The Precious Gift at “Christmas”

The Precious Gift at “Christmas”

The precious gift at Christmas

I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly — John 10:10b

At this time of year there are always arguments about Christmas: Is the Christmas festival a Christian celebration or not? Should Christians celebrate it or not? Was Jesus born on Christmas day or not? Some people ignore such questions and carry on with the tradition passed down to them through the generations, while others will not associate with anything remotely resembling the festival. There is one certainty, however, and it is that Christ came. The fact cannot be denied or ignored. Scripture clearly outlines the glory, majesty, power and purpose of His coming. There was a sign in the heavens, angles singing in the skies above and a herald declaring the good news of the new-born Saviour. It was long prepared for, way back in the Garden of Eden, and long awaited, being manifested approximately 4000 years later. It was a triumphant declaration with a heaven-born purpose and Jesus Himself declared it 30 years later, “I have come that they may have life”.
What a profound statement to make! Jesus was talking to the living not the dead, yet He declares that He has “come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” What life could He mean? What life did the people of Israel not have, or not have sufficiently? After all, they had physical life and religion, which God had set in place back at Mount Sinai. However, they did not have true spiritual life. They needed to be born again, as Jesus had informed Nicodemus, one of the teachers of the Law (John 3:3), for the New Covenant would now be set in place. Jesus came to provide atonement for sin and give spiritual life, without which no-one would see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). The people had religion from God, but they did not have relationship with God. The people had rituals, including traditions instituted by men, but they did not have righteousness imputed from God. They were breathing the air but not the life of the Spirit – they were dead, and dead in their transgressions and sins. However, the glory for which Jesus came was that this state would be reversed.
When conveying the profound importance of the declared statement, Jesus used as backdrop the alternative that men have – the thief, who “does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10a). It paints a strong contrast, highlights the Gift that God has provided to all men and sobers the mind to what men have outside of Jesus – who is the Christ, the Messiah, the Saviour. The thief steals from people (including joy, peace, love, contentment, fulfilment, hopefulness, liberty, eternal security, faith, etc.); Christ supplies those attributes to people. The thief is a taker of life; Christ is a giver of life. The thief destroys peoples’ lives; Christ restores peoples’ lives. The apostle John carries this principle through long after Christ’s ascension into heaven, when in conclusion of his first epistle says, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).
The main question that needs to be asked is not related to whether Christmas should be celebrated or if Jesus was born on Christmas day. The main question to be asked is as follows, and its answer leads directly to further questions: Why did Jesus come? That He may give life (John 10:10b). Who has this life? He who has the Son (1 John 5:11–13). How do you obtain this life? By being born again (John 3:3). How do you become born again? By repenting of your sins, accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour (Acts 2:36–38), following in His ways and walking in obedience to His commands and the Word of God (John 14:15).
The outworking in peoples’ lives of this Gift of God in the form of Jesus Christ His Son – the eternal Son of God and also God the Son – is clearly explained by the apostle Paul, with the same vivid contrast that Jesus gave, when he says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1–7).
Dear Sinner, you who remain under God’s wrath outside of the saving grace provided through Jesus Christ, call upon the name of the LORD and be saved (Romans 10:13). Seek the LORD while He may be found, for He is rich in mercy to forgive all trespasses and sins (Isaiah 55:6–7). Seek the Gift that is the only true gift that mankind needs – Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins and turn to God and receive the gift of eternal life, which money cannot buy nor the world offer. Beloved Saint, you who have received God’s precious Gift, remember your Redeemer who has purchased you with His precious blood. Immediately after Jesus made the statement as recorded in our text for this devotional, He follows it by saying, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Not only did Jesus come to give life, He came to give up His life! Honour and praise Him with a heart of thanksgiving for what He has done for you, and for the gift of His life so freely given that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.


Judson McCawl

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