It was pre-2008. I was commenting on the gospel in a message delivered to New Song Church in Bolingbrook, IL. I think it was either Easter or Christmas. In the message, I asked a question which I have asked many times since.
“If the greatest being in the universe wants to give the greatest gift he could possibly give to you, what must he give you?”
My wife would say to the kids when they were taking tests, “pay attention to the questions; the answer is often in the question. Look at the logic inside the question.”
So what is the answer to the question? If the greatest being in the universe wants to give the greatest gift he could possibly give, he must give himself. This is precisely what the gospel proclaims. God gave himself. Jesus gives himself as the greatest gift he could possibly give. He promises to continually give himself both now and for all eternity (Hebrews 13:5). It is what he must do if he wants to give the greatest gift he could possible give. It is what he must do. It is what he did. It is what he promises to do for all eternity. Which is why John Piper writes in his excellent book, God is the Gospel:
This, in green below, is important for us to grapple with and so I am stealing a lesson that I have learned reading poetry. I have reformatted Piper’s two paragraphs to help the reader slow down and take in every point he is trying to make and emphasized certain phrases with italics, underline and bold letters to draw attention to what is most important. I have also added two bracketed comments to make Dr. Piper’s meaning clearer. (Presumptuous of me perhaps?)
“The acid test of biblical God-centeredness—and faithfulness to the gospel is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever? Does your happiness hang on seeing the cross of Christ as a witness to your worth, or as a way to enjoy God’s worth forever? Is God’s glory in Christ the foundation of your gladness?
From the first sin in the Garden of Eden to the final judgment of the great white throne, human beings will continue to [wrongly] embrace the love of God as the gift of everything but himself.
Indeed there are ten thousand gifts that flow from the love of God. The gospel of Christ proclaims the news that he has purchased by his death ten thousand blessings for his bride [the Church]. But none of these gifts will lead to final joy if they have not first led to God. And not one gospel blessing will be enjoyed by anyone for whom the gospel’s greatest gift was not the Lord himself.”
God is the Gospel, John Piper, p. 11-12.
“Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”