Accepting the Gift // Tara Mikes
My whole life, I struggled with the necessity of Jesus. I remember sitting with a colleague, devout in her faith, and telling her, “I’m ready to be a Christian, I’m ready to start this journey… but you have to tell me why Jesus had to die. I just can’t understand.” I naively thought that I was beginning to grasp Christianity, and yet without this essential piece, I was missing the entire point.
Sin separates us from our Father, breaching a chasm between us and Him. Canon J John compared our lives to a bank account; sin created an overdraft in our souls, leaving us all in debt. This means someone needed to bail us out, to physically pay the price for our indebted souls to be set free. Jesus Christ was the only one to ever accrue the credit necessary to cover our debts by living a sinless life. But in order to remedy our finances, He had to sign the check with His sacrificial blood.
In spite of its necessity, what Jesus offers us is hard to accept - faultless love categorically opposes our human nature. J John proposed another scenario, where an artist sees his oldest painting hanging on the wall of a shop, battered and dirtied from years of neglect. Understanding the painting’s true value, he approaches the shopkeeper and asks to buy it at 10,000 times the asking price, offering everything he has just to purchase back and restore the soiled painting. The shopkeeper is happy to reap a profit, but questions the man’s sanity, not understanding how anyone could love something as deeply as the artist loves this painting.
Yet that is precisely how our Father sees us. We might feel too damaged to retain value, but in His eyes, we are so treasured that He would sacrifice His only son to purchase us back from the grips of sin. We have to see our value anew through the lens of God in order to accept His incomparable gift. And we, just like the shopkeeper, must accept His radical offering in order to gain the profits of eternal life in heaven. Jesus’ death not only covered our debts and rectified our dismally overdrawn accounts, but it made us wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. Christ offers us a gift that settles our past, enriches our present, and glorifies our future. Nothing of this world will ever have the capacity to compare.