The Unspeakable Gift

Published: 19 March 2007

By Neil Phelan

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift"- 2 Corinthians 9:15

As Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to take up a collection for the poor saints, he could find no greater encouragement than to compare their giving to what God had given them for their redemption. He turned their attention to Christ, the unspeakable gift of God. Paul was saying to them, "God loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son for you. Consider this gift as you take up your offering."

This word, ‘unspeakable', does not mean that we should not speak of Christ. Quite the contrary! We are to speak of Him often to all who will listen. It means that this gift is too wonderful to describe. Many poems, songs, paintings and sermons have tried the hearts of His people as they endeavored to fully depict the fullness of Christ and His salvation. They will all confess that He is unspeakable. On May 8th, 1508, Michelangelo signed a contract to repaint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This painting included illustrations of the twelve apostles seated on magnificent thrones. In the corners, the artist illustrated episodes of the miraculous salvation of God's people. These all pointed to the coming of Christ and His promise to save His people from their sins. My, what a wonder this is to behold! Yet, as beautiful as this piece of art is, there is much, much more to paint. Even this masterpiece falls far short of fully portraying Jesus Christ, this unspeakable gift.

One of our favorite songs this holiday season is "O Holy Night". When this song was sang at the Arkansas Symphony the other night we thought we could see a few angels dancing on the stage lights. We especially love the part that goes, "Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices" as the song describes the angelic chorus on that night when they appeared to shepherds watching their flocks by night. It reminds us of the scene that we all shall behold when Jesus returns, when every knee shall bow, and ever tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord! Yet, as beautiful as the song was that night, there is much, much, more to sing. If every tongue in heaven and on earth praised Him at once they would still fall far short of the praise that is due to His matchless name. He is indeed unspeakable!

Our space is used today, and we still haven't considered the mighty poems of Milton, the many sermons of Spurgeon, and the other great voices of the past. Nor have we trolled the wonderful songs in our hymnals which point to the unspeakable gift of Jesus Christ. No, we can not fully tell you today just how wonderful this gift is, but let us all be found trying to do so until He returns. In the midst of all the hubbub of activity this Christmas season, let us all pause for just a few moments, lift our voices up to our heavenly Father, and thank Him for Christ Jesus, our unspeakable gift.

-Neil Phelan, Jr.,Pastor Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, Donaldson, AR.