For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into to the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Thoughts from Pastor Josh
Behind the Scenes
Today’s verses are some of the most well-known of the Bible. People display them on shirts. Athletes wear them on their gear. Some ink them on their bodies as tattoos. Sometimes, however, verses become so familiar that they lose some of their impact and become slogans that don’t penetrate very far into the soul. Today I would like to encourage you to meditate on the truly awesome power of Jesus’ words.
These words come from a conversation Jesus had with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Pharisees were priests and religious scholars, experts in God’s word. These guys were smart, but they were at a loss on how to explain Jesus and the things he was doing. Jesus performed miracles and taught with a wisdom and authority that surpassed any prophet in Israel’s history. People said he was the Messiah, but Pharisees believed the true Messiah would come as a mighty conqueror who would free Israel from the control of the Roman Empire and rule as a mighty earthly king. Jesus did not fight the Romans. Instead, he healed the sick, tended to the poor, and brought sinners to God the Father. Jesus was not like the Messiah they expected. The problem with the Pharisees, as with many of us, is that they obscured the truth of God with faulty human wisdom and expectations.
Jesus explains to Nicodemus some truths about the Messiah and the true path to salvation. This salvation lies not with the works and wisdom of people, but through the power of the Messiah which is Jesus Christ. Humans are ruled by evil and deserve condemnation. Yet God loves us. And He sent His Son to die for our evil so that we could have a relationship with God instead of condemnation. And the beautiful thing about this is that relationship begins not when you die, but the very moment you accept Jesus as Lord.
Make it Real
Think on this. Who would you die for? A loved one, a child or elderly person? Let’s up the stakes. Think of someone you really love and that has a piece of your heart. What would cause you to send that person, whom you dearly love, to die for another person or cause?
God and His Son had coexisted together for all eternity. They possessed a bond that no human can fully understand. Yet God loved us so much that he sent this Son to die an agonizing and humiliating death for us. And during that death, God turned His back on the Son because that Son took on all sins and wrongdoing of people, past, present, and future. God. Loves. Us. And that love was not cheap.
Jesus did not stay dead but rose from that tomb and took his place next to his beloved Father. Due to his sacrifice, we can enter that same intimate relationship with God. Now. So, when you feel sad, lonely, lost, hopeless, or worthless, bask in your Father’s love and the love Jesus has for you. Let this love flow through you and out into the world. Let this love help you to rise above the cares and challenges of this life. Let this love empower you to live as sons and daughters of the almighty God.
End in Prayer
Thank you for your great love and the love of Jesus Christ. Let me feel this love every day and let it sink into my soul. Let it inspire and fuel me on my best days and worst nights. And let it flow through me to other people.
In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.