The Greatest Gift
God so loved the world that He gave . . .
He gave the greatest gift in sending His Son to be the savior of the world. That gift was great because of the enormous cost. God the Father would have to allow His beloved Son to spend a lifetime in poverty and want. When Mary and Joseph offered the two turtledoves at Jesus’ circumcision, that offering was the one provided for a poor family (Leviticus 5:7; Luke 2:24). Scripture says of Christ, “though being rich, yet for our sakes’ he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
The cost was great to the Father because he would have to allow that Son to suffer at the hands of sinful men and to bear the sin of the world. In fact, God the Father Himself would have to crush His own Son (Isaiah 53:10).
God’s gift was great because it was given to ungrateful people. John says, “He came to his own things, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11). He was “despised and rejected” (Isaiah 53:3). We esteemed him “smitten of God and afflicted” (53:3).
Christ’s gift is great because the incarnation lasts forever. Jesus in heaven continues to be fully God and fully man. Jesus has added a human nature to his divine one forever. That means that in his human nature, he will submit as a man to God forever (1 Corinthians 15:28). He will forever be the mediator between God and man. He will forever bear the scars of the crucifixion. He will in his human nature carry the limitations of his glorified human body. These things are added to Him without in any way diminishing Him as God.
This gift is great because it produces freedom. Matthew says, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (1:21). For us, our greatest problem is the sin nature we inherited from Adam. That nature taints all that we do. Jesus came to free us from that, to break the power of cancelled sin, to remove us from its very presence and ultimately to transform us into the very image of Himself.
This great gift allows us access to the presence of God and restored Eden. We are not banished from Eden like Adam and Eve; Jesus’ gift has taken the guardian Cherubs out of the way and welcomed us to the pleasure of His presence forever.
So what does that gift mean for us? It should call us to a life of giving to others, a life of service to Christ for the needs of the world.
May we become a gift that keeps on giving.