“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.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him.”
I’m pretty sure a majority of Christians (and even some none Christians) today could rattle that off no problem because it’s one of the more well-known Bible verses.
But what does it really mean?
The main idea is obvious – that we have an opportunity for eternal life through Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection – but there’s more.
Read that first sentence again. Now break it up and read to the first comma. What do you notice?
“For God so LOVED the world that He gave His ONE and ONLY Son,”
Did you catch it that time?
The God of the universe chose to send His only Son down to earth to save us.
Jesus willingly came down to be that perfect sacrifice for our sins.
Not because they had to, but because of the unconditional, everlasting love that they have for us, a broken creation.
This is one of the reasons why the gospel of John is my favorite out of the four. He focuses on the fact that it was love that drove Christ to become human, to dwell among us for 30-odd years, to perform miraculous signs, to demonstrate what it means to “live like Christ” and then to allow Himself to be hung on a cross for crimes He never committed.
What it must’ve been like to have witnessed all of that?
In his gospel, John gives us a chance to experience what he saw, felt and thought during his time with the Lord and it seems like the thing that impacted him the most was the love that was continually pouring out of Christ.
There was never any hint of hate or selfishness, only love and selflessness.
John had the privilege to develop a close relationship with the Lord by being a part of The Twelve Disciples. He also was a part of the “inner three” with Peter and James (as seen in Mark 5:37, 9:2-13, 13:3 and 14:33), which means that he was able to spend time with Him in a more intimate setting.
Have you ever noticed that throughout the entire book of John, the author never refers to himself by name? There’s a certain phrase he uses whenever he talks about himself:
“The disciple whom Jesus loved”
The love Christ demonstrated during His ministry here on earth had become a personalized love for John and this phrase illustrates how much it had impacted him.
One of my favorite examples of the relationship between Jesus and John is found in John 13:21-25
“After He had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray Me.’ His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them He meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him.
Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said ‘Ask Him which one He means.’
Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?'”
John was comfortable enough to lean back against our Lord and Savior (he heard God’s heartbeat!) and that just blows me away.
Yet, that’s exactly the kind of relationship that God longs to have with His children. A close, loving relationship where we feel comfortable enough to talk with Him about the difficult things as well as rejoice in the happy things in life.
I love how Jesus sums up the kind of relationship He wants to have with us in John 17:20-26 (one of my favorite passages)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message,
that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.
May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.
I have given them the glory that You gave me,
that they may be one as We are one: I in them and You in Me.
May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me
and have loved them even as You have loved Me.
Father I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory,
the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.
Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me.
I have made You known to them and will continue to make You known
in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I, Myself, may be in them.”
Need I say more? 🙂by
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