“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)
I was in deep discussion with someone on the state of our state, our nation, and this global pandemic that we are facing. As most conversations go, it led to Donald Trump and his seemingly unemotional concerns for those families that have lost loved ones to death. After reading portions of President Trump’s niece’s book, I understand more why Mr. Trump is the way he is. His father deprived him of his love and approval; for the rest of Donald’s life probably unbeknownst to him, he has been seeking love and acceptance.
If I am honest, my fear is not the pandemic or the end of the world with some nuclear war of nations, not even death itself. What I fear most is not being loved. I believe there is nothing more destructive to the human heart than to live without love. If I were to ask you to write down what you would consider the single greatest verse of scripture in the whole Bible, what would you put down? Of course there would be a variety of answers given, I’m sure, but in all likelihood, the verse most written down would be John 3:16: “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.”
With good reason, many people would select John 3:16. This single verse is a magnificent summary of the gospel, the message of the Scriptures in capsule form. It is the story of God’s seeking, redeeming, and reconciling love all in one sentence. It has been called everybody’s text. Here, for every simple heart, is the essence of the Christian faith. It is good news and God’s greatest promise.
This verse reminds us that we are indeed loved and that God Himself is the one who loves us; that God seeks us out, that God values us, that God graciously reaches out to save us, and that when we, in faith, accept God’s love, we have life eternal. We see this verse acted out dramatically the last week of our Savior’s life.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus rides triumphantly into the Holy City. He is received as a king. He comes to establish a surprising kingdom, one different from any other on earth --- one built not on power, violence, and might, but rather a kingdom built on faith, hope, and love. He shows God’s love by healing the sick, helps the needy and cleanses the temple.
At the end of the week on Good Friday (which, by the way, originally was called God’s Friday), in the greatest act of sacrificial love this world has ever known, He goes to the cross and dies there for you and for me. “For God so loved (you)and God so loved (me)that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
Beloveds of God when you feel that you are not loved or appreciated, think on these things and know that our Father in Heaven loves us so much that He gave a part of Himself to die to show just how much He loves us.