“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
This may be one of the best know verses in all of scripture and probably the most quoted.
It speaks of the wonderful gift the Father has given to mankind. It is the gift that makes the difference between eternal life with God and eternal separation from Him.
Jesus bore our sin and its penalty, opening the way for forgiveness and restored relationship with our loving Creator. As such, it is an incomparable gift.
There never has been nor can there ever be another like it.
However, dearly beloved, have you ever considered the meaning of Jesus’ words in John 17 where He says, ““Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.” (v. 24).
Though I touched on this in my last column, I would like to take time to consider more carefully what it means to those of us who believe.
Think of this for a moment, especially during this season of gift giving and receiving.
Even as the Son was a gift from the Father to mankind, you, beloved believer, are a gift from the Father to the Son.
Jesus proclaimed this in another place, also, as He prayed something remarkable. As He speaks to the Father, He says of us, “They were always yours. You gave them to me.” ( John 17:6).
I don’t know if you ever thought of yourself as a gift given by the Father to the Son, but you are. Can any thought be more wonderful?
Now there are some who think that God redeemed us because He was lonely or simply wanted a big family, but I don’t think that this is true. God did not do this because of some need He had, but because of the need we have.
Dr. John Piper writes, “It expresses his concern for the satisfaction of our longing, not his loneliness. Jesus is not lonely. He and the Father and the Spirit are profoundly satisfied in the fellowship of the Trinity. We, not he, are starving for something.”
God has done all that He has because we, not He, had a need we could never do anything about. We were in a dilemma and He loved us enough to meet that need. First by giving His Son for us and then by giving us to His Son.
Pastor David M. Grey
Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church