Most of us have heard of John 3:16. The fact of the matter is that most people can recite it pretty much verbatim. Even when we don’t necessarily have a super close relationship with Jesus, we can usually repeat John 3:16. Let’s give it a try. ‘For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.’
John 3:16-17 ESV
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.”
I was close to this version, but not quite. (How about you?) I was probably a bit closer to the King James version. Nope, not the KJV either. I just checked and that was the NIV that came right out of my heart. (FYI- you can easily check your version on a Bible app like Bible Gateway or the Bible app) It amazes me how many different versions my heart remembers. Some verses and passages are one version, some are another, and some are a blend, but I digress. We all kinda know John 3:16. We understand the message and the meaning of the words. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus so that we could be saved. We learned it as a child, we’ve heard it in movies, out in our community, at camp, church or maybe it was that one year that we went to Vacation Bible School. At some point in our lives we have heard and retained some version of the 'God so loved the world‘ verse. Maybe our grandmother taught it to us. Maybe it’s the only verse that we really know by heart (and it’s a really good verse to know by heart). Well, here is another one to add to your heart’s repertoire. It’s the very next verse, and it too is outstanding. Sixteen is absolutely amazing and seventeen holds even more promise for us.
John 3:17 ESV
17 “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.”
Jesus is that promise. God loves us so much that He sent us Jesus so that we could be saved. Sometimes we think that we are so screwed up that God couldn’t possibly understand or accept us. This verse reassures is that we are completely wrong. Jesus meets us right where we are and He loves us right there too. Sometimes we think we have to get it altogether before we get to know Jesus; that we have to get cleaned up first. This verse tells us a different story. Jesus isn’t here to condemn us, but to love us. Jesus doesn’t point out our flaws and ridicule our missteps. Jesus walks with us through our trials and He helps us find a better path. God loves us so much that He sent us His Son, Jesus, not to condemn us, but so that we could be saved through His love. Jesus came to love us and show us the way. Jesus is the Way, Jesus is the Truth and Jesus is Life. Life everlasting and life that is abundant and joyful. Love. Truth. Life. God so loves the world (that’s us ~ you, and me and that other guy too) that He sent us Jesus to help us (US ~ we are all part of The Who~So~Ever's), and to love us, and to show us the way. God so loved the world ... thank God.