The words FREE GIFT attract the attention of most of us. Marketers especially like to use these words in upper case to draw people’s attention to what they are pitching. But is a gift really FREE?
A gift is free for the person who receives it but not for the person who gives it. The giver always pays a price – unless of course you ‘forwarded’ the gift that you got on your birthday but didn’t like! In that case, neither you nor your poor [ 🙁 ] friend will pay anything. ‘Forwarding’ such a gift is so easy – much like forwarding an SMS joke when you have subscribed to a free SMS pack with your cell phone service provider.
The gift of salvation that Jesus Christ promises to give us, comes at a very hefty price. But that price has already been paid by him on the Cross at Calvary. [Read this post to learn more] We simply need to open our hearts and lives to him, in order to receive that gift. So there is no dollar value attached to it – no rituals to carry out, no mantras to be chanted, no sacrifice we need to offer. Salvation is a gift of grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8) Jesus paid the price. The moment we open our hearts, we start gaining from the value of the sacrifice.
Price vs. Value
Jesus’ work on the Cross was the price he paid for our sins. The salvation we get when we receive him, is the value of this sacrifice. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12)
In the next post, we will take the birthday gift analogy a bit further, to explain the urgency (time-sensitivity) of the need to claim this FREE GIFT of salvation. So stay logged-in!
Jesus Christ – Evangelist # 1, was evangelizing most of the time he spent in ministry. Either it was in the form of sermons and parables; or through healing, deliverance and miracles, followed by the learning from these. Here are 3 examples from Jesus’ life as an evangelist:
- Samaritan Woman: Jesus walked 25 miles (40 km) to win the Samaritan woman’s soul. She came to draw water from the well, but ended up receiving the water of life that made her soul well! Using a creative approach that was so characteristic of him, Jesus led her to a point where she would ask for the living water, and would find it in him. “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13)
- At Capernaum: When the people who ate Jesus’ “miracle loaves” were filled, they followed him to Capernaum. When they asked for a sign in order to believe in him as one sent by God the Father, Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32) Like with the Samaritan woman, Jesus’ creative approach led the people to ask him for this ‘bread’.
- On the Cross: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke:23:43) The thief of the cross asking Jesus to ‘remember’ him, and Jesus’ assurance to him that he was saved through repentance and belief in him (Jesus); both these statements were made in front of all who were witness to the crucifixions. This was probably the best form of evangelism you could get to see. It was in action and not just speech. Despite his own pain, Jesus did not forget to spread the good news of salvation.
The thief on the cross did not have time to lead a Christian life as he died soon after. But you and i have this opportunity. In the next post, we will look at how God’s 3-point plan for our new life – in Christ.
Can you imagine yourself on your deathbed, writhing in pain from wounds all over? Now imagine having to teach a few lessons from that place! Yet Jesus Christ did just that, from his deathbed – the Cross.
Jesus did not live one moment for himself. He lived every moment for his Father in Heaven – to do His will; and he lived for you and me – to show us the way of salvation – himself. Let’s look at his first 3 statements on the cross:
- “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34): Even in that state of physical agony, Jesus prayed for those who crucified him and got him crucified. “Them” also means us, because whenever we sin, we offend God first and others only next.
- “Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:27): John was Jesus’ cousin. Jesus was not concerned about his pain or death but about the well-being of the woman who gave him birth. That led him to give John the responsibility of caring for his mother after his death and ascension.
- “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43): Again, it was for the thief on the cross who repented, that Jesus reserved his third statement. Jesus looked at Paradise rather than the grave. And he had the thief’s salvation in mind than his deliverance from pain.
When Jesus began his ministry on Earth, he meant business. These 3 statements on the Cross were the climax of his work not only as the only Saviour of mankind, but also as evangelist # 1. In a later post, we shall look at Jesus the Evangelist. Stay tuned!
P.S.: They say love is sacrifice. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for you and me. He is love embodied. To learn more about the gift he wants to give you, read this post.
“God has a plan for your life.” You’ve heard this over and over again, I’m sure. And the story that follows will convince you that it’s true.
3 trees were selected for being chopped and made into something. The smallest one was unhappy that it was made into a little wooden crib. The middle one unhappy because it was made into a boat. And the biggest one was unhappy as they made a wooden cross from it. Then one day the baby Jesus was put into that wooden crib. He grew up and sat in the boat and went about “fishing” for the Apostles and giving sermons from it. And as you probably know, he later carried the wooden Cross and was nailed to it. The Cross became the means of Man’s Salvation.
Never be upset with what you have or what you are. God takes you as you are and shapes you into something that may look useless or ordinary, but will do great things when His time comes. Allow Jesus to do great things through you! God promises “those who dwell under his shadow,” that:
“They shall be revived like grain,
And grow like the vine,
Their scent shall be like the wine (fresh grape juice) of Lebanon.” (Hosea 14:7)
And, like I quoted the Bible in an earlier post, God’s promises are genuine. As the Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.(Hebrews 13:8)
Truly, Jesus is Lord!