On April 2, 2002, a used shirt was sold in an auction. The shirt was not only used, it was 32 years old. A yellow and green #10 were displayed on it. No, it wasn't a baseball, basketball, or football jersey. It was a soccer jersey worn by Brazilian soccer sensation Pele in the 1970 World Cup (in which Brazil defeated Italy 4-1). The shirt sold at Christie's Auction House in London for a record $221,000!

That, to me, is incredible. Someone actually paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars for a jersey! How can someone pay that much money for a shirt? Evidently, the buyer placed a great deal of value upon it, even though the jersey really isn't worth much intrinsically. An identical one could have been made, but it would have sold for only a fraction of the cost since it had not been worn by the great Pele. The value of the garment had nothing to do with the material it was made of. The one who wore the jersey made it valuable.

Let's switch gears now and start thinking about something much more important than any jersey. Let's think about the cross of Christ. No, I'm not talking about the wood itself. Thankfully such was never preserved (otherwise, I suspect some would try to get rich from it or, even worse, worship it as a relic). What I do want us to focus on is the historical fact that Jesus Christ gave His life on a cross nearly 2000 years ago. Is that an event upon which you put great value? You should.

It is true that two thieves died on crosses as Jesus did--at the same place and on the same day. One might think that these other deaths were just as significant, but that is not the case. Only one of those three crosses has great value to me (and to millions of others). The fact that two thieves died on crosses is unimportant to me, but Jesus' death is special. Jesus of Nazareth, the virgin-born Son of God, lived a sinless life and died as a sacrifice for sin--"not for ours only but also for the whole world" (I John 2:2). Jesus accomplished more through His life and death than anyone else ever has or will--period. The value of Jesus' crucifixion has nothing to do with the wood He was nailed to. The fact that He died for the sins of the world makes this crucifixion valuable.

I would not pay even $100 for a jersey worn by a professional athlete. Obviously, I don't place a great deal of value upon such. I can live without Pele's jersey. However, I cannot live without Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and thus I value what the Lord did at Calvary greatly. It is not that I cherish the fact that an innocent Man suffered for my transgressions. Such is tragic. However, I understand that spiritual life cannot exist without the cross of Christ as a historical reality. I would have no hope of forgiveness or heaven if Jesus had not been willing to bear the iniquities of the world (Isa. 53).

Without question, Jesus' sacrifice is priceless. I cannot imagine anything of greater value. But friends, value, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. There are many who would give more for a jersey than they would for the Lord--that is a sad truth. The real question is: What about you? What do you value or view as important?

In Matthew 16:26, Jesus said - "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Friends, what value do you place upon truth? How do you view your soul? These things, like the cross of Christ, are of infinite value. Indeed, they are priceless. Let us live our lives accordingly and never forget what is really important.