Then answered Peter and said to him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed you; what shall we have therefore?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Behold, we have forsaken.—The question betrayed the thoughts that had been working in the minds of the disciples, and of which, as was his wont, St. Peter made himself the spokesman. They had complied with their Master’s commands. What were they to have as the special reward to which they were thus entitled? It is obvious that in asking for that reward they showed that they had complied with the letter only, not with the spirit, of the command. They had not in the true sense of the word, denied themselves, though they had forsaken the earthly calling and the comforts of their home; and they were dwelling on what they had done, as in itself giving them a right to compensation.Matthew 19:27-28. Then answered Peter — With some warmth and confidence; Behold, we have forsaken all — We have done what this youth, hopeful as he seemed, had not the resolution to do; for though indeed we had not much, we have left all the little that we had, and have at all adventures followed thee with the sincerest zeal and affection. What shall we have therefore? — It seems Peter was ready to think that their labour was lost, because they were to have no recompense on earth, and that his stewardship, the office which he supposed his Master had promised him under the metaphor of the keys of the kingdom, was likely to be of little service to him. Jesus said, Ye which have followed me in the regeneration — During this time and state of things, in which men are to be regenerated and created anew by the gospel, and the earth is to be renewed in righteousness. Mr. Fleming paraphrases the verse thus: “You, my apostles, who have followed me in this new state of the church, which is to be brought to the birth when I am to ascend to heaven, shall be to the whole Christian Church what the twelve heads of the tribes were of old to the whole Jewish nation: my followers shall appeal to your decisions, as the rule of their faith and practice.” But, it seems, the expression, εν τη παλιγγενεσια, ought rather to be connected with what follows; the sense then will be, In the renovation, namely, the final renovation, or restitution of all things, Acts 3:21, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory — Exalted above the highest angels of God, and presiding over and judging the assembled world; ye also shall sit — In the beginning of the judgment they shall stand; (2 Corinthians 5:10.) Then, being absolved, they shall sit with the Judge: (1 Corinthians 6:2 :) on twelve thrones — So our Lord promised, without expressing any condition: yet, as absolute as the words are, it is certain there is a condition implied, as in many scriptures where none is expressed. In consequence of this, these twelve did not sit on those twelve thrones: for the throne of Judas another took, so that he never sat thereon. Judging the twelve tribes of Israel — Concurring joyfully with me in the sentence which will then be passed on the Jewish nation, and on all the professed members of my church, as they have been sincere or faithless in their profession, and in the observance of those laws which you, by authority from me, shall have given them.
But they were their all - their living, their home; and, forsaking them, they had as really shown their sincerity as though they had possessed the gold of Ophir and lived in the palaces of kings.
For the exposition, see on Lu 18:18-30.See Poole on "Matthew 19:28".
behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee. Though their worldly substance was not so large as the young man's, they had not such estates to sell, nor that to give to the poor, he had; yet all that they had they left for Christ's sake, their parents, wives, children, houses, and worldly employments, by which they supported themselves and families; and became the disciples and followers of Christ, embraced his doctrines, submitted to his commands, imitated him in the exercise of grace, and discharge of duty, denying themselves, and suffering many hardships on his account: wherefore it is asked,Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 19:27. Peter’s question is suggested by the behaviour of that young man (hence ἀποκρ., see note on Matthew 11:25), who left Jesus rather than part with his wealth. The apostles had done quite the contrary (ἡμεῖς placed emphatically at the beginning, in contrast to the young man).
ἀφήκαμεν πάντα] employment, the custom-house, worldly things generally. It is therefore a mistake to suppose that the disciples were still pursuing their former avocations while labouring in the service of Jesus (not to be proved from John 21:3 ff.). See Fritzsche, ad Mark. p. 441.
τί ἄρα ἔσται ἡμῖν] ἄρα: in consequence of this. The question has reference to some special compensation or other by way of reward; but as to the form in which it is to be given, it leaves that to be explained by Jesus in His reply. In spite of the terms of the passage and the answer of Jesus, Paulus incorrectly explains thus: what, therefore, will there be for us still to do? Similarly Olshausen: what is awaiting us? Are we, too, to be called upon yet to undergo such a test (as the young man had just been subjected to)? In Mark 10:28 and Luke 18:28 it is not expressly asked, τί ἄρα ἔσται ἡμῖν; but the question is tacitly implied in the words of Peter (in answer to Neander, Bleek), as reported by those evangelists, while Matthew appears to have gleaned it from Mark.Matthew 19:27-30. A reaction (Mark 10:28-31; Luke 18:28-30).27–30. The Claim of the Disciples
Mark 10:28-31. Luke 18:28-30.
27. what shall we have therefore] Peter, still not perfect in the Spirit of Christ, suggests a lower motive for following Christ. The answer of Christ shews that all true sacrifice shall have its reward, but all that looks like sacrifice is not really such, therefore “Many that are first shall be last.” Among the Twelve there was a Judas.Matthew 19:27. Εἷπεν, said) in all simplicity.—ἡμεῖς, we) not like that rich man.—πάντα, all things) His few things are as much all to the workman, as his many things to the satrap.—τί ἄρα ἔσται ἡμῖν; what therefore shall there be for us?) Our Lord replies by ἑκατονταπλασίονα λήψεται, he shall receive an hundredfold, in Matthew 19:29, and δώσω, κ.τ.λ., I will give, etc., in ch. Matthew 20:4; Matthew 20:2; Matthew 20:7, etc.—ἡμῖν, for us) sc. in the kingdom of God.Verse 27. - Then answered Peter. This was not so much a reply to any direct word of Jesus, as to the general purport of his late utterances. He had intimated that self-renunciation was the passport to eternal life; that a just reward awaited those who gave up all for Jesus' sake. This, Peter says, is exactly what the apostles had done. We have forsaken all, and followed thee. It was not much that they had left, but it was all they had, their whole means of subsistence, old habits, old associations, to which the poor cling as tenaciously as the wealthy. All this, at a simple word of Christ, they had relinquished unreservedly, without regret or complaint. They had reduced themselves to the condition which Christ had enjoined. What shall we have therefore? The question showed the usual ignorance of the nature of the kingdom of Messiah. Peter is thinking chiefly of temporal advancement and promotion, of success and dignity in an earthly realm. Even after their Master's crucifixion and resurrection they had asked, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). It was not till after the effusion of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that their imperfect view was corrected, and they understood what Christ meant when he said, "My kingdom is not of this world." But what a revulsion of feeling must have taken place in those who a few minutes before had despairingly thought that salvation was unattainable, and now asked what their reward would be for the sacrifices which they had made! The older commentators have regarded Peter's inquiry as referring to eternal life after death, to which their acts had given them a claim. But it must be remembered that the Jews had very vague ideas about the beatified state in the other world, which, as many thought, was to be inaugurated at the close of the Messianic era, and which others put off indefinitely to the unknown day of judgment. It was never generally and popularly anything more than an uncertain hope, and was not regarded as a stimulant to life and action on earth. While, on the other hand, the terrestrial proceedings of the Messiah were a subject of the keenest expectation, and the ground of national aspirations. It is not probable that the apostles' notions had at this time risen superior to the popular view. Peter's question, therefore, was doubtless prompted by the national conception of Messiah's reign.
Emphatic, in contrast with the young ruler.
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