Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
–2 Corinthians 9:15
Some people would say the best Christmas gift is a gift that meets a very legitimate need. Several years ago I conducted the funeral service for an eighty-four-year-old friend of mine, and his daughter-in-law reminisced about a special Christmas gift this man had put together for his wife of many years. She said, “It was meticulously boxed and wrapped by Dad himself. It was undoubtedly one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever seen. Not diamonds, pearls, or a fur coat–it was a year’s supply of all of mom’s preferred toiletries: multiple cans of hairspray, antiperspirant, talcum powder, and so forth. To me it was a beautiful expression of a mature love that said, ‘I know you better and love you more than anyone else on the face of the earth, and I know what you need and use every single day of the year and I’m going to make sure you have it.’ I get misty-eyed thinking of Dad going up and down the aisle at Sam’s, lovingly shopping for those precious gifts for his beloved wife.” If I bought a gift like that for my wife, I would be out on my ear. Some people, though, like gifts that are practical and meet a real need. But I think you would agree with me that the very best of gift of all is one that is valuable, that comes from somebody we really care about, and that meets a basic need. All those things describe the gift that God sent to us at Bethlehem–His Son, Jesus Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul was trying to motivate the Christians in Corinth to give generously to an offering. So he closed the chapter by pointing to the most generous gift he could think of–that of Jesus Chris. He wrote, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (v. 15). There are two words I want you to notice in this verse. The first is the word “gift.” Jesus Christ was a gift. Several years ago I was on Fox News, and the anchorperson asked, “Pastor, have people missed the real meaning of Christmas with all of the commercialization of the holiday?” I said, “I have a different take on that. Personally, I don’t believe Christmas is really about warm feelings or eggnog or even family time. Christmas really is about gift giving.” That is the whole purpose of Christmas: gift giving. It is about God giving us the greatest gift of all: the gift of forgiveness through Christ. Anytime we give a gift, we ought to remember God’s great love for us in giving us Jesus Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 9:15, Paul also called Jesus “indescribable.” That is quite an admission from the apostle Paul. He was a learned man with more degrees than you could shake a stick at, but when he tried to describe Jesus Christ, he could not do it. So Paul used a word that is not found anywhere else in the New Testament. It is translated “indescribable.” Many lexicographers believe Paul actually just made up the word. When it came to describing Jesus Christ, all he could say was, “He is God’s indescribable gift.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Gift Beyond Description” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org