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.
This is an appropriate verse on Good Friday – the day we remember the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. I’ll admit I’m so familiar with this verse I hardly pay attention to it anymore. Sad but true. So today I wanted the verse to speak to me anew. Three things:
- God loved “the world”, meaning all peoples – not just the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This was a pretty radical statement because God had generally been associated exclusively with the Israelites. In fact, God had orchestrated the destruction of entire nations of people who opposed the Israelites. Then, in the Jesus, God revealed a love for everyone. EVERYONE.
- God “gave his only Son”. Our God is a sacrificial God. Most gods of history have required people to offer sacrifices to them (animals, food items, drink items, crops, even human sacrifice). This was also true of our God through the Old Testament period. However, in Jesus (the son of God), God sacrificed himself. For us. Remarkable.
- God sent Jesus to the cross “so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life”. There was purpose in God’s sacrifice of Jesus. God desired that all people be set free from the curse of sin and death. Eternal life isn’t something that happens after you die, but starts now and continues into eternity.
Lord Jesus, today we remember the sacrifice you willingly accepted for our sakes. Give us grace to receive the gift of salvation and eternal life anew. Amen.