2010-09-17 - The Greatest Love
Originally Published 2005-11-18
Earlier, I was thinking about John 3:16. It's probably the most familiar verse in all the Bible. Undoubtedly, this is the only verse many people know even lost. I've heard it described as "the Bible in a verse" or "the single-verse gospel" It is a great verse, and that accounts for its popularity. But with popularity comes familiarity, so let's look at it again. Forget what you know it says - and try to read it with fresh eyes.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
"For God" or "Because God" - it's all because of God. It's not because man deserved. It's not because man did anything. It's not even because we asked and pleaded. It's only because God. As a child, my parents would say two things to me when I tried arguing with me that I hated to hear. The comments defied all logic but I know I've said the same words to my own son: "Just because!" and "Because I said so". They seem so much sweeter coming from God when I ask him, "Why God? Why do you love me? I've failed again!" And he looks down and says, "Child, just because. Because I said so." It doesn't mean God approves it just means it doesn't matter what I say or do. He doesn't accept the sin I do; but he loves me anyway. He loves me just because.
"For God so loved" He loves us so very, very much. And it's just because. And he doesn't just love one or two. He loves the world. "For God so loved the world." That's me. For God so loved me. For God so loved Adam. That's you, too. Go ahead; roll that phrase over in your mind. Dwell on it. Really soak it in. God loves you!
This has got to be the greatest love ever. There are people in this world starving for affection. They jump from one person to the next in search of love. They go from one heartache to another looking for something, something real and pure. And all they have to really do is look up - look to the one who loves us so much just because.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" This next piece is the real kicker. To prove His love, He acted first. He gave up His son - His one and only unique extremely special Son. He gave up Jesus to you and me. God demonstrated his love for me and so did Jesus, my Christ.
Now consider with me three other verses from John that reflect on just how much Jesus loves us.
John 1:14 - And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The Word was made flesh. How'd you like to be turned into a possum? How'd you feel about being a sewer rat? Do you love rats and possums enough to become one to free them from traps or road crossings. No offense but relative to God that is probably a very nice way of looking at it. God is perfect and holy - 100% pure. And, well, let's face it we're not. People lie, cheat, steal, and much worse. But God became one of us to keep us from death. The writer of Hebrews put it like this. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)
John 11:35 - Jesus wept.
This is my favorite verse. It shows that Jesus loved Lazarus enough to cry over his death and that he loved Mary and Martha enough to cry with them. Have you ever experienced a loss? Have you ever cried? If so, then Jesus has cried with you. Do you have troubles that you just can't handle? Do you just want someone to cry with you? Remember Jesus wept with and for these people. God doesn't play favorites. He weeps with you too. Peter said we can cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
John 19:18 - Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
They crucified him. Jesus didn't have to become flesh. Jesus didn't have to weep with us. Most certainly he didn't have to let them kill him. It wasn't just that they crucified him - those people who lived long ago, those soldiers, politicians, and religious leaders. No it wasn't them, at least not just them. It was us; it was you and me as much as those soldiers. He didn't have to die. He could have summoned the angels. He could have performed some miracle. He could have just spoken a single word and avoided it all. But he let us kill him. He let us put our sin on him. He died for us. That is how much God so loved us. John later wrote, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)
He same for us, he cries for us, he died for us. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10) He loves you. He loves us wholeheartedly. He has shown his love; he has proven his love beyond any doubt.
Do you love him? Do you call him Lord and Master? This is how he has shown his love for us. How do you show your love for him?
All verses are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified.