From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God .... 2 Corinthians 5:16-18a
Many of you enjoy watching the PBS program, The Antiques Road Show.
For me, the best part of the show is not the antiques; it's the people. You know how the program works: people bring in their family bric-a-brac and some national expert will study that bric-a-brac, ask the person a few questions about the bric-a-brac, and then share what the bric-a-brac is worth.
I like to watch the faces of the folks when the expert says, "This bric-a-brac is not some garbage your crazy Uncle Charlie picked up shortly before he died. No, there are only two of these bric-a-bracs in the entire world, and yours is worth a gazillion, billion dollars." At that moment the bric-a-brac is transformed and has become valuable.
No, that's not right. The bric-a-brac was no different. It had always been valuable. The people were the ones who were changed.
I saw that happen once in real life.
Some friends of mine received some ugly glasses as a wedding present. The glasses were so ugly the couple wondered if they had unknowingly offended the givers. "Why else," they asked, "would they have presented us with something this ugly?" Rather than re-gifting the ugly glasses because they were so ugly, the couple used them for everyday dining. They taught their children to drink using these ugly glasses. Why not? They didn't care if those ugly glasses got broken.
That all changed the day a friend told the couple he was pretty sure their ugly glasses had some value.
The friend did some checking and, sure enough, those glasses were part of a fairly rare collector's set. Their value: slightly less than $1,000. From that moment on, the ugly glasses were handled differently, and they were put on a shelf far from the children's fumbling fingers. Remember, the glasses weren't changed; they had always been valuable. It was the couple who was changed.
A moment ago I said I had once seen that kind of transformation in real life. That's not true. I've seen it happen hundreds, maybe thousands, of times.
It has happened every time the Holy Spirit brings someone to faith in Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior.
As unbelievers, those people may have known about Jesus. But for them the Christ had been nobody special. To them, Jesus was an historical figure, someone whom other people worshipped and venerated. To some unbelievers Jesus was a joke, a story, a crutch for the weak of mind, soul and spirit.
But then, one day, the Holy Spirit broke through, and they were led to acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord. The old was gone, the new had come. And for the ex-unbeliever, Jesus had been transformed.
That's the way they see it, but it's not true. Jesus had always been the Savior, but now they had been transformed, and they could see Jesus was their Savior.
By God's grace may everyone in this sinful world see Jesus not as a piece of bric-a-brac, but as the most valuable Person and the only Savior they will ever know or need.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, use me, my words, and my example to help the doubting, disbelieving world see Jesus as the Savior. This I ask in my Redeemer's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries