Jesus the Perfect Gift

One of the many stresses of the Christmas season is finding the right gift for someone else.  Television commercials and online advertising pressure us to purchase a gift reflecting the personality and needs of the recipient.  What’s more, customers request stores to include a gift receipt just in case someone needs to return or exchange the gift.  In other words, there’s a backup plan in case our choice might be wrong.  
There must be a better approach for the giver, the gift, and the plan.
I submit to you there’s an alternative approach to identifying a gift for someone.  It’s one that is guaranteed to reflect their personality and meet their needs.  Jesus Christ, is the Perfect Gift!
In John 3:1-21, Christ witnesses to Nicodemus–a religious leader– about salvation and the kingdom of God. Despite Nicodemus’ study and knowledge about Jewish law, Jesus reminds him that the solution to his inquiry is spiritual, not physical.  His spiritual regeneration can only occur if he repents from his sins and accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior.
This dialogue contains one of the most famous verses in the Bible–John 3:16–which reads “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (NASB).
John 3:16 wonderfully describes how and why we should tell others about Jesus Christ, the Perfect Gift.  More specifically, we learn about the circumstance, consideration, and celebration behind accepting Christ as Lord and Savior.
The first part of the verse clearly identifies the circumstance for the Perfect Gift.  John declares that God is the Perfect Giver–“for God so loved the world.”  The verb “loved” is based on the Greek term agapē–the supreme, sacrificial, and perfect love that can only be provided by a Holy, sinless God.  His agapē  love is directed at the world or kosmos that includes humanity, His greatest creation.  Who wouldn’t want to receive a gift from someone who loves them with a love that is literally out of this world?
The second part of the verse establishes the consideration for the Perfect Gift.  God’s agapē  love for humanity is so unselfish “that He gave His only begotten Son.”  Please note that “He” and “His” refer to God and “begotten Son” refers to Jesus Christ.  God also emphasizes Christ’s Sonship in Matthew 17:5 that reads in part, “and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!””
God’s consideration of Christ should not be taken lightly.  The sacrificial nature of both God and Christ demands further attention.  “Gave” is based on the verb didōmi which refers to bestowing, bringing forth, committing, and delivering up.  Here, God willingly delivers up His Son as the Perfect embodiment of agapē  love.  Christ is also a willing participant who embraces this decree.  In John 20:21, Christ informs His disciples “…Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  Isn’t it amazing that the Perfect Gift (Christ) agrees with the unselfish motives of the Perfect Giver (God)?
The third part of John 3:16 reveals the celebration for the Perfect Gift.  John 3:16 concludes “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  God is well pleased with His Gift and invites us to join the celebration, however, we can only partake of this celebration if we understand the implications involving the concept of “believes.”  This verb shouldn’t be confused with generic acceptance or blind faith.  In this context, “believes” or pisteuō  refers to complete trust and possession of saving faith necessary to becoming a Christian.  
Jesus Christ is the Perfect Gift who offers and provides salvation from our sins.  Nevertheless, our acknowledgement of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice leads to our inevitable decision to either accept or reject the plan of salvation.  I John 4:10-11 makes this clear: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  The Apostle Paul confirms the role of saving faith in Romans 1:16-17 by declaring “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to know that the Perfect Gift Giver, provides the Perfect Gift, so we can accept the Perfect Plan?  Thank God we won’t need a return receipt for this Gift!

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