Throughout His ministry, Jesus demonstrated how God loves and values people. He spent time with prostitutes, shepherds, fishermen, tax collectors—all those whom society deemed to have little or no value. Several times in Scripture, the Pharisees and teachers of religious law criticized Jesus for “associating with such sinful people” (Luke 15:2) and for “eating with such scum” (Mark 2:16). In response to one of these criticisms, Jesus told three parables, one of which was The Prodigal Son. In Mark 2:17, Jesus explained why He spent time with such people: “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Jesus was always showing God’s love and thus demonstrating the value and worth people have.
There is no greater demonstration of how much value and worth God tells us we have than Jesus’ death on the cross. When we wonder if we have worth, we need look no further than the cross. God tells us we are worth the life of His one and only Son. That’s what Good Friday demonstrates: God’s great love for us.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
If Good Friday demonstrates God’s great love for us, then Easter Sunday demonstrates the power of His great love for us. Jesus’ resurrection is the triumph over Death that bridges the gap which sin causes between us and God. Even in His resurrection Jesus still gave value to those whom society said had none. The two single greatest events in human history are God becoming man and Jesus rising from the dead. The first to hear the news of Jesus’ coming were shepherds, another group whom society deemed had no value, and when Jesus rose from the grave, the first ones to know were women. At this time, in this culture, women had little to no rights whatsoever—they could not own property or submit a testimony in court—and a woman’s word was worth nothing, and yet it was to women that Jesus entrusted the message of His resurrection.
“After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons.” (Mark 16:9)
“Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. ‘Dear woman, why are you crying?’ the angels asked her.
‘Because they have taken away my Lord,’ she replied, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.
‘Dear woman, why are you crying?’ Jesus asked her. ‘Who are you looking for?’ She thought he was the gardener.
‘Sir,’ she said, ‘if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.’
‘Mary!’ Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, ‘Rabboni!’ (which is Hebrew for ‘Teacher’).
‘Don’t cling to me,’ Jesus said, ‘for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, ‘I have seen the Lord!’ Then she gave them his message.” (John 20:11-18)
“She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.” (Mark 16:10-11)
“However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.” (Luke 24:12)
This world will always try to determine the value of people. One of the Satan’s tactics is to destroy self-esteem, to get people to believe the lie that no one cares about them, especially God. The Truth is that God cares about you more than you can comprehend. We often determine value by how much someone is willing to pay for something. God was willing to pay for you with the life of His one and only Son. There’s no greater value than that. As Jesus taught, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And Jesus laid down His life for us while we were still His enemies. No one will ever love us more than God. Our value and worth is in the life of Jesus Christ, and our hope of salvation is in His resurrection.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P.S. Jesus remained on Earth for forty days after dying on the cross (Acts 1:3), but when a holiday is over it tends to disappear quickly. We celebrated Easter yesterday and by now we’re already planning for Mother’s Day or Memorial Day. So, forty days from Easter Sunday, which will be May 31st, we will post on the Great Commission and we will get to experience that forty days between Easter and the Ascension.