Sunday, September 6, 2015

Jesus: the One Who Gave Himself for Us

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV).

A twenty-five-word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life, and urging us to do the same. Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather two thousand years of storms and questions. If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything in the Bible, return here. We all need the reminder. The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God’s treatment is prescribed in John 3:16.

He loves. He gave. We believe. We live.

The words are to Scripture what the Mississippi River to America – an entryway into the heartland. Believe or dismiss them, embrace of reject them, any serious consideration of Christ must include them. Would a British historian dismiss the Magna Carta? Egyptologists overlook the Rosetta stone? Could you ponder the words of Christ and never immerse yourself into John 3:16?

The verse is an alphabet of grace, a table of contents to the Christian hope, each word a safe-deposit box of jewels. Read it again, slowly and aloud, and note the word that snatches your attention. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

God so loved the world…” We’d expect an anger-fuelled God. One who punishes the world, recycles the world, forsakes the world… but loves the world?

The world? This world? Heartbreakers, hope-snatchers, and dream-dousers prowl this orb. Dictators rage. Abusers inflict. Reverends think they deserve the title. But God loves. And He loves the world so much He gave His:
Declarations? Rules? Dicta? Edicts?

No. the heart-stilling, mind-bending, deal-making-or-breaking claim of John 3:16 is this: God gave His Son… His only Son. No abstract ideas but a flesh-wrapped divinity. Scripture equates Jesus with God. God, then, gave Himself. Why? So that “whoever believes in His should not perish.”
[From 3:16 by Max Lucado]

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