to give our lives to Him fully and completely. For this man, however, the cost seemed too high and he walked away.

The reality is that call of Jesus is a high calling and for many the choice to follow will require sacrifice. The disciples had given up much to follow Jesus. And yet after the rich young ruler walks away Jesus assures them that all who suffer loss in following Him will receive back far more than they lose. 

The Sacrifice of Following Jesus (10:28-29) 

  • The example of the disciples – Jesus made it clear that following him means being willing to give up everything, and this is what the disciples had done. When Jesus called them they had left everything to follow Him (Mark 1:16-20).
  • The high cost of discipleship – While there are many things that we may have to give up in following Jesus, in verse 29 He lists some of the things that would require the most sacrifice. At this time it wouldn’t have been uncommon for people to be cut off from their family and to lose their home and inheritance in the process. 
  • Counting the cost – As people living when and where we do we may never face the threat of losing our family in following Jesus, but we may.The way of Jesusis offensive to manyand our choice of Christ could cause others to separate from us. The question is, do we love Jesus above all else? Do we love Him more than any pleasure or possession? Do we love Him more than our reputation or status?

The Promise of Provision and Reward For Those Who Follow (10:29-30)

  • While the cost of following Jesus is high, Jesus takes time to assure the disciples that all who suffer loss in following Him will receive back far more than they lose – both now and in the future.
  • The present provision – While many will lose dear relationships in following Jesus, He offers an incredible promise: that there is far more family to be gained than will be lost. When we are united to Christ we are united to all those who are His and thereby gain a large family (Mark 3:31-35). The person who leaves house, lands, and family for Jesus’ sake and for the gospel can do so knowing that they will gain fellowship with other believers and also a welcome in the houses and lands of other believers.
  • With persecution– In the list of blessings for those who follow Jesus there is a seemingly odd addition: persecution. Jesus reminds us that that life in the family of God isn’t without difficulty. As part of the family of God we may be hated by the world. If you leave your family for the sake of the Gospel, you are given a new family – but this new family is a family that expects to face persecution. 
  • The future reward of following Jesus – The ultimate hope of all those who follow Jesus is eternal life, a reward that should change the way we live today. Many of us are guilty of paying far more attention to things that are temporary than we do to eternal things. If we truly understand what awaits us it should free us from the grip that we are tempted to place on things that are temporary (Philippians 1:21-23).
  • He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose. – Missionary Jim Elliot

The Upside-down Kingdom (10:31) 

  • This teaching of Jesus ends with a reminder of how different the ways of God and His Kingdom are from the ways we see the world. God doesn’t look for those who are rich or powerful or beautiful. He looks for those who are humble and full of faith. Many who the world sees as first will miss the Kingdom of God while many who are overlooked by the world will be great in God’s Kingdom.
  • James Edwards[1]–The kingdom of God topples our cherished priorities and demands of disciples new ones. It takes from those who follow Jesus things they would keep, and gives to them things they could not imagine. Those who take their stand on their riches –whatever they be—will have nothing to stand on. Those who give up everything—not only possessions but even people and places, indeed their own lives (8:35)—to follow Jesus will not simply be compensated for their sacrifices but gain a hundred times over with the same, and in the world to come with eternal life.

[1]James Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, General Editor, D.A. Carson, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002