John 3:16 tells the Christmas story

Uplifting Moments column
Mike Cleeton
Peace United Church of Monticello

    If every Christian was asked if they could recite one Bible verse, that Bible verse would probably be John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”  Even though we don’t think of this favorite passage as being a part of the Christmas story, it actually tells it all.  The baby in the manger in Bethlehem was the one and only son of God.  The Christ who would be crucified at Easter some 33 years later to save us all.

    I would like to share with you the following story that brings to life John 3: 16 and also the Christmas story.  A very wealthy man and his only son spent many years acquiring a very rare and impressive art collection.  The collection was worth many millions of dollars.  One day the son was called to enlist in the armed services.  One day the rich man received a call from the State Department that his son, his only son, had been killed in action.   The man was devastated.

    Shortly after the phone call, the man received another call from a young man who had served with his son and wanted to stop by to give the man something.  When the doorbell rang, the man saw a young soldier standing there holding a wrapped package.  The package contained a portrait of the dead son drawn by the young man at the door.  The soldier gave the father the picture and left.

    The father hung the rather pedestrian portrait among the famous art works.  Years later, the father passed away.  There was to be a large auction to sell all of the art works that the father had collected.  Rich and famous collectors from all over the world attended the sale.  The first piece that the auctioneer picked up was the amateurish portrait that the soldier had drawn of the man’s son.  When he started the bidding no one responded.  Finally, the auctioneer asked if there was someone who would take the portrait.  The long-time gardener had been standing in the doorway and said that he would.

    After the gardener came up to pick up the free portrait, the auctioneer banged his gavel and said that the auction was concluded.  Of course, the collectors asked why in a very indignant way.  The auctioneer explained that the rich man’s will was very explicit that whoever received the portrait of the son, would receive all of the other valuable pieces of art in the collection.

    This is the story that Christmas and John 3:16 share with us.  We can receive the only begotten son of God, Jesus Christ, for absolutely nothing except our desire to have him in our lives.  However, with that freely given gift of God, comes all the riches of God’s love and everlasting life with Him in Heaven.


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