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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"What is a Human Being Worth?"

April 19, 2005

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"What can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26

Several centuries ago, in his effort to modernize his country, the czar of Russia, Peter the Great, visited lands in Western Europe. He saw in Koeningsburg, East Prussia, an instrument of torture that interested him. Himself a cruel man, he asked to see a man broken on it. The local authorities said they had no criminal on hand just then who deserved such a punishment. Peter was astonished at this. He exclaimed: “What fuss about killing a man!”

Human life, also in our times, is often regarded as cheap and worthless, or even as a hindrance to be removed, as shown by the destruction of millions of unborn babies. Thousands starve to death during famines. A related tragedy is the loss of human lives on highways because of drunken driving.

What is a human life worth? Is it thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave in ancient times? Does its worth consist in the value of the chemicals in a human body, said to be worth something like ten dollars?

The Bible gives us the right standard of evaluation. Human life is precious because God gave it. He created the first human beings in His own image. Besides divine creation, our divine redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ makes every person most precious. Jesus said that you could give nothing, not even the worth of the whole world, in exchange for your soul. Saint Paul tells us not to cause weak brothers and sisters in the faith to stumble because of our bad examples, for Christ died for them.

It is good to ask: In what light do I consider my own worth? Do I appreciate the fact that God made me, Jesus redeemed me, and the Holy Spirit made me a temple of God?

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for giving me life, for redeeming me through Christ, and for sanctifying me through the work of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at

Today's Bible Readings: Judges 13-15    Luke 15:1-10

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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