Free books! Free clothes! Free food! Free tickets to that dream vacation spot. Everyone loves to get something for free! After all, if a manufacturer or store wants to see a large crowd waiting to get into their store, all they have to do is hang up sign saying they are giving away free items and in no time at all, there are people lined up and ready to get something for nothing.
But what is the value of these free gifts? Yes, the items may serve a temporary need, but what is their value in the long run? After all, no matter how good an item is, it will ultimately lose its sparkle or your needs will change and the item will be “just another thing”. Of course, if the free item is a food item, then when it’s gone; it’s gone!
There is one free gift that never loses its value. It has been around for centuries and its value has never decreased. In fact, it becomes more precious to the “recipient” as time goes by. This ultimate free gift is that of God’s grace.
God the Creator, made this world and all its inhabitants many years ago. He created a beautiful garden and only gave them one direct order- do not eat from The Tree. Unfortunately, humanity failed to follow that one directive. The result-Adam and Eve were removed from the garden and the scourge of sin had entered the world. In order to redeem man from sin, the Son of God left His heavenly home and came to earth. He was born of a virgin, grew up as any other child and became a man. However, he was unlike others because He never did wrong. He lived a sinless, perfect life. As an adult, He spent his time performing miracles, teaching those who followed Him, and reaching out to the down trodden. He never asked for a monetary gift to “cover His expenses” as he traveled, though many people recognized that He was The One whom the prophets had foretold and contributed He and His followers.
Jesus, the Creator of the universe, was so poor the Bible says He had nowhere to lay His head. There were no coupons at the Motel 6, no group savings at Living Social-just the goodness, love and support of those who opened their homes to Him. Yet, as with any leader, there were many who opposed Him. These people set out to denounce His deity and destroy His ministry by putting Him to death.
Jesus, the perfect Son of God was crucified on a splintery, wooden cross. It was not some smooth piece of well-sanded wood. He was hung between two thieves-one who denounced and one who accepted Jesus on his deathbed. Jesus hung there for all to see and while his body had been beaten and bloodied, He still looked at those around Him as well as far into the future and declared,
“Father, forgive them.”
Even at a time when anyone else would have turned their back on all humanity, Jesus was still reaching out in love and forgiveness to those who do not deserve it—which would be all of us.
After Jesus died, His body was removed from the cross and placed in borrowed tomb. His body was wrapped in grave clothes and a stone was placed at the tomb’s entrance. A Roman guard was set up to ensure that no one could remove His body thus proving His words that He would raise again.
True to His word, three days later when two of His followers, Mary and Mary Magdalene, went to the tomb but they were greeted with a most astounding sight! The stone had been rolled away and an angel greeted them saying,
“He is not here! He is risen. Come see the place where he Lord has laid. Go quickly now and tell his disciples that He is risen from the dead.”
Can you imagine the delight of His followers? Jesus the Son of God is not dead! The grave was empty! Mary and Mary Magdalene did as they were commanded and raced back to town to tell the disciple that Jesus was alive. Over the next forty days, Jesus was seen by more than 500 people before He ascended into Heaven.
You can go to the graves of the world's greatest prophets and leaders and see where they are buried. But when you go to Jerusalem and see the tomb-that is what you will find-an empty sepulcher! Jesus is not dead. He told His followers that he would be killed, but that after 3 days he would rise again. And, that is exactly what happened.
There is no body in that borrowed tomb, because Jesus rose again and is now in Heaven. He is waiting for you to accept His free gift. He defeated death and reaches out to you with love, grace and forgiveness. His grace is sufficient to cover all that you have ever done or will ever do. The cost for doing wrong is death, but He has paid the bill. He simply asks that you invite Him in.
However, humanity frequently doesn’t recognize the perfect gift. They have overlooked Him, scoffed Him and abused Him, but His message is still the same. Jesus still holds His arms open wide and offers you the ultimate free gift of eternal life in Heaven. He wants to know you and help you-He already loves you more than anyone else. All He asks of you is that you receive him. Are you willing to accept this free gift?