Preface: The book of Jonah reveals that God is more willing to forgive others than we often are.
The greatest gifts in life are not the most expensive ones, those that money can buy. There are some gifts that you get because you’ve earned them. For example, in Vacation Bible School, I would memorize portions of Scripture and then earn points to get a prize. To get more points and prizes, I worked hard to learn the longest verses. To this day some of my favorite stuffed animals are the ones I earned in VBS.
Then there are gifts that have sentimental value, such as heirlooms. And there are also gifts that come in the form of simple gestures of friendship and love. In my life I have had the privilege of giving and receiving such gifts. But the greatest gift I have ever received is something I will never deserve; I could never learn enough Scripture or be “good enough” for this gift.
This gift is God’s grace through His Son Jesus. I definitely don’t deserve it; nevertheless it is offered to me freely. When I consider the scene at Calvary, where my Savior was mocked, humiliated, and crucified, I am overwhelmed. On that wooden cross meant for me, He was taunted and insulted. The crimes He utterly despised, He was being charged with. He was deserted by His earthly family and friends, and He felt forsaken by His Father and the heavenly host.
My limited vocabulary cannot even begin to express the gratitude and amazement I feel when I envision the scene at Calvary. I have often wondered what He sees in me that He was willing to give up everything for me. I read, “It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus to the cross, it was His love” for me. This gift of love is the most precious gift I have ever received. It is because of this gift that we have the hope of eternal life. It is God’s grace that should urge us to live a life that pleases Him. This gift is absolutely free and available to anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior.
Ila Pereira, Vallejo, California, U.S.A.