Matthew 16: 26
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
There are likely very few people in our country that have not at one time or another desired an object to the extent they went into debt, likely over their head, to own the priceless object. After acquiring the article, it didn't take long for the paint to peal, the plumbing needed to be replaced, the tires were bald or the glamour just faded away and for no reason to speak of, the object lost its affection.
In 1997 I paid cash for a brand new Ford Countour with all the bells and whistles. The engine was overly complicated but ran fast and the handling was great. Because I had no payments and the insurance was paid up for a year, I felt this new car was going to be easy to own, but every time I went to the Ford garage, the required maintenance cost a fortune, plus it seemed to eat up the costly 15 inch tires as fast as children eat chocolate.
I still admired my shiny red car and washed and waxed it every week, but perhaps the brilliance caught the eyes of others because that car was in the body shop five times for being rammed into. Soon the joy of my cash layout started to fade so I traded it off for a pickup.
I never tried to gain the whole world but my car, my ambitions and my desires to become America's number one writer, columnists and speaker soon started to control a large part of my life, money and hopes. Money flew in all directions because I lived a Southern California lifestyle that ate greenbacks for breakfast.
Drug addicts will steal and kill for another fix, alcoholics will spin lies as smooth as silk to family and friends for another drink, a person who is dying without Christ will bargain with the doctors to keep themselves alive. But what do they gain?
I sometimes ask that same question; what did I gain? Today there are no more flashy cars, I will never be number one in the list of top syndicated writers and my speaking tours are only a happy memory. My eyes struggle to focus, my body tires easy and I am only in my 50's. I never perceived eight years ago when the pinnacle of my life was reached my days would soon be spent using mobility support and having aids preform duties for me.
I never gained the whole world, but at times my spiritual life was running on half of the cylinders. Fortunately I never had to bargain for my soul, but millions of people do each day as every second that ticks away folks die and never gave a passing thought about eternity. They sold their souls for what? And in the end gained nothing.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" Matthew 27:50 NIV
When faced with mistakes and misgivings mankind embarks on a journey to search for his redeemer. When the drunk has no more booze and the addict, no more drugs, when the fool runs out of space, the Son of God is there. The centurions realized when the world became dark and the earth shook at Calvary, the man they ignored was their savior.
But Christ was there before that time, alive and well calling all those that would listen to come and follow him. Then came death and likely the centurions felt there was no more chance for redemption.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Matthew 28:16 NKJ
There is no room for doubt. When Christ shows forth his resurrected glory one must realized he showed mankind the path of death ["Via Dolorosa"] that one may live. The nail scarred hands still exist only because he came from the cross and was alive.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.
He, Christ Jesus is alive! Can He be seen in your life. If not, how will others see him. Picking up the cross is not a short cut for possession of the whole world.