For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. John 3:16
Jesus was fully man, he experienced all the trials and tribulations we have daily, he knew how it felt to be let down, hurt, angered, everything we feel today He too has felt.
I enjoy learning about Jesus and especially like to look at how he is described in character, in the book of John when He first meets Peter, I love the way it’s described:
Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking Intently at Simon, Jesus said “Your name is Simon, son of John – But you will be called Cephas” (Which means Peter) John 1:42
I love that, Jesus looked intently at Peter, gazed right into his eyes. I believe in that moment Jesus’ spirit spoke to Peter’s and I believe Peter’s spirit was leaping for joy at the new life that was about to unfold.
It reminds me of how I came to know Jesus. My husband and I walked into a Pentecostal church one Sunday to see arms raised, people talking in tongues, bellowing out prayers and prophetic words left, right and centre! I thought to myself “What on earth are they doing??!!” My flesh wanted to run a mile! But my spirit knew that there was something there that would change my hopeless life for the better.
The first time Jesus did something miraculous He was at a wedding and the wine ran dry. This can be likened to our faith, it runs dry, we stop trusting and start to take our lives into our own hands until we come to the end of ourselves and turn back to Him, there are so many stories in the Bible of people taking there lives back into their own hands then realising they can’t do it in their own strength, why do we do it?
The good news is He turned water in to an abundant supply of wine, when we turn to Him, He will turn a pointless empty life filled with temporary objects into a life full of hope and joy, inner peace and comfort in everlasting supply……WOW!!!
Shortly after this awesome miracle we see a story about a religious leader Nicodemus. He goes to see Jesus in the night, he goes in the night because he was ashamed of wanting to know Him, the other religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus, they were frightened that they would lose their political power over the people.
I think Nicodemus was conforming to the world around him, he was allowing other people’s opinions have control on his destiny. When I read this story, it makes me think about my own walk with Christ,
What higher powers are keeping me from the fullness of His love?
Am I ashamed of Him?
Am I scared to admit that His love keeps me, what will people think when I say it’s Christ who lives in me that sustains my joy?
Will they think I’m crazy?
Does it even matter?
During a conversation about how to enter the Kingdom of God Jesus tells Nicodemus that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that we might not PERISH but have EVERLASTING LIFE, it’s one of the most quoted scriptures there is but do we really know what it means?
Do we understand what this means for us?
Let’s look more closely at John 3:16 –
We often think of God as angry at us for our shortcomings, we think He’s annoyed at our constant mistakes, so we look at this first part of the scripture and think that Christ came to redeem us to remove that anger….. BUT….. I don’t believe that this is the case. God always intended for Christ to come He so loved us that He gave, He created us and saw that it was VERY good. He loved us more than anything in creation, we are His pride and joy.
GOD LOVES EVERYONE – HE LOVES US ALL BECAUSE HE LOVES US EACH – UNIQUELY – INDIVIDUALLY – SEPERATLEY – APPART FROM – SINGULARLY – His own singular love for you and for me!
John 3:16 is in 4 parts, the first 2 are God’s actions to us.
1 – For God So loved the world – This statement was profound, it had never been said before, The Old Testament and other Jewish writings have only ever talked of God’s love for His people, the people of Israel, the revelation that God loved EVERYONE was HUGE!
We are each made individually and unique and just in the same way I love my kids, God loves us (differently and uniquely). I don’t love any one of my boys more than the other but I love them in a unique way, there are different things I love about each of them.
No matter what we do, how we act, how far we run from God, He still loves us, He created us to love us:
Zeph 3.17 – For the Lord your God is loving among you, He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in your gladness with His love He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs
Psalm 139:13 – For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
Here’s how unique we actually are!
I read a booklet created by Miles Witherford called, Is there a reason to believe?
In it there are some discoveries made by a former atheist, Dr Francis Collins, he spent 15 years actually ‘reading’ and ‘mapping’ all the complex details of the Human DNA Genome.
He and his team discovered that the nucleus of every cell in our bodies contains more data than 30 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica!
Even more importantly, all the individual pieces of data need to have come together simultaneously for the cell to live, not gradually developing a little a time over many centuries!
DNA is present in every cell of our bodies and contains billions of parts, many of which interact with one another like a complex computer, and determine our physical characteristics. Scientists programmed a computer to calculate the probability of DNA evolving by random chance…..
The computer came up with the staggering sum on 1 chance in 10 followed by 57 zero’s, can you imagine what a vast number that is?
Scientists generally believe that any chance beyond 1 in 10 followed by 57 zeros is deemed impossible so this is 10 million times impossibility!
Can you really and honestly believe that such a vastly complex and minutely detailed structure such as DNA evolved by mere random chance, without thought, planning and design?
The average human body has some 3 trillion cells, and in the nucleus of every cell reside the chromosomes into which DNA is packaged. Each strand of DNA consists of a 3 billion-character long text of a strange cryptographic four letter code, and is different for every individual person! – To read it along at one character per second would take 31 years!
We really are fearfully and wonderfully made!
2 – That he gave His one and only son
The 2nd part of John 3:16 again is an action from God, We have to do nothing for it.
God’s love for the world wasn’t just sentiment but it led to a specific action – HE GAVE HIS SON, HIS ONLY SON, to suffer and die and bear the penalty for our sins, restoring us fully into a relationship with Him.
1 John 2:2 – He Himself is the sacrifice that atoned for our sins – and not only our sins but the sins of the world.
Despite knowing that we may not turn and follow Him God still sent Christ to die for us,
Romans 5:8 – But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Jesus, came so that we could be in a relationship with God, despite knowing that we might not turn to him He STILL gave His life! He was ridiculed, battered, flogged, whipped, made to carry the cross that He would be hung on so that I might live?!
My friend recently gave her life to Jesus after a real epic encounter, she had a glimpse of what He did for her, she couldn’t even say thank you Jesus for giving your life for my sin through her choked tears, after this encounter she started to read a Bible plan from You version, one of the scriptures that struck her was:
Mark 1:11 – And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
She texted me after reading it and the devotion that went with it and said: “it blows my mind that God loves me this much, despite all I’ve done, does He realise what bad I’ve done in my lifetime!?”
We can’t comprehend His love for us, we don’t understand it, but that’s why we are given the instructions in the next part of this scripture.
These next 2 parts are our actions to take.
3. That whoever believes in Him.
WHOEVER! Not just people that are religious, not leaders, not Holy people, not just Israelites, this love is for WHOEVER!
WOW! Whoever, anyone, everyone! We can all turn to Jesus and have an abundance of peace whilst we walk on this earth, no matter what our outward circumstances. All we have to do is choose in!
The amplified version says this: So that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on)
Believing that Jesus died for our sins is not enough.
We’ve got to, trust in this with all we are, cling to the very fact that God loves us so dearly that he gave his only son for us, and we must rely upon Jesus as our saviour to receive our reward which is the next part of the scripture.
4. Shall not perish but have eternal life.
I find it interesting that perishing is placed before eternal life, you would normally see perishing once someone or something has died and no longer has life. Could it be possible that something could perish whilst still alive?
Every day we see, hear and experience things in the world that hurt us or others, people can speak words that kill dreams, intentionally or not, there are desires to get status, promotion and be somebody, but at what cost to others?
People compete with one another for promotions, we are judged on what we earn, what car we drive, the size of our house, the brand of our clothes ….. as a result we end up like Nicodemus, conforming to the world, – PERISHING! It’s hard work to gain approval from man, but Jesus is a different story, he wants to take our lives and replace that emptiness with everlasting peace and joy.
Jesus said in verse 17, God did not send His son to condemn the world, but in order that the world MIGHT be saved through Him.
Might, be saved, see Jesus knew that we may or may not turn to him, we still have free will…Which means we have a choice, God won’t force us into making that choice, but He loves us anyway!
Eternal life does not just mean life after death. Eternal life is a life of abundant joy, filled with immeasurable blessing in the presence of God forever, no matter what our outward circumstance.
God’s plan always has been to have His people in His place under His blessing, that’s a picture of Adam and Eve in the garden, that’s just what God wants for everyone, here on earth and in heaven.
So, over to you, how can we remember on a daily basis, how much Jesus loves us and what that represents in our daily walk?