My husband worked as a real estate valuation analyst for a few years in between pastoring, being a used car salesman (yes, you read that right!) and being a pastor again. He learned a lot about what brings value to real property, and was able to assign a dollar figure to potential properties his company considered purchasing. Basically, he helped the company answer the question, “Is this property worth buying? Will we win or lose with this piece of real estate?”
Recently, in my study of the book of Matthew, I discovered that three groups of people were doing a value analysis of Jesus. Chapter 26 contains three very familiar accounts of people’s estimation of what Jesus was worth…and the accounts are back to back–by no coincidence. We need to see ourselves in one of these groups and know where we stand when we consider the value of Jesus Christ.
First, we find the chief priests and elders of the people, discussing among themselves how they can best “catch” Jesus as they plot to have him arrested and killed. They fear the people, but in the end, they believe Jesus must die. He is too much of a threat to their role and authority in Jewish society. They have watched, interacted with, and placed a final value on Jesus…he is worth killing, if it will save their position. His authority and their authority cannot peacefully co-exist, they have decided. The obvious choice is to take Jesus out of the picture.
Secondly, we find “a woman” who pours a very costly bottle of perfume on Jesus’ head. The disciples begin to rebuke her action, indignant at the lavish waste of money. But Jesus defends her and says that her action was right and beautiful. He tells the disciples that whenever this story is recounted throughout history, the memory of what this woman did will be recounted. Clearly, this woman (likely Mary of Bethany) saw the worth of Jesus as beyond calculation. He was worth everything and more to her.
Finally, we read the account of Judas, meeting with the chief priests to discuss the betrayal he will perform for a price. Thirty pieces of silver seals the deal, and Judas marks himself as the most infamous betrayer that has ever lived. In today’s world, 30 pieces of silver would be roughly worth about $7500–the price of a used car. Judas had walked, talked and lived side by side with Jesus. But he never knew Jesus…not really. Though he was one of the twelve who had been by Jesus’ side for three years of ministry, Judas never “got” Jesus. He never saw His true worth.
Friends, I pray that all who read this today are like-minded with the woman who poured the lavish perfume on Jesus, valuing him above any earthly thing or reputation. But if not, if perhaps you’ve been wishing Jesus would just go away, and leave you to live your life…possibly seeing him as a threat to your way of life (like the chief priests and elders did)…don’t stay there. See his worth. Or if you’re like Judas– you’ve been raised to know who Jesus is, to know his miracles, his words and works, but you’ve never understood what all the fuss is about…hang on. Don’t sell out to the world by trading in what you know about Jesus. Ask Him to open your eyes to his real worth. He is beyond compare and immeasurable in worth.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9