A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son. A few months later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man was standing at the door with a very large package in his hands. He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when he was struck in the heart by a bullet and died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.” The young man held out his package. “I know this isn’t much, and I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the portrait. “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift to you.” The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son.
The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “We will start the bidding with this portrait of the son. Who will make a bid for this painting?” There was complete silence, until a voice in the back of the room shouted. “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.” However, the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding at $100, $200?” Another man shouted angrily, “We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts, the Raphael’s and Picasso’s. Get on with the real bids!” But still the auctioneer continued. “The son”! The son! Who’ll take the son?” Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the long-time gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $10 for the painting.” Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10, who will bid $20?” “Give it to him for $10, we came see the masters.” “$10 is the bid, won’t someone bid $20?”
The crowd was becoming very angry. They didn’t want the painting of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!” A man sitting on the second row shouted. “Now let’s get on with the collection!” The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I wasn’t allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. You see, only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!” God gave his son some 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, “The son, the son, who will take the son?”
The first followers of Jesus Christ were so convinced that He rose from the grave that they boldly spread the gospel message – even though it meant risking their lives and many did die as martyrs for their faith. My friend, the gospel message still changes lives today and gives courage to those who put their faith in the living Christ. Have you accepted as truth what the Bible says about His life, death, and resurrection? If you haven’t, please open up your Bible and read with a receptive heart the Gospel of John. A fulfilling life can be yours if you take the Son! Recognize that the God of the Bible is the One who created you and loves you (John 1:3; 3:16). Admit that you have fallen far short of His perfect standards for your attitudes and actions (John 3:18-19); Romans 3:23). Confess that you deserve God’s judgment and need His forgiveness. Believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son who lived a perfect life and died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin. Tell Him that you want the new life He is offering to you. Once you believe, you will become a child of God (John 1:12) and God’s Holy Spirit will come to live within you (John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 6:19), and your life will be changed forever.
God’s timeless message of hope is still waiting to be received.