broken_rosePastor Matt Chandler gave this illustration during his sermon at a recent Desiring God conference. I think this illustration powerfully communicates the difference between moralism and the Christian gospel.

During my freshman year of college, I sat next to a 26-year-old single mother trying to get her degree. We began a dialogue about the grace and mercy of Christ in the cross. Some other guys and I would go over and babysit her child and try to talk with her. A friend of mine was in a band playing in the area and we invited her to hear him. She agreed. She thought it would be a concert. I knew better. It was shady and she agreed to come.

The minister got up and said, “Today I want to talk to you about sex.” And I immediately thought, Uh oh. He took a red rose, smelled it, showed how pretty it was. Then, threw it out in the crowd and told them to smell the rose. “I want you to smell it and touch it and feel the texture in it.” (There were about 1000 people there.) He then began one of the worst, most horrific handlings of what sex is and isn’t that I ever sat through. It was fear-mongering at its best.

I’m thinking, with Kim beside me, What are you doing? As he wrapped up, he asked, “Where’s my rose?”

Some kid brought the rose back and it was broken. The petals were broken. And he lifts it up. And his big crescendo is to lift up that broken rose and say, “Now who would want this?”

Anger welled up within me and I wanted to say, “JESUS WANTS THE ROSE! That’s the point of the gospel! That Jesus wants the rose. That he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

“A Shepherd and his Unregenerate Sheep” – Matt Chandler, Feb. 2009

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15 thoughts on “Jesus Wants the Rose!”

  1. Dr. Paul W. Foltz says:

    I Praise God that He specializes in taking broken, useless things, such as I, and can make it into something useful and beautiful again. HALLELUJAH.

  2. ambasadorul says:

    Trevin,

    the illustration is very powerful and that is the message of the Gospel.
    God bless you!

  3. pastor jim sharp says:

    this is the glory of the gospel of grace. i was one of those roses!

    now i am privileged to preach that same gospel to others.

  4. Bill N. says:

    Amen! Thanks be to God that Jesus wants the rose…

  5. Thanks for sharing this! I’m so thankful He loved this rose before the rose even knew Him! Thank you Lord!

  6. Roger says:

    I fear that this message suffers from the same problem it condemns. (forgetting part of Jesus’ message.) YES, Jesus wants the battered “Rose”, but does He also not want to warn us not to go down the path that leads to battered roses? We need to warn people of the consequences of sin AND yet still be there for those who have been battered by sin.

  7. dave says:

    Roger – you win people to grace with Christ’s grace though, right… when we get that we are already broken then we’ll cling to Jesus.

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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