Are You Grateful for What Jesus Did?
WHAT could be a more simple and direct way to express gratitude than by the words, “Thank you”? But not all who say, “Thank you” truly appreciate what they have received. Those words could be said for other reasons, such as a mere polite form of courtesy in response to another person’s deed. Proper, yet mechanical.
However, upon receiving a gift, especially a prized one, genuine, heartfelt expressions of gratitude are most fitting. A gift can make us happy; it can fill a need. When it does both, the gift is of exceptional value. But if, thereafter, the gift is ignored or abused, then any expression of thanks was hollow. Therefore, appreciation, or lack of it, is often shown by how we feel about a gift and how we use it.
Mankind’s Creator, Jehovah, gave us his most valuable possession, his Son, as a gift. John 3:16 says: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” That gift will make us happy and will fill our needs if we show genuine gratitude. Yet, since Jehovah is the Giver, why should you be grateful to Jesus?
What Jesus Did for You
‘What did Jesus do for me?’ you may ask. Even before you were born, Jesus did something for you. What was that? Jesus surrendered his heavenly, prehuman existence to be born as a human by means of the virgin Mary. (Luke 1:26-33) This was no little thing. Would you be willing to move away from a home of peace, security, and health, where you were surrounded by loyal friends, to reside in a place where strife, danger, and disease were constant, and foes were plotting your death? ‘In no way,’ most would answer. Yet, that is what Jesus did.—John 17:5; Philippians 2:5-8.
Because Jehovah God and not any human was his Father, Jesus was free from sin. (Luke 1:34, 35) Not once did he transgress in thought, word, or deed. In spite of the sinful conditions all around him and the opposition he had to face, he could say to his opposers: “Who of you convicts me of sin?” Not one could! As the apostle Peter expressed it: “He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth.” (John 8:46; 1 Peter 2:22) Based on these facts, let us illustrate further how this involves you.
Many people are squeamish about visiting the ill persons at a hospital, let alone living with them. Jesus was perfect in body, so he had perfect health. Still, he did not isolate himself from others, nor did he seek to live in a sterile environment. Rather, out of love, Jesus willingly ate, slept, and associated with diseased and dying mankind.—Matthew 15:30-37; Mark 1:40-42.
Then Jesus voluntarily gave up that perfect human existence for the benefit of mankind. Being perfect, he had the right to endless human life, and this he sacrificed to give us a grand opportunity. As he himself stated: “The Son of man came . . . to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matthew 20:28) His apostles gave like testimony regarding this: “We behold Jesus, who has been made a little lower than angels, . . . that he by God’s undeserved kindness might taste death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9) Jesus’ laying down his human life for mankind was the greatest possible expression of love any human could make. By it he provided the greatest gift that we as imperfect human creatures could possibly receive, namely, an opportunity for everlasting life.—John 3:16; 15:13.
‘Jesus certainly has done much for me,’ you may conclude, ‘but how can I show that I am grateful?’