Jesus once compared the kingdom of heaven to “a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45,46). Jesus was applying a principle that is generally true in nearly any circumstance, I suppose. The amount of energy or resources one is willing to expend on something generally will be in direct correlation to the value, or worth, he or she places on it. Likewise, one can surmise the worth placed on something by the effort one extends toward it. In other words, what you are willing to pay or to do for something will reveal its value to you.
You and I, my friend, are for Jesus that “pearl of great price.” In essence, he sold all that he had and bought us. Truly, this truth should overwhelm us! “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price,” wrote the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). Peter put it this way: “You know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days. Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory” (1 Peter 1:18-21). Through Jesus you have been given new life! What is that life worth to you? It was and is worth everything to Jesus!
I fear that far too many of us don’t fully value the new life that Christ has purchased for us because we’ve come to take it for granted. Sadly, we may even settle into overly worldly lives because we don’t fully value the new and eternal lives he has gained for us – or, more directly, because we don’t understand how much Jesus’ sacrifice is worth to us, or how much we are worth to Jesus. Unfortunately, this same misguided value system has caused many Christians to lose sight of, or at the very least diminish the importance of, the mission to which he has called us, the worldwide movement to make disciples of all nations. After all, Jesus didn’t die and rise again only for us who already know him. Through his death and resurrection, he purchased new life for all people everywhere.
It’s amazing what some people will do for a new life. Just consider the millions of refugees in our world today who leave everything behind in their home countries, undertake costly and perilous journeys, and then go to extraordinary effort to enter into and adapt to cultures strange and unknown. That’s what they’re willing to do for a new life!
Do we comprehend how much new life means to someone suffering, lost, victimized, or oppressed? To someone spiritually blind or without hope? Indeed, for many of them, new life is worth dying for! Indeed, for Jesus, these people were and are worth dying for! Do we fully appreciate that? How much are they worth to us? What are we willing to do so that they, too, would possess the abundant and eternal life gained for them by the blood of Jesus?
We need not do anything to possess new life in Christ other than believe and trust in him. New life in Jesus is a gift received by faith. It cannot be earned or bought. It can, however, and should, be shared. It is to be hailed, praised and proclaimed! If we truly know its worth, that is what we’ll do. If we value the millions, even billions, of people for whom Jesus died, but who have yet to hear of and receive the new life he won for them, we will exert our energy, tap our resources, lift our prayers, and focus our priorities to the end that they all would hear the gospel.
That all the nations and people of the earth would have the opportunity to receive new life in Jesus! It’s amazing what God has called some of Christ’s followers to do for this to happen. As we pray, he raises them up. They leave everything behind in their home countries, they journey far away, and then go to extraordinary effort to enter into and adapt to cultures strange and unknown. They befriend those who haven’t heard of Jesus and seek to share with them the forgiving love and eternal life that are found in his name. That’s how much those who don’t yet know Jesus are worth to them. And when those new friends come to know Jesus? Priceless.