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The Most Familiar Verse in the Bible REVITALIZED: John 3:16



I have a resistance towards one verse in the Bible, more than the others, and it's a surprising one.


But I despise how overused it is.


Even so, as I study John and venture through it, I had to face it. (Very dramatic, I know.) Yet as I faced it, the Lord opened my heart and my eyes to appreciate this particular verse and take it deeper. I had a renewed understanding of the intention and passion behind that verse, and that's what I want to share with you today.


John 3:16. (How many of us can recite it off the top of our heads?)


Let's dive in.


"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16


(Disclaimer: as I dove into this verse myself, I leaned heavily on the Enduring Word Commentary, so a lot of what I will be sharing with you all today is from there or inspired by it. You can check out Enduring Word Commentary here!)


PART 1: "For God so loved the world"

This verse has such immense power but because we hear it so often, I think we miss the weight of it. I know I do. But the whole point, the whole mission of Jesus' life was love. He was motivated by love, lived in love, and died because of love. Not only did He like us or even just love us, but so loved us. He saw us and decided that He loved us so much that a relationship with us was worth the sacrifice of leaving His throne in Heaven and dying the most brutal death on earth.


To be completely honest, as I'm writing this, I'm trying to come up with the words to express the vastness of this love, but I don't think anyone could ever describe it well enough. It brings chills to my body to think that Jesus looked at me and decided that I was worth it, that He loves me to the point of death. It's absolutely the most humbling and magnificent gift ever given, a miracle beyond miracles, because who I am to deserve a love like this. Who am I? I'm absolutely nothing, but through Jesus' eyes, I'm worthy and I am loved. And so are you.


Because the verse doesn't say "God so loved the select few" or "God so loved the good ones". It says, "God so loved the world". THAT is how big and wide and open this message of love is. It's not exclusive whatsoever, but given only on the basis of the Father's love, meaning that it's an invitation to each and every one of us. This love covers the entire world, every person's life, no matter what they have or have not done. It envelops every fear, every past, every sin, every inch of darkness with open arms and pursues us. This love is for all of us. Worthy or not, it's for all of us.


PART 2: "He gave His one and only Son"

And to my dismay, it just keeps getting better, because God doesn't just say that He loves us, He does something about it. (More than most boys nowaday, huh? Just kidding...mostly.) As an expression of this love, He gives us His most precious gift - His Son. Take a moment to imagine this. The Father, who loves His Son more than anything in the world, His perfect Son, offered Him as a sacrifice. And Jesus, being fully God and fully man, walked in this perfection during His life on earth and loved us despite the rejection and humiliation and hatred. Jesus was the gift, the sacrifice, the living, breathing, walking expression of the Father's love for us.


And it had to be Jesus. His life mission was love for the sake of reconciliation, but nothing else, no one else, was enough to be the "middleman" between us and God. No one else was enough to be the bridge between the broken and the holy. Jesus was our only option, but He did it so willingly. It most definitely would have been easier to leave us to fend for ourselves, abandon us to get what we deserved, but instead Jesus, our holy and perfect Savior gave up Himself for us.


What a love that is.


Although I was mostly joking about boys not doing that for us, I want to be serious for just a moment. I find myself so often longing to be loved by anyone and everyone who might be able to love me because the enemy and the hurt inside of me tells me that I have to beg for love, that I have to try to be worthy of it or enough for it. But Jesus, His entire life and death, conquer those lies. We no longer have to try to be worthy or beg for love from any family member, any friend, or any boy, because Jesus died in an expression of His love for us. No one else can ever take that away or love us more than that. No one can love us beyond the cross or remove us from that blessing. It's ours, forever and ever, for all of eternity.


PART 3: "that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

This love literally saves us. Because of the weight of our sin and separation from God, heaven and hell are two very real realities. God's perfect nature cannot be near anything less than perfection, and spoiler alert: we're all pretty far from perfection. Without the cross, we all are so broken and so dead in our sin that we deserve an eternity in hell.


But that's not the end of the story.


The Father's love for us is so great and Christ's death so powerful that the cross breaks the chains of sin and death that once bound us. We are no longer held captive by our fleshly, mortal nature and sentenced to an eternity in hell, but instead invited into an abundant life of freedom and hope of an eternity in heaven with the Father. Anyone, anyone at all, who trusts and clings to this love and sacrifice is saved, by God, from eternal destruction. Mic dropped.


This idea of forever is really hard for us to wrap our mind around, but I want us to sit in this for a minute. Because we are saved for eternity, in a way, God is also promising His love for an eternity. His love is limitless, and as the commentary described, "God will never stop loving His people, even unto the furthest distance of eternity." He doesn't promise to love us while we obey, while we meet the requirements, but when we believe, and then for all of eternity. There are no conditions or fine print, friends.


It's for forever.

 

I'm going to be real, guys, I used to really resist reading John 3:16. It became so familiar that I got so numb to its power, but I definitely do not feel numb anymore. This message is life changing, hell breaking, chain shattering, and I am in awe of how incredibly good God is. I will never be able to wrap my mind around this magnificent love, but I pray that my eyes are continually opened and reminded of how flawless and complete it is. Praise God, is all I can say to that.


Did you learn anything from this post that was a bit of a shock to your system? Let me know down in the comments below, because same! And, if there's any other verses that you want me to break down, I would absolutely love to, so drop those in the comments as well.

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