God So Loved the World
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."1
In a tribe of Indians, or so the story goes, someone was stealing chickens. The Chief declared that, if caught, the offender would receive 10 lashes.
When the stealing continued, he raised it to 20 lashes. Still the chickens methodically disappeared. In anger the Chief raised the sentence to 100 lashes.
The thief was finally caught, but the Chief faced a terrible dilemma. The thief was his mother! When the day of penalty came, the whole tribe gathered. Would the Chief's love override his justice? The crowd gasped when he ordered his mother to be tied to the whipping post.
The Chief removed his shirt, revealing his powerful stature, and took the whip in hand. But instead of raising it to strike the first blow, he handed it to a strong, young brave standing at his side. Slowly the Chief walked over to his mother and wrapped his massive arms around her in an engulfing embrace. Then he ordered the brave to give him the 100 lashes.
That's what JESUS did for you and me when he came to earth clothed in an external garment of human flesh some 2000 years ago, which is commemorated as "Christmas." In love he became our substitute and died in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins. He overcame our inability to save ourselves by paying the price for our sins. His death bridged the gulf between God and man and made it possible for us to be reconciled to God and to be restored to fellowship with him through faith in Christ and in his atoning death for us.2
Suggested prayer: "Dear Jesus/God, how I thank You for loving me so much that You gave Your life to die on the cross at Calvary to pay the penalty for every sin I have ever committed, for Your full and free pardon, and for the gift of eternal life for all who accept You as their personal Savior. For this I will be eternally grateful. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus's name, amen."
NOTE: To help you to be sure you have accepted God's forgiveness and his gift of eternal life, click on "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: http://www.actsweb.org/christian.
1. John 3:16 (NASB).
2. Contributed by Alexandra Perros from Holland.