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12

Beginning With a Gift

Key References: John 1:1-18; The Desire of Ages, chap. 1, pp. 19-26; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 1, pp. 73-77; vol. 9, pp. 105-109; Our Beliefs, nos. 1, 10, 11

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3).

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Jesus is God’s ultimate gift of grace to us.

What do you think when you look at your baby pictures or book and see some gifts that people gave you before you were even born? Perhaps your mom has even saved a few of those gifts. Did you know God gave you a gift, a priceless gift, even before you were born? even before the world was born?

I can’t believe it! Christmas is almost here again. You know what, Mom? They put up the Christmas display today in the town square,” Heather informed her mother as they did the dishes together. Mother smiled as she passed her daughter another pot to dry.

“Speaking of Christmas,” Heather continued thoughtfully, “I’ve heard all my life that Jesus is God’s gift to us. But what does that really mean, Mom?” she asked.

“That’s a good question, Heather,” Mother responded. “A lot of people know that Jesus is God’s gift to us. But not everyone understands what that gift really represents and how much it truly cost. In the Bible, though, the first chapter of John helps us to discover the real meaning of God’s gift,” Mother said as she dried her hands, picked up her Bible, and turned to the book of John.

“Did you know that Jesus was there at the Creation of the world,” Mother quizzed Heather, “and that He was actively involved in creating our world?”

“Really?” Heather responded with a look of surprise. “I thought that Jesus’ mission was to be born as a baby, to live on earth as our example, and to die and be resurrected so we could be saved.”

“Yes, that’s very true,” Mother agreed. “But God’s plan to save us didn’t start there. God and Jesus were closely knit from the very beginning. Together with the Holy Spirit They created the world and every living being. The Bible says that ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made’ [John 1:1-3].”

“Wow, that’s something to think about,” Heather admitted. “So what else did Jesus do besides help to create the world?” She was curious now.

“Well, from the very beginning, before the creation of the human race, God and Jesus agreed that Jesus would give His life to save them if they should sin. No one else could save them. Only Jesus,” Mother added.

“Wow, how do you think God felt sending His Son way down here to the earth? God must have missed His Son while He was away,” Heather said thoughtfully.

“I’m sure He did. But what was even harder for God was watching the way people treated His Son. Imagine making that kind of sacrifice, to give such a valuable, priceless gift as His only Son, just to have the people He loved respond to Him with hatred and rejection.

We cannot imagine the heartbreaking sorrow God experienced when He saw Jesus die on the cross,” Mother said sadly.”

“I know how it feels to give someone a gift and have the person not appreciate it,” Heather replied. “I guess that’s what John is telling us when he writes, ‘He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him’ [John 1:11],” Heather said, nodding with new understanding. “God gave the world a gift that hardly anyone appreciated.”

“That’s right. Those people who really understood the Scriptures did recognize that Jesus was from God and that He was a very special gift sent to save them. They saw how kind and good and loving He was, and they knew that this Man must be from God,” Mother added.

“So how much did this gift really cost? And how much do we have to pay for it?” Heather asked.

“That’s the best part of all, Heather,” Mom responded. “The price of the gift was the life of God’s dear Son. But the cost to you and me is nothing. Just accept it, and it’s yours—free of charge,” Mother said, smiling.

“That’s an offer I can’t refuse!” Heather replied and folded her dish towel. “I certainly agree with you.” Mother smiled and closed her Bible.