What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
To Peter it seemed that “the things of God” should involve glory and fame (see yesterday’s post). He therefore shunned the way of the cross. But Jesus insisted – it’s the things of men that are focussed on comfort and honour now. Such a preoccupation is in fact Satanic. On the other hand, “the things of God” are the things of the cross.
Jesus is asking us to reverse our values and perceptions entirely. We either continue with the devilish things of men, pursuing our own purpose and salvation, or we consider Christ’s cross as our own, putting an end to our strivings to make life work.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
As we saw when we discussed our “cross to bear” – Jesus doesn’t just die Himself. He puts us to death with Him. His cross becomes our cross – His death to the old becomes our death to the old. Therefore a follower of Jesus is a “dead man walking (dead woman walking)”. We are, in the words of Paul, crucified to the world and the world is crucified to us (Galatians 6:14). But, wonderfully, we are following Jesus as He goes through death and into a cosmic salvation. He loses His life to find it, and we take that same journey in Him:
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
Jesus reassures us that His way is not ultimately the way of loss. It might seem like it. But even if you’re offered the world to refuse Jesus it would not be worth it.
“What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
The question seems easily answerable: Well Jesus, he gains the whole world! That’s quite a profit truth be told. But compared to losing your soul it is an unthinkable exchange.
Jesus ought to know. He owns the world, He knows it’s value. Yet He sets the price of our souls incomparably higher. In fact He values them at the cost of His own life! Which means that the world is “chump change” compared to either Christ’s life or ours.
Thus the “things of men” are not profit, they are a dead loss. All the kingdoms of the world could not give you what Christ gives you!
When archaeologists entered the tomb of Emperor Charlemagne they discovered the most stunning reminder of this truth. In amongst the treasures of the kingdom sat Charlemagne, enthroned in royal dress. He had a Bible on his lap and his bony finger was still fixed to this verse:
“What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
A corpse is still a corpse no matter how many crowns you put on it. The only sound investment is Christ. Therefore don’t be led astray by “the things of men.” They promise you the world and deliver only death. Jesus promises death but then delivers the world. As you come to Him, allowing His death to be yours, know for certain – it’s worth it!