“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16
Martin Luther called this verse “The Gospel in a nutshell.” It was as rich with meaning and as clear about what matters most as any single verse in the bible.
Look at what it says:
- Love: God’s love for the world is central to who God is. While there are competing pictures of who God is and what God is up to, this verse makes it very clear. God loves the world.
- Gave: God is in the giving business. While we often think, “What must I do to please God?” the real insight here is that it is God who initiates this and it is God who gives.
- Only Son: Meeting Jesus is an encounter with God in the flesh. The only Son is precious and Jesus’ willingness to suffer death on a cross is a sign of just how far God will go to love us. God will do anything, even die, to show us how loved we are.
- Everyone: This isn’t just for a few special insiders. God loves everyone and wants what is best for all of us.
- Believes: While there is nothing we can do, believing this truth about the God we meet in Jesus changes everything about our lives. Without faith we wonder about the nature of God. With faith we discover we are loved no matter what.
- Eternal life: In John’s gospel, Jesus is very clear. Eternal life starts now. While we are promised everlasting life with God – a life that transcends even death, we don’t wait to die in order to live. Eternal life (life lived unbounded by time) is ours already. We are set free to not perish on our own but to live fully, knowing that even death can’t separate us from God’s love.
This week we will look at the second article of the Apostles Creed and focus on Jesus. John 3:16 will be our lens. This is good stuff – the heart of what we want everyone to know. God loves you fully. Believe that simple truth and live fully, too!