By   •   July 27, 2005   •   Topics:


What did Jesus mean when He said somewhere that the people who were last would become first, or something like that? I gather that He was talking about heaven, but I'm not sure what He meant.


Yes, Jesus was talking about heaven when He spoke these words, and He actually used this expression on several occasions. In Matthew, for example, He told His disciples that “many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (Matthew 19:30).

Jesus spoke this immediately after a very wealthy young man came to Him and asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. As Jesus talked with him, it became clear that the man was not only rich and powerful, but also very moral and religious. When Jesus listed many of the Ten Commandments, the man could truthfully reply, “All these I have kept” (Matthew 19:20).

But Jesus looked beneath the surface of the man’s life and saw what was going on in his heart: He was driven by greed and covetousness. When Jesus challenged him to give up his wealth and become a disciple, “he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Matthew 19:22). He had obeyed every one of the Ten Commandments except the last: “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17). Tragically, his wealth and power meant more to him than God.

Jesus’ words are a solemn warning to us that earthly success will not get us into heaven. In fact, it can get in the way by blinding us to our own sin. Only Christ can save us, and no matter who we are, we need to give our lives to Him. Are you trusting Him alone for your salvation?

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  1. Edgar kelson says:

    I watched your dad for years. I learned a lot. Thanks for your teaching of the Word.

  2. Agustin Paz says:

    I have read this many times and wondered what it meant. I can now understand what it meant by your explanation. Thank you

  3. Danny says:

    i need prayer

  4. Danny says:

    Please pray for me – I am 64, divorced, alone, and hurting. Please.

    1. BGEA says:

      Hi Danny, we’re very sorry to hear that you are feeling hurt and alone. We’ve asked our Christian Response team to be praying for you and to reach out via email. You can also email or chat with someone at if you are feeling alone. A trained chat coach is ready to pray with you and try to answer spiritual questions you may have. We are with you in prayer. Most importantly, God is with you and always has been, and He loves you. God bless you as you cast your cares on Him. -BGEA team

  5. Sharon Schappell says:

    Thank you for the wonderful insight. God bless your ministry!

  6. Stephanie simpson says:

    Father placed this on my heart one early morning recently.

  7. Bro Ken says:

    The Lord treats us all the same

    1. Jermaine says:

      Bro Ken please elaborate. Understand that I am a black man 30 years of age and I have been exposed to unfair treatment far too many times in my life

  8. Ardelia Johnson says:

    I traveled to Pretoria, South Africa and hear a voice in my ear say, “Don’t be afraid.” Before I heard the voice, I was praying to Jesus to take the fear of flying around the world for my job. As I got up from my knees, I felt a warmness come over me, felt wax being moved in my ear and felt like crying. This voice clearly was Christ, my Savior. This experience taught me that: “His sheep will hear his voice,” correct?