For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Mark 8, verses 35-37.
We last talked about committing to Jesus’ mission, about doing our best in whatever it is He has us doing. Now Jesus makes a logical argument as to why we should do this.
Last Saturday, my wife and I went to see the Rolling Stones in concert. It had been years since I had been to a rock concert, and she and I had never gone to one together before; no, I don’t count those four times at Jimmy Buffett since I’m not really sure what kind of music Jimmy fits into. Anyway, you know the Rolling Stones. Together, the four core members of the band are nearly 300 years old, but let me tell you: they can still punch it out. Mick Jagger moves better at 71 than I moved at 31 and they had 70,000 people really jamming.
“Sympathy for the Devil:” you know the song. It’s a cynical but catchy ballad where Satan explains himself to the human race before threatening us with destruction. “Hoo hoo…hoo hoo…hoo hoo…hoo hoo. Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name;” I bet you’re humming the song right now. When this number came around, the band played up the big-screen visuals of fire, flames, and smoke, and they all came out dressed in red. How ironic is it that one of the Stones’ biggest hits is about feeling sorry for Satan.
Jesus is arguing against sympathy for the devil here, and He’s arguing, instead, about sympathy for the believer. He’s talking about how following Him will cost the follower everything, but that it will be worthwhile. It will be worthwhile both now and in the afterlife. Don’t believe me? Ever hear of Dietrich Bonhoffer? He was a German priest who voluntarily flew back to his home in Nazi Germany just before the start of World War II to minister to Christians who were being oppressed by Hitler. He knew the score but stood up to the Nazis anyway. A week before VE Day, Hitler had him executed. I fully expect to meet Mr. Bonhoffer in heaven one day and ask him several hundred questions.
I can expect that – and so can you and the Rolling Stones – because Jesus promises that He will save the most precious part of us to live forever. The soul God gave each of us, the essence of man and the spark of all life in us, is what Jesus will preserve so we can live on with Him. One day, at the end of all things, He will even reunite us with our remade bodies in a miracle that neither you, me, Pastor Bonhoffer, Keith Richards, nor Lucifer himself can fully understand nor really comprehend. But Jesus promises it anyway. Along the way, He promises a tough life of satisfaction.
…which the Stones belted out as their encore finale Saturday night. They kept proclaiming “I can’t get no satisfaction.” Maybe, if they have real sympathy for the devil, there’s a reason why.
Lord, thank You for preserving my soul, for making it possible for me to live with You forever. And God bless rock & roll.
Read Mark 8, verses 34-38.