No White Elephant Gift

At Christmas parties, we sometimes give what is known as “white elephant gifts.”  These are comical gifts that are often amusing or strange but many times useless—like giving a bald man a curling iron. When we give a gift in sincerity, our ultimate aim is to give the receiver a gift that is most useful to him or her. When God looked down upon the misery of the human race, He saw the ultimate gift He could give.  He gave the gift the people of earth needed most. He did not give a white elephant gift.

A passage of Scripture that expresses the purpose of Christ coming into this world is 1 Timothy 1:15: “Trustworthy is the message and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” Jesus came into the world for the purpose of saving sinners. He came as a vulnerable baby and was born of a woman (Gal 4:4). He had full humanity and, as such, had a body. His body was prepared so that He could do the will of God (Heb. 10:5, 6), and that will of God was that we might have the gift of holiness (Heb. 10:9, 10). Jesus was separate from sinners and altogether holy (7:26). He then became the sacrificial lamb who died in our place so that we could be forgiven and given the gift of holiness (Heb. 9:14, John 1:29).  Christ came into this world and fulfilled the law perfectly (Matt. 5:17). Everything about Jesus was good and perfect, and only He could boast, “…I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29). Only Jesus could qualify as a sin offering and sinless sacrifice.

The baby Jesus grew into a boy who increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). He grew from boyhood into manhood. His hands and His feet were tiny when He was an infant. Yet, those hands and feet would one day be used to serve others. With His hands He would touch the lepers, bless children, heal the sick, and feed the multitudes. His feet would carry Him to teach people about the kingdom of God.  Ultimately those hands and feet would serve the needs of humanity by absorbing not only nails, but terrible, unabated pain to pay for our sin.

If you asked anyone about the reason Christ came into the world, you would hear things like, “He came to help the poor,” “He came to teach and to show us how to love,” “He came to heal the sick.” All these answers are correct. Jesus did come to teach by means of the things He would proclaim (Luke 4:18). He came to show us how to love (John 13:34).  He did heal those oppressed by the Devil (Luke 13:1-16, Acts 10:38). Yet, the above purposes are secondary. Jesus’ healing ministry was related to His Messianic credentials, and His teaching was to show us that He was the Messiah. Thus His primary purpose was that He might die for the sins of the world (John 3:14-18). A person, for example when Jesus was on the earth, may have needed to be healed and would have needed to be taught. Universally, however, all need to be forgiven and Christ’s ultimate aim was that He could provide that forgiveness.  That was the reason He came into the world.

Jesus’ entrance into the world was one bookend of human redemption. If He was going to be the second Adam and be a man who would fully obey the Father, then it necessitated that He be born. His resurrection was the other bookend of human redemption. Jesus, after suffering for our sins and dying, would have to rise from the dead (Luke 24:25, 1 Cor. 15:3, 4).  Jesus came into this world in humility and was born as a humble baby (Luke 2:7). He would leave this world glorified as He returned to heaven (Luke 24:50). Christ came into this world so that He might be the qualified substitute as our sin bearer. His purpose was to accomplish our redemption, and redemption from sin is man’s greatest need.

My primary need as a person is that I might be rescued from this spiritual death and dominion that makes up Satan’s kingdom (Acts 26:18, Gal. 1:3, 4, Eph. 2:1-4). God did not give us a useless gift in providing Jesus. God gave us the ultimate gift in sending His Son into this world.  Have you ever received God’s gift?