Some of you may have heard the phrase “For God so loved the world …”
Perhaps you have seen this scriptural reference in the stadium of almost any athletic event.
Someone, usually dressed in wild attire is holding up the sign of John 3:16 while the cameras zoom in and they and those around the person holding the sign cheers and points to the sign.
John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Perhaps you have also heard that phrases “God is love.” And “All things from God is love”
Even though we have heard these phrases throughout our lives, the question to many is …
What exactly does that mean? Well, I am glad you asked.
Speaking of love, one of my greatest loves is teaching the Bible, so much so, I got a master’s degree in theology and take great joy in teaching, training and equipping others in reading, studying and teaching the Bible.
When I teach others the Bible, one of the first questions we ask is, “What does the text mean?” So through careful observation, we ask ... What does this Scripture passage say? And with deeper investigation we ask ourselves — What does the Scripture passage mean? After those two important steps, we ask — What does the Scripture passage mean to me? In other words, can I apply these Scripture passages to my everyday life?
So, what does this passage of John 3:16 say, mean and mean to each of us right now?
By reading and observing the Gospel of John, chapters 1 and 2 and beginning of 3 we see that Jesus was in the middle of his ministry on earth. In chapter one, the author John writes of the Deity of Christ and the witness of John the Baptist. In addition, he tells us of how Jesus after his baptism by John the Baptist began to gather his disciples.
In chapter two Christ changes water into wine and cleanses the temple.
In chapter three a man named Nicodemus, who was a ruler and leader among the Jewish people, wanted to know about Jesus so badly, but concerned about what others say, he came by night in secret to learn more about Jesus. Nicodemus was full of the desire to know who Jesus was. And so Nicodemus’ questions get answered
“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
“Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
Jesus, clearly explains to Nicodemus, His very existence on earth. Jesus who not only is the Word made flesh, but He is also God’s 3D love to the world, tangible, in flesh, One that could be touched, handled and experienced, responded to those questions with sound, clear and simple responses.
Now we get to the meat ... John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
My friends are you afraid to read the Bible because of what your friends may think?
Just like Nicodemus, go to Jesus and you can read the Bible anytime, away from others, even at night.
Are you not understanding God’s love and perhaps too timid to ask?
Just like Nicodemus, go to Jesus. Read the Bible with observation, interpretation and application, then pray and ask God to give you understanding of His word.
Are you struggling to actually go to Him?
Jesus is tangible; you can go to Him with your questions by reading the Bible, believing what he says, applying it to your life and praying about it. And asking others trained in His word to help guide and lead you.
My desire for you is to understand and to be completely saturated by the Lord of God through His Son Jesus Christ.
Resources: Gospel of John, Chapters 1, 2 and 3
Upcoming classes: I, II, III John, James and Philemon Tuesday morning and evenings