“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
In the year 193 A.D. Pertinax, the emperor of Rome had died, leaving no heir to the throne. Instead, the Praetorian Guard was charged to determine who would be the next emperor of all Rome. The Guard was so corrupt they determined to sell the office to the highest bidder. The wealthiest citizens of Rome came to the “auction.” Didius Salvius Julianus Marcus, a very wealthy citizen, then became the new emperor. He paid in excess of five million dollars in gold for that high office. Didius became the most powerful man on the earth. The Roman Senate took the oath of loyalty to Emperor Didius on March 28, 193. Remember that date!
It was not long until the word of this ludicrous sale reached the ears of the Roman Legions, who were taking care of Roman affairs in Great Britain. They were so upset with the news that they hurried back to Rome under General Septimus Severus. The Roman Legions captured Didius and beheaded him on June 2, 193. Therefore, for the sum of five million dollars, Didius was the most powerful man on earth for 2 months and 4 days (March 28 until June 2!
May I submit that Emperor Didius came to learn the true meaning of Matthew 16:26. In light of Hebrews 9:27, the time will come when every person that has ever lived or ever will live on the face of this earth will come to fully comprehend the full import of Matthew 16:26.
In Luke 12:16-21 we have recorded the parable of the “Forgetful Farmer”! In just three verses (17-19), I counted twelve personal pronouns:
And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So, he said, I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry (Luke 12:17-19).
Twelve times the “forgetful farmer” was all wrapped up in himself and his possessions. How could he possibly know that on that very night the Lord would say to him: “Thou fool, this night thy soul will be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20).
Forthwith, both secular history and inspired history are filled with some great examples of the Lord’s truthful statement of Matthew 16:26. It matters not what you or I may accumulate in this life, how much land, how many stocks and bonds, how many cars, houses, boats, antiques…stuff! The day is coming for all of us when our souls shall be required. What then?
“Then whose shall those things be?” “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” It is a hymn that we sing often: “Are You Ready for That Day is Coming?”