But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Read Chapter 19
Augustine of Hippo
City of God, book xx, ch. 5: Thus our flesh will be regenerated byincorruption, as our soul also shall be regenerated by faith.
From this passage we learn that Jesus will judge with His disciples; whence He says in another place to the Jews, “Therefore shall they be your judges.” .
Serm., 351, 8: In the number of judges therefore are included all that have left their all and followed the Lord.
City of God, book xx, ch. 5: The same holds good, by reason of this number twelve, of those that are to be judged. For when it is said, “Judging the twelve tribes,” yet is not the tribe of Levi, which is the thirteenth, to be exempt from being judged by them; nor shall they judge this nation alone, and not also other nations.
City of God, book xx, ch. 7: That He says, “An hundred fold,” is explained bythe Apostle, when he says, “As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” For a hundred is sometimes put for the whole universe.
Mor., x, 31: For whosoever, urged by the spur of divine love, shall forsake what he possesses here, shall without doubt gain there the eminence of judicial authority; and shall appear as judge with the Judge, for that he now inconsideration of the judgment chastens himself by a voluntary poverty.
The disciples had followed Christ in the regeneration, that is, in the laver of baptism, in the sanctification of faith, for this is that regeneration which the Apostles followed, and which the Law could not bestow.
Because to forsake is not enough, he adds that which makes perfection, “and have followed thee.” We have done what thou commandedst us, what reward wilt thou then give us? What shall we have?”.
He said not only, “Ye who have left all,” for this did the philosopher Crates, and many other who have despised riches, but added, “and have followed me, "which is peculiar to the Apostles and believers.
Or it may be constructed thus, “Ye which have followed me, shall in the regeneration sit;” that is, when the dead shall rise from corruption incorrupt, you also shall sit on thrones of judges, condemning the twelve tribes of Israel, for that they would not believe when you believed.
And that, “And every one that hath forsaken brethren,” agrees with that He had said before, “I am come to set a man at variance with his father.” For they who for the faith of Christ and the preaching of the Gospel shall despise all the ties, the riches, and pleasures of this world, they shall receive an hundred fold...
When He had then raised the spirit of all, and had persuaded them to feel confidence both with respect to themselves and to all the world, He added, that Many that were first shall be last, and last first. But this although it be spoken also without distinction concerning many others likewise, it is spoken also concerning these men and concerning the Pharisees, who did not believe, even as before also He had said, Many shall come from east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out. Matthew 8:11-12
And this is not said that you should sit supinely, and let alone what may seem impossibilities; but considering the greatness of righteousness, you should strive to enter in with entreaty to God.
Hom., lxiv: What was this “all,” O blessed Peter? The reeds, your net, and boat. But this he says, not to call to mind his own magnanimity, but in order to propose the case of the multitude of poor. A poor man might have said, If I have nought, I cannot become perfect. Peter therefore puts this question that you, poor man, may learn that you are in nothing behind. For he had already received the kingdom of heaven, and therefore secure of what was already there, he now asks for the whole world. And see how carefully he frames his question after Christ’s requirements: Christ required two things of a rich man, to give what he had to the poor, and to follow Him; wherefore he adds, “and have followed thee.”.
He therefore said not the Gentiles and the whole world, but, the “tribes of Israel,” becaus...
But because many with what zeal they take up the pursuit of virtue, do not with the same complete it; but either grow cool, or fall away rapidly; it follows, "But many that are first shall be last, and the last first.”
. Christ is suggesting here the Jews and the Gentiles. For the Jews, who were first, became last, while the Gentiles, who were last, were put first. But so that you might clearly understand and learn what this means, He adds the following parable.