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. –John 3:16
Many look at this passage as one that is meant for little children to memorize. We have seen it on T-shirts, in books, and even signs held up in professional wrestling matches. The fact is this ”memory verse” is not one that is only meant for children. This verse is the crux at which the Bible turns from “law dependence” to “grace reliance”. John 3:16 is vital in the understanding of both the New and Old Testament, because it is the portion that ties them together and gives them meaning. The Old Testament sets up this event, and the New Testament reflects on it.
Imagine the situation that God was putting himself in. He was giving his one and only son to a world that will eventually humiliate and kill him. This wasn’t just sending your son to his first day of kindergarten…Jesus was going to die. God, however, loved the people that inhabited Earth so much that he was willing to give his own life to prove it. God had designed the universe in a way that made atonement for sin an inevitable necessity. The consistent character of God made it so that he could not reverse that predetermined decision. Blood had to be paid for sin. Since there was no perfect man, God came down in the incarnate Christ and took care of our most unpayable debt. A debt that we didn’t even have the right to attempt to pay back.
My thoughts move to Abraham in the Old Testament. He was willing to sacrifice his one and only son, because God asked him to. God, however, provided a ram because Abraham was faithful. In the same way, God provided Jesus Christ because the debt was too great.
It might be cliche’ to say that God is love, but often this phrase is used without knowing the true meaning. Jesus is the picture of this love. Let’s reflect on what this truly means today. If we took it seriously it will change the way we live our lives.