[Photo Courtesy of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists]

General Conference

God’s Incredible Gift

Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ted N.C. Wilson, President, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

E ditor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to YouTube on December 25, from president of the Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson. Elder Wilson will release a new video each week. You can see past messages here.

During this special time of year, I want to give you my warmest greetings—wherever you are in the world right now, in the southern hemisphere enjoying the warmth and sunlight of the summer, or in the north, where snow has fallen and we are wrapped up in winter—I invite you to take a few moments together as we consider the greatest gift ever given—Jesus Christ.

We read in 2 Corinthians 5:19 “that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not putting their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

What a promise packed verse this is! God was in Christ, reconciling us to Himself. Here we have an amazing picture of the plan of salvation—it is a picture of a God who takes the initiative to restore the relationship that He once had with human beings, a loss keenly felt when mankind chose to separate themselves from their Creator.

Imagine that night, so long ago, in the hillside town of Bethlehem. A baby is born—not in a comfortable bed, but in a barn—a stable, surrounded by creatures He Himself designed. Lying there in the manger, He appeared to be just another infant born into the humble life of a small Jewish family. And yet amazingly, He was both fully human, and fully divine.

We see God in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself through the helplessness of an infant, through the innocence of a Child, by the faithfulness of a Young Carpenter, through the compassion of a Great Healer, in the wisdom of a Respected Teacher, and through the humility of an innocent Man turning the other cheek. We see Him on the cross, arms outstretched, seeking to reconcile the world to Himself.

A world that despised and rejected Him. A world where “He came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him.” What kind of God is this, who “seeks to save the lost,” who loves His enemies, who remains quiet in the face of fearsome attacks?

This is a God who seeks reconciliation with us. That’s what He wants—more than anything. He longs for us to be with Him—not only in the future, but now. 

For you see, His work of reconciliation did not end at the cross—it continues still, as He serves as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, ministering in the holy of holies, pleading His blood on our behalf.

Christ is actively participating in this important ministry right now. How wonderful it is to know that the God of the universe, who was willing to humble Himself and come to this world where He experienced our trials and sorrows, is the same Jesus who is now our advocate and high priest ministering for us in a real heavenly sanctuary.

We read in Hebrews 4:15 that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” How wonderful it is that our Savior understands us completely—and perhaps that is why He prayed 2,000 years ago, not only for His disciples, but for us as well, when He asked His Father -to n“keep through Your name those whom You have given me, that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11, NKJV). 

You see friends, Jesus realized that there was a need not only for us to be reconciled to Him, but that reconciliation would not be complete unless we are also reconciled to each other.

This is why He has given to us “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18). We are all called to this special ministry, and God has empowered us through His “word of reconciliation” (vs. 19), that is, the Bible. It is through His word that we find the keys to reconciliation with one another—confession, forgiveness, hope, and healing. Whatever difficulties, disputes, frustrations, we are now facing, the Lord has made a way for reconciliation, for unity among His believers.

His humble yet focused life, His selfless ministry to others, His amazing sacrifice, are examples for us, encouraging us to set aside anything that keeps us from being reconciled to Him, and to each other.

As we think about our wonderful Savior, whose birth we remember in a special way this time of year, let’s reflect on His ministry of reconciliation. God is the same today as He was yesterday. He is still in Christ, reaching His hand out in reconciliation, healing wounds, making people whole, offering each of us the opportunity to be united together in Him. And one day very soon, angels will again appear in the sky as they did so long ago above the hills of Bethlehem—this time not to herald the birth of the babe, put to accompany the King in his glory, coming to take His people home. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!

Let’s pray, our father in heaven, thank you for the marvelous expression of love, from the father, the son and the Holy Spirit in sending Jesus in the incarnation to become a human being, fully human, fully divine for our salvation, Jesus lived the perfect life, he died for us taken on our sins that we might have his righteousness and now we intercedes for us as our high priest in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, thank you for all the Jesus has done, Lord help us to proclaim this and Christ three angels messages with power as people understand we are coming very near to the Lord's second advance, his second coming. For so grateful we give you our sales now send us, use us and help us to say to you I will go and be part of this last proclamation, for Jesus is coming soon thank you for hearing us in Christ name, amen.

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