“It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35
What is the greatest gift you have ever received? If your mind goes to a pair of diamond earrings or a Kitchen Aid mixer, that’s perfectly fine. It was an open-ended question.
Now, I hope you’ll think a little deeper. If you move beyond the trappings and wrappings of Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries, you might find a more important gift. Surely, it will be a more enduring one.
Love is the greatest gift ever received by this writer. In turn, it is the greatest one I can give. In fact, love is the only gift that is better when it’s re-gifted.
“For God so loved the world” (John 3:16) introduces the pattern for giving exceptional and lasting gifts. God in eternity determined to create something in His likeness. In His omniscience, He knew that which he created perfectly to live for eternity would fall from grace.
Because He loved this creation, He formed a plan to restore it to its former position. Love was His gift and it was manifested in His Son, Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16) defines the scope of our Father’s gift.
It was a round table discussion. God the Father sat at the head of the table (oh, wait! Round tables have no head) with the Son on His right and the Holy Spirit on His left. The blueprints for their creation – man – lay in the center of the table.
All three of them were excited at the prospect of making a world and furnishing it with everything their creation would need to live and prosper. The production schedule was laid out: six days of work.
The Father asked, “What will we do to redeem him after he falls?”
Yes, He knew Adam wouldn’t be able to resist the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When the woman was tempted, she would believe the lies and pluck the forbidden fruit. Rather than stopping her from eating or refusing to eat it, Adam would go along with his wife.
“What is the penalty for eating the fruit?”
“Then someone must die to pay the penalty.”
Perhaps a pregnant pause added suspense to the moment. Maybe a shroud of ominous silence descended in Heaven. Or, more likely, the Son volunteered.
“I can die so they will live,” I can hear Jesus Christ, God’s only Son saying.
The Father agreed it was a perfect plan. Not an easy plan. Not a painless proposition. Not a quick fix for a swift downfall.
Perfect because it fulfilled the requirements. A sinless man would die, paying the penalty of eating the forbidden fruit, providing an avenue for all men to recover their spiritual innocence.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
God gave mankind life, beginning with an earth that provided food and an atmosphere that supported breathing. When man exchanged his spirituality for the temporary pleasure provided from that one tree, God gave an even greater gift: His Son.
Thank you, God, for having a plan and for willingly providing everything we needed. Thank you for not withholding your only Son.
Thank you, Lord, for your gift of love.
Next week: Christ in Christmas