Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
In a sense Jesus seems to be speaking in double talk when he mentions that his disciples will receive hundredfold blessings with persecutions. Such is the nature of hyperbole. In reality, following God has no assurances because faith involves risk. When we leave all to follow God there is a trust involved that says that our discipleship is not based on the outcome. We follow Him in good times and in bad regardless of visible blessings.
The saying "first will be last, and the last first" is spoken by Jesus several times in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke to speak to us of the upside-down nature of the kingdom of God. I believe that the Lord is speaking to us saying that things in the age to come will be different than this age we live in. In that day everything will be turned on end. Rulers will serve and servants will rule. Love, mercy and humility will rule the day.
Thank you Lord for the honor of following you and for the promise of the age to come.