John 3:17–That Verse We Sometimes Forget
John 3:16 is familar to all of us, so familiar that we teach it to small children from their earliest days in Bible class. The featured picture is my daughter, the day I started teaching her this very verse. I remember it, because she was so cute stumbling over the words that I decided to capture it on film. It’s served as a constant reminder that even the smallest of kids can put God’s words to memory. So, let’s see…
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.
Boom! There you have it. Completely from memory, and probably a mis-match of versions. Mostly NKJV, I think. Can you do the same without looking? Bet you can. But do you know what it means?
Let’s consider all the facets of what we’ve just quoted.
1) God loved the world. The whole world. He loved the sinners who’d already lived, and the sinners to come.
2) He gave his only begotten son. He gave us Jesus. A gift, one that cost us nothing, and paid our great debt of sin.
3) Whosoever believeth. This means anyone can have salvation. It’s not exclusive to some elite, perfect body of people who don’t commit any of the “bad” sins.
4) Should not perish. Should not, but sometimes, unfortunately do. Why? Because they do not accept Jesus and obey God’s commands.
5) But have everlasting life. The alternative to perishing. What we get if we do accept Jesus and obey God’s commands.
If you can quote that verse and understand the significance of it, awesome! You have a great summary of God’s plan to save us from our sins. But how many of us can quote the next verse?
John 3:17 contains a powerful message. A reminder that even when society is walking far, far away from God, that we shouldn’t lose sight of the reason we were called.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Let’s hear that again. God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world.
Why, then, do some Christians feel that it’s our place to do just that? We go around pointing our fingers, being Pharisees, and miss the point of why Jesus came to the earth in the first place.
And why exactly did God send him, again? So the world through Him might be saved.
We have a mission, people. One that we’ve been shirking a bit, I’m afraid. But the mission is not a true failure, because every day is a new day.
Let’s be like Phillip in Acts 8:35, and preach Jesus. If we can teach the world to love Him, a lot of our other problems will take care of themselves.