I am sure that we are all familiar with the phrase, “sponsored by” – You can fill in the rest. A stadium or team sponsored by a major corporation; a television program sponsored by a big company or, on public television, by a charitable foundation. In an earlier time Kings would sponsor artists, singers and poets. And we all know that “sponsored” means “paid for.” I came across the story of a young German man who used the term in a unique way. It seems that his Oma (OH-ma), German for Grandma, bought him an automobile, his first car. It was a gift of love and a sacrifice for Oma to buy this car. In honor of her gift, to remember her gift, and so others would recognize the gift, he put a bumper sticker on his car that read “Sponsored bei Oma.” In other words, “Paid for by Grandma.” (Clinton J. Holloway, Lest We Forget, 65, Nashville, Cold Tree Press)
As Christians, maybe we should all wear a sign that says, “Sponsored by Christ.” Paul said in Rom 6:19-20, “Do you not know that … You are not your own, for you have been bought with a price.” There is an old Gospel hymn that says:
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed thro’ his infinite mercy, his child, and forever I am.
From the very beginning the church has been singing about being paid for by Christ. In Revelation 4 and 5 John describes a throne and the one who sat upon it held a scroll in his hand that was sealed with seven seals. No one was found who was worthy to open the book and John began to weep greatly. One of the 24 elders told him to stop weeping because the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has overcome and he can open it. Then John looked, and perhaps expected to see a ferocious lion, but instead he saw a Lamb standing as if slain, who came and took the book out of the right hand of him who sat upon the throne. At this the four living creatures, representing the animal and human world, and the 24 elders, representing all of the church, sang a new song, saying:
Worthy are you to take the book and to break its seals;
For you were slain, and by your blood you purchased people for God
From every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
And you have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God;
And they will reign upon the earth.
As we come to the table today we remember that this is our song, our story, our claim as well. We are all “sponsored by Christ,” paid for by him.