Are you worth a lot?
Bill Gates is worth a lot. He’s worth $86 billion, roughly.
Your friend is worth a lot. She gets lots of likes on Instagram.
Your teammate is worth a lot. She helped score that big win two months ago. She got to hold the big, shiny cup on stage. You didn’t.
Your childhood rival is worth a lot. She got that Oxbridge interview.
The class genius is worth a lot. She keeps getting top marks. I mean, she works hard, but so do you, and she doesn’t work that much harder than you. And you’re stuck with 78%.
Or maybe you’re worth a lot.
Your parents serve your every need. You get the top marks. You score the big wins. You make those big, impressive interviews. You’re worth a lot because you’re awesome, because you work hard. Why else would all of this come to you?
But let me ask you – what happens when you break your perfect string of wins? What happens when you fail your first test? What happens when you get that nice interview, and you bomb it?
Or what if you never get those top marks, no matter how hard you try? What if you never get to hold that big, shiny cup? What if you get stuck with a low-end job? What if your friends start ditching you one by one?
How much are you worth then?
That’s one way to look at worth. But what if I told you that you are worth so much that it got someone killed? That that someone didn’t want to die, but he did it anyway because of you?
Because at Gethsemane we see Jesus do something for the first and only time in his entire life. He was about to die, he knew he was being asked to die, and he did this: he asked his Father if they could do it some other way.
He didn’t want to die. He didn’t want to die for our sins.
Let that sink in for a minute. To paraphrase Matt Mikalatos in The First Time We Saw Him, we have this image of Jesus cheerfully, happily taking up his cross. There’s a great, big smile on his face because that’s his thing, right? He’s supposed to be nice. He’s supposed to save us. That’s his job.
He was scared. He was so scared. The man who faced down roaring mobs; the man who walked into Jerusalem knowing the religious men wanted to murder him; the man who gave up his entire life and all his family because he had to do what God wanted him to do –
He was so scared. Scared enough to ask his Father if there was another way to do it.
Do you see what you’re worth? That’s you at stake. That’s you hanging in the balance.
Jesus loved himself – but he loved his Father more, he knew his Father wasn’t being cruel or stupid by sending him to the cross; he loved his Father, he trusted his Father. This was the only way.
Jesus loved himself – but he loved you more. He saw you; and you; and you; and you; and me. He saw you without the top marks. He saw you with the top marks. He saw you being scolded. He saw you curling up into a ball while your parents argue. He saw you skipping a meal. He saw you making that big win. He saw you staring with envy at the big, shiny cup. He saw you wishing you had that nice interview lined up. He saw you helping your friend with her homework. He saw you lying your way to success. He saw you stabbing your friend in the back. He saw you getting stabbed in the back, trying to be nice in return, and then failing, and being mean instead. He saw you in Gethsemane.
And he said yes.
Yes to his Father. Yes to you. Yes to me. Yes to bringing us back home – even if that meant he had to die.
No to himself. No to staying alive.
He said yes to the cross – yes to the nails, yes to the spikes crunching through his bones, yes to the jeers, the spit, the laughter. Yes to being stripped and torn, yes to being strung up like a piece of bleeding meat. Yes to becoming that thing that you point and laugh at – what a loser. What a godforsaken, cursed thing.
Don’t you see?
That’s what you’re worth. You were worth that. You are worth that. You are worth royal blood. So please, please, don’t measure your worth in things. Money. Fame. Job. Awards. Addictions. Smarts. Looks. Popularity. You are worth so, so much more than these things, these cheap things.
These things, these desperately cheap things – they won’t say yes to you. They won’t die for you. They won’t give themselves to you, again and again. They’ll make you give yourself to them. They’ll make you say yes to them. They’ll make you die for them. And – to quote Tim Keller – if you fail them, they will never forgive you. And you’ll never forgive yourself.
These things, these desperately cheap things – don’t put your worth there. And don’t put your worth in a cheap, fake, smiling Jesus who died for you because it’s his job. You are worth so, so much. His blood is worth so, so much. And you are worth royal blood. It cost so much to bring you home from darkness. But you are home, and things are gonna be ok. You are so precious. You just don’t see it yet.
Know this – all of you. And let this truth do new things in your life. Let it change your life. Let it change where you go, what you say, what you dream. You are worth royal blood.