As promised yesterday, I am going to post Part 2 of the love part of the attributes of God series. Today's post is going to deal with the greatest demonstration of God's love and we will dive into the most familiar passage in all of Scripture. Can you guess? John. Ok, I don't have to go any further, because John 3:16 is the climax of the gospel in the New Testament. Pertaining to the ransom of lost, hopeless sinners, John 3:16 provides the greatest hope that anyone could ever experience. Let's delve deep into this passage of Scripture and hear what God has to say to us.
John 3:14-16 says,
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
First of all, I have read, heard, and repeated this passage of Scripture over and over and over again, specifically John 3:16. When I either read, hear, or repeat it again, I never give that much thought about it, but as I was studying this passage of Scripture for this post, God's truth unveiled John 3:16 to me like I have never seen it before. This passage of Scripture has become in the American church, a kind of evangelistic type motto that never really sinks deep into the Christian's heart, which is truly sad, because John 3:16 contains the beauty, the glory, and the majesty of the greatness of God's overwhelming love that no other Scripture can fully contribute. The love of God reflected in Christ's atoning work at Calvary is spread across the very words of this verse and I pray that by God's grace, he would show you what he has revealed to me.
Verse 14, for context purposes, goes on to explain the comparison between Jesus' death on the cross and the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Num. 21:9). The amazing thing about Numbers 21:9 is that Moses lifted up the bronze serpent, the Hebrew term translated "bronze" can also mean "copper", which would seem necessary because copper is red, and whoever was bitten by the serpent would live. The redness of the copper also symbolized the atonement, where Jesus intricately demonstrates the similarities between his death and this serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness, but the main connection here is found in verse 15 after "so must the Son of Man be lifted up." The purpose of the Son of Man's being lifted up to die is found in verse 15, "that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life." The ransom of lost sinners is determined by the saving work of Christ on the cross. He was lifted up, so you may have eternal life, which leads us to the pinnacle of the gospel, verse 16. Please pay close attention to this verse.
The word "For" at the beginning of verse 16 transfers us back into verse 15. Verse 15 says, " that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life." A question must be posed after verse 15, which is answered in verse 16. What happened to make it possible that someone may have eternal life? Can anyone guess? For God so "agape" the world. The verb "agape", love, made it possible for us to gain eternal life through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. The unboundable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, love of God. His selfless love made it possible for us to gain eternal life. HIS LOVE. Do I have to ring this through your minds over and over again? My soul is bursting with joy and passion that I want you all to see this. Love, the magnificent, majestic, miraculous love of God. His love that surpasses all understanding. Ask Him to show you that love, which leads us to the rest of the verse.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave......". He gave what? His only Son. The greatest demonstration of love that God could ever reveal to a hopeless outcast of guilty sinners is His only Son. We are talking about "only" here. Think about it. Pretend you were a parent. What would it be like if you had to sacrifice your son or daughter to save Adolf Hitler, Tiger Woods, or Richard Dawkins? Depraved, Insolent, Murderous, Vile, guilty people. I would never do it, but God with the great love that he showed us, not only crushed His Son, He crushed His ONLY SON, to save all of mankind, because of "agape" love. It all comes back to love. God's love is so mysterious, far beyond human comprehension or fathomability that I always wonder why He would give up His only Son to save me. It does not make sense. The total reversal of human thinking is displayed in the greatness and the glory of cross and I am eternally grateful that He would save a wretch like me. Thank you Lord Jesus!
He also died to give you eternal life. At the end of verse 16, in closing, Jesus clearly explains that He would give up His life so that we might gain Him. We get to see our Lord and Savior face to face. What a day that will be! I can't wait for that day when I see the culmination of the glory of Christ. How beautiful, gorgeous, awe-striking, awesome, majestic, and brilliant will our Lord be arrayed in splendor and majesty? The joys of heaven are ours, because of His love; the riches of heaven are ours, because of His love; and the brilliance of Christ is ours, because of His love; which he so freely gave to those He loves.
Soli Deo Gloria!!!!!~