A $450.3 Million Jesus

by DanWolgemuth on November 17, 2017

Perhaps you saw the story. An original Leonardo da Vinci painting sold this week for $450.3 million.

The painting is titled, “ Salvator Mundi,” which means, Savior of the World. The painting shows Christ, in Renaissance dress, giving a benediction with His raised right hand and crossed fingers while holding a crystal sphere in His left hand.

The painting was produced by da Vinci in 1500. Since then it’s been sold, traded, lost, stolen, painted over, and restored. And now, this 25.8 inch × 19.2 inch work of art belongs to someone who paid a record price for the image.

Da Vinci’s Jesus, for $450.3 million. The Savior of the World. An image, frozen in time. Inanimate. An image in oil on walnut. But static.

This is not the most significant price ever paid for Jesus. No, God Himself sent His precious beloved son to us. Jesus left the throne room for a stable. $450.3 million pales in comparison.

Our Jesus, God in the flesh. Jesus, God who lived among us. Immanuel. Alive. Available.

Yes, available. Not just to the highest bidder. Not just to a single individual. But to us. Each of us.

The price has been paid. Not at an auction hosted by Christie’s. Not by an anonymous buyer. But by God.

And in that price Jesus becomes available to everyone.

The Savior of the World, not on display, but our redeemer. Living. Active. Our King to be worshipped. Our Shepherd to be followed. Our brother to be loved.

Every available resource in the world could not have purchased Jesus.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4–7, ESV)

The immeasurable riches of His grace…

$450.3 million doesn’t begin to count the cost. Only God. Always God. Jesus.

For us. What amazing grace. What extraordinary sacrifice.

The gavel has been pounded. We are His and He is ours. No auction required.



by DanWolgemuth on November 13, 2017


“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12, ESV)

“Well, at four years old I lost my dad… and my story really unfolds from there.”

Jeff Ross is on our staff in Spokane, Washington. The story of his first quarter century of life is difficult to hear. A cascading progression of brokenness, drugs and violence.

Mary and I stood in a new City Life Center in downtown Spokane, just one block from Lewis & Clark High School, listening to Jeff unpack pieces of his story. The trajectory of Jeff’s life was aimed at destruction from the beginning, as the velocity toward disaster increased to a breaking point.

A drug dealer, addicted to his inventory, Jeff prepared to end his life. With a gun to his head Jeff cried out in one last act of desperation. “Jesus, if you are for real…”

In an instant, at the very last moment, a tsunami of peace and comfort pulsed through Jeff’s body. He was swept up into the current of hope. Rescued.

Now, nearly 20 years later, Jeff walks the streets and allies with Charlie Buford, another YFC staffer. Both men, with a resume of violence, have become gentle warriors, valiant soldiers, and powerful agents of Christ.

They honor God with their courage. Fearless, not because of their past, but because of the future, they press into the lives of the addicted and abused and abandoned. They look hopelessness in the face and see beauty.

Words of character and grace adorn the walls of the center… crafted in graffiti, written to inspire and define.

They have chosen to plug their redeemed lives into the power source that Jesus promised. They have opted to confront the enemy on his home field.

I saw pictures of the allies where teenagers sat, surrounded by trash and broken needles. The Word incarnate. The love of Christ in action. A GPS navigating into the mess, not around it.

Power. Such amazing, Holy Spirit power. Pouring oxygen into the suffocating souls of the young people of Spokane.

This is not how Jeff occasionally lives, it’s the only way he knows how to live. Full on. All in.

Jeff and Charlie choose every day to live into the promise that Jesus made. “Greater works…” is not their tagline; it’s the covenant promise of Jesus.

And as Christ exited planet earth, His departing words have become their defining mark:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, ESV)

Power. Unbounded, unrelenting, uncompromising, unbelievable power.

Because Jesus promised.


His Wounds, Our Balm

November 3, 2017

Going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”  (Matthew 26:39) I remember vividly the days when our three children would struggle with a variety of illnesses.  Often it was my […]

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Unlikely – The Sequel

October 27, 2017

It was a week ago that I confessed openly the unlikeliness of my being on the platform at Bethel Gospel Assembly in Harlem, New York for a panel discussion on the mass incarceration of youth. http://www.yfc.net/friday-fragments/unlikely So here’s what happened. An amazing spontaneous unanimous standing ovation happened. In fact, over the 24-hour conference, this standing […]

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October 20, 2017

On Saturday morning I will step onto the platform of Bethel Gospel Assembly Church in Harlem. I will be speaking along with several others to a group of roughly 1,000 Movement Day NYC participants. The topic for the morning, Mass Incarceration & the Plight of our Urban Youth. Even as I type these words I’m […]

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October 13, 2017

“He’s the joy of my life.” The words exploded from the lips of Nick Wallace. Nick is a friend and a member of the Taylor University Board of Trustees. His reflective words were about his 26-year-old son, Ben. Joy. A son. A beautiful script. A father’s love. Expressed openly and emphatically. But there’s more. So […]

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Journey Towards Vulnerability

October 6, 2017

Periodically I write for a dad serving website called dadcraft.com. Today, one of my posts landed on the site. I wanted to share it with my Fragments list as well. Read it as a confession and a vision. Whether I was aware of it or not, I often found myself as a dad navigating my […]

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Six Days and Counting

September 29, 2017

Don’t tell the Chamber of Commerce, but Denver is in the middle of a weather funk that I’ve not seen before. Six days and counting. September should bring seventy degrees and sunshine. Frankly, nearly every day in Denver delivers sunshine… but not the past six days. The skies have pulled a grey blanket of clouds […]

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Drawing My Own Mushroom

September 15, 2017

Kellen is a seven-year-old. He’s the bright and inquisitive grandson of my twin sister. Last week Kellen, his parents and his two siblings stayed at our home for several days. During the course of his visit, Mary tapped her “grandma resources” and introduced Kellen to our Hidden Picture book collection. These are essentially workbooks that […]

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August 25, 2017

He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are And how great Your affections are for me And oh, how […]

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