What makes a gift truly precious to you? Likely four factors are involved: (1) who gave the gift to you, (2) why it was given, (3) what was sacrificed to make the gift possible, and (4) whether the gift filled a real need. Giving thought to those factors can help us to deepen our appreciation for the ransom
WHO GAVE IT?
Some gifts are precious because they were given to us by someone in authority or someone whom we highly esteem. Other gifts, though of little monetary value, are cherished because they come from a dear family member or a trusted friend. This was the case with Russell’s gift to Jordan, mentioned in the preceding article. How does this apply to the gift of the ransom?
First, the Bible says that “God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might gain life through him.” (1 John 4:9) That fact makes this gift truly precious. No one has greater authority than God. Regarding him, a Hebrew psalmist wrote: “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” (Psalm 83:18) We could not receive a gift from a higher source.
Second, God is “our Father.” (Isaiah 63:16) How so? He gave us life. In addition, he loyally cares for us as a devoted father cares for his children. Addressing some of his ancient people as Ephraim, God asked: “Is Ephraim not a precious son to me, a beloved child? . . . My emotions are stirred for him. And I will surely have pity on him.” (Jeremiah 31:20) God feels the same way about his worshippers today. He is not only our almighty Creator but also our loyal Father and Friend. Does that not make any gift from him especially treasurable?
WHY IS IT GIVEN?
Some gifts are precious because they were given, not out of obligation, but out of genuine love. A truly unselfish giver does not expect to be repaid for his kindness.
God gave his Son in our behalf because he loved us. “By this the love of God was revealed in our case, that God sent his only-begotten Son,” says the Bible. To what end? “So that we might gain life through him.” (1 John 4:9) Was God obligated to do so? Not at all! “The ransom paid by Christ Jesus” is an expression of God’s “undeserved kindness.”
Why is God’s gift an act of “undeserved kindness”? The Bible explains: “God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Unselfish love prompted God to act in behalf of weak, helpless, sinful humans. We did not earn that love, nor can we ever repay him. His gift is the greatest expression of love in history.
WHAT SACRIFICE WAS MADE?
Some gifts are precious because they represent a great sacrifice made by the giver. When a person is willing to part with something that is of great value to him and gives it to us, we especially treasure the gift because of the sacrifice.
God “gave his only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16) He could not have offered us anyone dearer to him. During the aeons that God was creating the universe, Jesus worked alongside him and became “the one he was especially fond of.” (Proverbs 8:30) Jesus is God’s “beloved Son” and “the image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:13-15) Never has a closer bond existed between two intelligent beings.
Yet, God “did not even spare his own Son.” (Romans 8:32) Jehovah gave his very best for us. No gift has cost him more.
FILLING A DESPERATE NEED
Some gifts are precious because they fill a real need, even an urgent one. For example, how grateful you would be to someone who voluntarily paid for a lifesaving medical treatment that you could not afford! That gift would be priceless indeed, would it not?
“Just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) As descendants of Adam, we are all “dying,” unable to escape the stings of sickness and death or to reconcile ourselves to God and be free of guilt before him. And as lowly humans, we cannot make ourselves or anyone else “alive.” The Bible points out: “None of them can ever redeem a brother or give to God a ransom for him . . . It is always beyond their reach.” (Psalm 49:7, 8) We desperately need help because we cannot afford the price of the ransom. Left alone, we would be helpless.
Out of his great love, Jehovah willingly paid for the lifesaving “treatment” we need, so that by means of Jesus “all will be made alive.” How does the ransom accomplish this? “The blood of 1 John 1:7; 5:13) And what will the ransom do for our dead loved ones? “Since death came through a man, resurrection of the dead also comes through a man [Jesus].”
No gift has ever been given by a higher source or motivated by greater love than was the sacrifice of Jesus. No one has ever given up as much for us as Jehovah God has. And no gift fills a greater need than the one sacrifice that frees us from sin and death. Yes, no gift can even approach the indescribable worth of the ransom.
^ par. 19 For more information about God’s purpose to resurrect the dead, see chapter 7 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses and available at www.jw.org.