What is knowing Jesus Christ worth to you?
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 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.
As we prepare for our Celebration of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection from the dead and the new life and hope we have because of Him, these words from Pastor Paul have been running through my mind.
Pastor Paul, throughout his writings, describes all of the things that were most important to him throughout his life. His zeal for the law, his standing in the synagogue, his knowledge and intellect, the admiration of his peers, even the notoriety of being a persecutor of Christians. All of these were precious to him. Each defined who he was, how he lived and where he was going. These were the most important things to him, until….
he came to know Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection, then everything else but that which came from and was about or done in Jesus Christ, everything else he considered rubbish when compared to knowing Jesus.
To understand the impact of Pastor Paul’s words imagine Paul as the most successful CEO in our country, or the greatest sports player or someone who has achieved the height of fame and fortune… that was Paul. Pastor Paul, before becoming a Christian, was not a poor, down and out, nothing left to lose, kind of person who decided to give Jesus a try because nothing else was working. No, Paul was at the top of his game, a superstar in his ranks, admired and looked up to, was achieving status, power and influence. He had the best schools, the best training, the best teachers, he was the success story that so many dream of having. He literally had everything to lose by following Jesus Christ.
But he gave it all up. Not because this was a sentimental choice, or a lapse in judgement or a career mishap. No, he was busy being extremely successful and powerful when he encountered the living God, the resurrected Jesus Christ, on the road to Damascus.
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
From that point on, all of his prestige, knowledge, power, influence, standing, all of it, he considered rubbish compared to knowing Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. Not only rubbish, like trash, but completely worthless, not even worth thinking about anymore.
Often, people will come to this realization when a loved one gets sick or passes away suddenly. There is this realization that hits so hard sometimes, like an arrow piercing our heart, that all of the things we spend so much time on and doing, whether it be hobbies or careers or just burning time, all of it is so often time misspent that needs to be or could have been spent with the loved one who is sick or has passed away. A life well lived is always not the most successful in terms of material gain but the life that has been invested in our relationship with God and the lives of our loved ones.
Paul had this same moment, but it wasn’t from a sickness or death of a loved one, but from meeting the resurrected Jesus Christ. This shocking moment and all of the time he took afterwards to learn what it meant, was an arrow piercing his heart as well. This moment completely changed everything. This meant, that now in Jesus, there was actual life after death, meaning to the meaningless, resurrection of the dead and the resurrection of the body and a life lived in the presence of a loving God forever. These truths found in Jesus, so outshine any other human endeavor that anything else but that which is found in Jesus and done because of Jesus, simply cannot compete with the magnitude of what Jesus gives to us in faith.
In earthly terms, do you want the billion dollars or the penny? Do you want the beautiful dress or the dirty and torn rags?
What is knowing Jesus Christ worth to you? That is a question, like Paul, we must answer. If anything else is worth more than knowing Jesus Christ and the power of the Resurrection in your own life, you will be sorely disappointed because anything else but Jesus Christ will fail you and be worthless in the end. This Easter, not only experience and know what Paul did on the road to Damascus that changed his life but take stock of what is most important to you and if it is not Jesus, let it go. Jesus Christ and His resurrection is the most precious possession anyone can have.
Blessed Easter- Philip