I bought a new pair of sandals last week, which is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I couldn't find a pair I liked though, mostly because I wanted sandals that looked sturdy enough for all the walking I do, but all the ones I found in stores like Wal-Mart and Payless looked much too flimsy. So I kept putting it off, schlepping around in my old pair even though they were almost falling apart. I wasn't about to spend money on a new pair that wouldn't last, even if they didn't cost much.
Then last week we went into a new store. One where the shoes are anything but cheap, but they're sturdy looking and oh, so comfortable. I found several pairs of shoes I'd have been happy to buy, which is rare for me. I've always hated buying shoes because I'd much rather spend the money on fabric or books. But this store had shoes that are exactly what I've been looking for, meaning that they don't look like they're going to disintegrate after I wear them for a week. I didn't mind paying the higher price because I'm pretty sure these sandals are going to last me a few summers. I think the sandals are worth the price I paid.
Did you know that a price was paid for us? The Bible says, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). These verses are part of a passage speaking against sexual immorality, but the fact remains that we were bought at a price. Paul repeats it in chapter 7 when he says, "You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings (1 Corinthians 7:23).
Obviously God did not pay money for us, so what price does Paul mean? One very well-known verse provides the answer: "For
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). God's only Son, Jesus, is the price that was paid for us. Jesus, who is God, left Heaven and became a human baby who had to be tended and cared for by a human mother. He grew to be a man and was hated so intensely by the religious leaders that they incited a crowd to demand his death. And what a death he endured - our word excruciating comes from the Latin word meaning to crucify, calling to mind 'a pain like the pain of crucifixion'.
Yet, "for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrew 12:2). What joy is it that was set before Him? Our salvation, our right to eternal life because of our faith in Him who paid the price for our sins. Jesus endured the terrible agony of the cross because it was the price required to pay for our sins. Think about what a high price that was. Think not only about the physical pain, but also the emotional pain of being hated, mocked, misunderstood and abandoned even by friends. Think about the spiritual pain that made Him cry "out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)" (Matthew 27:46). Try to imagine all of that bombarding Him at one time.
Jesus endured all of it because He thinks we are worth the price He paid.
Let this thought settle into your heart this week: whether or not you feel worthy, Jesus thinks you are worth the price He paid.