Thursday, December 21, 2023

How God Loved the World

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

The story is told of a very wealthy man who shared a passion for art collecting with his son. Priceless works of art adorned the walls of their family estate. Then one day the young man left to serve his country. After a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His son had been killed in battle.

Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming holidays with sadness. The joy of the season had vanished with the death of his son. But on Christmas morning, a knock at the door awakened him. A soldier was standing at his door with a large package in his hands. He said, “I was a friend of your son’s. I was the one he was rescuing when he died.”

Then the soldier gave the father the package. It was a portrait of his son, which the soldier had painted. Though art critics never would have considered it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the father hung his son’s portrait over his fireplace, setting aside millions of dollars’ worth of art.

He spent that Christmas sitting in his chair, gazing at the priceless gift he had received. It became his most valued possession, eclipsing his interest in any other art in his collection. Six months later, the father died, and the art community waited with anticipation for the estate’s upcoming auction. Then it was announced that all the art would be auctioned on Christmas Day.

Collectors from around the world gathered to bid on the spectacular paintings. But the auction began with a painting that wasn’t on anyone’s list: the soldier’s portrait of the estate owner’s son. When the auctioneer asked for an opening bid, the room fell silent.

Then someone said, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s move on.”

The auctioneer replied, “We’ll have to sell this one first. Who will take the son?”

Finally, the man’s neighbor offered $50. “It’s all I have,” he said. “But I knew the boy, and I loved him. I would like to have it.”

The auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice, gone.”

Cheers filled the room, and then someone called out, “Now we can bid on the real treasures!”

But then the auctioneer made an announcement: the sale was over.

Everyone was stunned. “What do you mean it’s over?” someone asked. “We’re here to buy millions of dollars’ worth of art! What’s going on?”

“It’s very simple,” the auctioneer said. “According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son gets it all.”

The same is true this Christmas. Because of the Father’s love, whoever takes the Son gets it all. God demonstrated His love by giving us the most important gift of all: the gift of His Son.

That is why Jesus came. He came to give us life, to die for our sins, and to heal our broken hearts. He gives us hope beyond the grave and a purpose for life here on Earth.

Copyright © 2023 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

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