What message is conveyed in Jesus Christ’s gifts to us?
There seem to be two principle ways of appreciating a gift. One is as a windfall, a useful or desirable acquisition at no cost. The other is as a compliment, a thoughtful expression of affection. Of course, you can appreciate gifts in both ways, or neither, and in ways e.g. “How amusing that he thinks I wanted this.” not covered by these two as well.
Christ gave us three obvious gifts. He gave us knowledge through His teachings and by calling apostles to continue that work. He gave us immortality through resurrection. And He gave us salvation through His sacrifice for our sins.
The windfall-style appreciation of these gifts has been discussed often before; I want to discuss today the compliment-style appreciation instead.
The combined message of these three gifts is fascinating to me. Resurrection: “I like you enough to live with you forever.” Teachings: “You can be a great person with a little help.” Forgiveness: “You are thoroughly broken and continually break yourself, but I love you enough to keep patching you up.” There are, of course, other ways to spin these, but the combined message any way I can think of is the same: “I love you so much I will cover for your mess and help you learn, forever if it takes that long.”
I find that most of my life I can quite easily believe in Christ’s gifts without actually thinking about what they mean. I find, for example, that “twelve thousand years” feels longer in my head than does “eternity.” “Free tutoring for a semester” seems quite nearly as large as “everything you need to know to lead a perfect life.” Why do I think it would be more impressive to discover that all of my friends had forgotten even one of my more embarrassing moments than it is to know that that God is willing to not only forgive but truly fix all of my mistakes?
I definitely do not suffer from low self esteem; quite the opposite. And yet I find it almost impossible to accept that Christ would think me worth any one of these three gifts. My mind staggers under the weight of the compliment these gifts imply. And yet I have no doubt but that He meant to give each of them to me. This was no mere mass-produced token gift; Christ thinks you, I, and each other person worth multiple gifts of infinite worth. And being omniscient, He isn’t wrong; we actually are worth what he gives, incomprehensible thought that truth may be.
One gift, at least, I can wrap my head around: the gift of knowing that He knows that we are worth everything He gave for us. I thank God for the gift of knowing the gifts that God has given to me.