Jesus: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39, ESV)

Matthew 10:39 is one of the great paradoxical statements of Scripture, and the impact of the statement is found in the significance that it conveys. Within the context of Matthew 10, Jesus has just told his disciples that the love with which people are called to love Jesus must make all other loves pale by comparison, and then he has explained to them that they are each called to take up their cross and follow him. He has warned them that persecution is coming.

Achieving life for oneself and finding life in Christ are so drastically different that the paradox of finding one’s life and losing one’s life works powerfully. Being a disciple of Christ is more like dying than living. In this dying to everything else, there is an infinitely greater life in Christ. The one who would be a disciple of Christ might as well have his old self buried because the life he is called to live will be a wholly different one.

In our fleshly thinking, dying is the worst possible thing that could happen. If we die, we have been cut off from everything and everyone we have known; it is the final and ultimate loss. Even those with the most difficult lives still love the people and the things of this world so much that they can scarcely think of actually dying.

At the place where we consider the value is precisely where Jesus’ words make the most impact. The value of the one thing cannot compare to the value of the other, even when the one thing, life, stands as the most important thing we know. The value of the other (life in Christ) makes the value of the first (just life) obsolete.

Do you think the disciples got it? How about you, do you really get it?