John 3:16 (NIV84)
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” Maybe you grew up singing that song. Maybe you still sing it with your family. Whatever that song is to you, its words are full of meaning. “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” Jesus loves me! We know that without a doubt in our minds. And how? Because God himself tells us right here in today’s passage.
Some call it “the Gospel in a nutshell.” John 3:16 is likely the most famous passage in the entire Bible, one of the few that’s recognizable just by its numbers. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
You still sometimes see someone at sporting events holding signs that say very simply John 3:16 because it summarizes the message of the bible so beautifully. Jesus died for the whole world, and everyone who believes lives eternally. Jesus loves me, this I know….
But here’s the test of perspective: Do you know John 3:14? Can you recite 3:15? How about 3:17 or 3:18? Those verses tell us a little more about the world Jesus loves. It’s a world where God’s own people, the Israelites, grumbled and complained against him. It’s a world where people willingly reject the name of their Savior. It’s a world unto which a Savior shone the light of his love, but its people still continued to give their love to darkness.
God loved a world like that. When his own people rejected Him, God had Moses lift up a bronze snake to save them from poisonous venom. But God’s purpose was greater than that. He was pointing his people to a Savior who would release them from a far deadlier bite.
As the snake was lifted up in the desert, so Jesus was lifted up on a cross. God so loved a world that rejected and hated him, that he gave it His most prized possession, His one and only son.
Jesus spoke today’s famous passage about the whole world to only one person. Nicodemus was his name, and he was initially attracted to Jesus because of his miracles, but he wanted to know more. So Jesus told him; told him how God loved the world; told him how God so loved him.
On the cross, we see exactly the extent of that love. And that’s why we can confidently sing, with Christians all over this world, “Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so!”
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son into this world to release us from our sins. Lead us to share your love with this world more and more each day, that all people might come to know the love of their savior. Amen.