Personhood. It’s the idea that every human being is unique, individual, different…and yes, special. Sunday’s sermon caught some people by surprise. The surprise centered around this idea of personhood–why you as a human being matter. C. S. Lewis touched on this when he said…
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.
All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.
It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mere mortal.
C. S. Lewis’ point is that every person you see today will live forever. Some will so gloriously transformed by Christ, if we saw them now we would be tempted to worship them. Others will be so wrecked by sin and dominated by Satan, that if we saw them now in Hell, we would run screaming in the other direction.
Why do you matter so much to God?
- You matter to God because you are created in his image. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27) We are image-bearers of God himself. As a human being you have characteristics that differentiate you from the rest of creation. You have the ability to reason. You have the ability to relate with other people, to think and reflect and to act freely.
- You matter to God because God became a human being. God’s plan for redemption necessarily included God becoming one of us. God robed himself in human flesh, taking on all the temptations of man yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus’ best friend, John, had this to say about him, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.” Erickson says, “Touch was thought by the Greeks to be the most basic and most reliable of the sense.” John witnessed to the reality of Jesus’ human existence.
- You matter to God because God sent Jesus to die for you. Jesus died to save you, a human being, from everlasting punishment in Hell and to everlasting life in Heaven. Jesus’ death on the cross, as a human being for human beings, is God’s greatest display of his love for you.
- You matter to God because God raised Jesus from the dead. God values you…and all of you. Your mind, body and spirit matter to him. On the cross, Jesus’ body was mangled almost beyond recognition. Blood poured down his face. His entrails were exposed where he was beaten. His beard was pulled out in spots. His lips were swollen from dehydration. His side was lacerated by the sword. Why not start over? Why resurrect that body? Because Jesus’ body mattered to God. Yours does too.
- You matter to God because your body is His temple (if you’re a born again believer). Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” As a believer, you are God’s dwelling place. You house the creator and the crucified one, the King who became the suffering servant.
You are created for eternity. There are no ordinary people. Your boss was created for eternity. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Your cranky neighbor was created for eternity. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.
This forces us to answer two questions:
- Where will you spend eternity?
- How are you treating others around you God has prepared for eternity?