John 3:16 is probably the most well-known verse of Scripture. But how often do we really consider what it says? Sometimes we are so familiar with something that it loses its significance. Recent events (attempted bombings, random shootings etc.) that highlight the worst in humanity made me think of this verse and its relevance for us. If the world could embrace this one verse, everything would change.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This verse begins with God as all things do. God is the initiator of everything. God initiated the universe and all things in it. God initiated the nation of Israel by calling Abraham out. God initiated the line of kings through which the Messiah would come when he called David. And God initiated redemption for mankind when sent His Son. The thing most important for us is to realize is that God is still working out human history according to His purpose. He is still initiating events to place things in the exact order He wants them. He has never been surprised.
This verse tells us of the depth of God’s love. “God so loved” means to show us “how much” God loved. The action that proves how much God loves is the sending of his Son. Consider the magnitude of sending your only child to a foreign land that is intensely hostile for the sole purpose of winning those who are so hostile to you; all the time knowing that your child would not only die for those who hate you but die in a way reserved for the worst of criminals.
The world is the object of God’s love. Not the physical planet but the inhabitants thereof. Those same inhabitants who mock God’s Son and reject him generation after generation are the ones who remain the object of His love. There is no difference made between race, gender, or creed. God is making clear that His love is for ALL of the inhabitants of the world. The rich, the poor, the sick, the healthy, the criminal, the king, the slave; ALL are loved by God.
Watch for part two, where we will consider God’s Son, belief, death, and life.