Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Even though he tried to return the money he is still one of the most infamous characters in Scripture. His name is used as an insult hurled at one who is a traitor or turncoat. We despise Judas because of what he did to Jesus. Like you, I struggle to entertain any kind thought about the man who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. The problem is that there is a little bit of Judas in most people. There is a point at which we are willing to trade our affection for Jesus for something much less valuable. There are times when we could be glorifying Jesus but do not. There is something more compelling in our lives. It’s the Judas gene.
Jesus told two short parables that argue for the priceless value of Christ and his church. In Matthew 13 he spoke of a hidden treasure and a pearl of great price.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:44-46).
Obviously, Jesus is not speaking literally. He is using two figures of speech, the treasure and the pearl, to teach a great lesson on the value of the kingdom. The lesson is just as obvious; attaining the kingdom of Heaven is priceless.
Jesus wasn’t just talking. He meant every word of the parables. Jesus paid for the church, that is, the kingdom, with his own blood (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:12, 14), That blood, his life, poured freely at Calvary. His own life was not too precious to give for his church. This was the church of Matthew 16:18. It was the church of Acts 2:41, 47. We cannot discount the church and say “give me Jesus but keep the church.” The church was so precious to Jesus that he died for it. It should be equally as precious for his people today.The church was so precious to Jesus that he died for it. It should be just as precious for us. Click To Tweet
Do not forget that when we speak of the church or the kingdom of Heaven, we are not speaking in some abstract manner. The church is people. So when we say Jesus died for the church we are saying that Jesus died for people. He died for you and he died for me.
Now let us return to the price of Jesus. No one reading this article would even consider selling Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. But we should ask ourselves if we sell Jesus for far less. What is his price to us?
Would we sell Jesus for the love of a family member? Abraham was prepared to offer his only son whom he loved in order to obey God (Genesis 22:1-14). What incredible faith! What trust! What love of God! In Mark 10:28-31, Peter asked about their journies with Jesus. “What’s in it for us?” He claims to have left everything for Jesus. The Lord’s reply notes that some have left their families for the cause of Christ and that this is an acceptable price to pay. What about you? Would you leave a family for Jesus?
Would we surrender a career for Jesus? Have you ever noticed that all of the Lord’s closest disciples were not wealthy? It is a sharp contrast to the Old Testament when the faithful were extraordinarily wealthy; they were people like Job, Abraham, David and Solomon. Did you also notice that the apostles left their careers? Peter, James and John left fishing. Matthew stopped collecting taxes. Paul left behind a promising career; he was a rising star in Judaism and might have risen to serve in the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Paul notes that all of his earthly glories were nothing compared to Jesus.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11).
Did you catch that? Everything else was a loss compared to Christ.Shouldn't we value Jesus more than any earthly relationship? Click To Tweet
So when we refuse to surrender some petty little habit or desire, let us think of these great men. When we refuse to speak as Jesus with salt-seasoned words; remember those who took the sword for Christ. When we choose to work for cash instead of working for the Lord; let us remember those who gave up everything for Him.(1)
Ask yourself, what is the price of Jesus? You know your price to Him. Shouldn’t we value Jesus more than a treasure or a pearl of great price? Shouldn’t we value Him more than any earthly relationship? The answer is obvious to me. What do you think?
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at preachersstudyblog.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans
- Yes, we must support our families and we must pay our bills, but do you suppose we could do better by not putting ourselves so deeply in debt? Are there times when work is voluntary and we choose to work instead of worship?(↩)