“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3:16-19 ESV)
I can’t think of this passage without thinking of those signs that used to appear behind the goalposts during NFL games back in the day. I’ve got no issue with that kind of thing really. The think is, though, that John 3:16 is an incomplete message and it’s potentially misleading in fact. Alone, it makes it seem like Jesus is “merely” God’s Son and not actually divine in His own right. Anyone who has read from this site knows that I believe that Jesus’ divinity is crucial to the Christian faith. Jesus is God. This is also crucial to John’s Gospel and to which the author makes great pains to persude us.
By referring to Him as the Son of God, John is referring to His authority. Jesus has all the authority of Him who sent Him in the same way an emisary of an earthly king has the authority of the ruler he represents. When you look upon Jesus you look upon God. His Words are God’s Words. Believe it. Or else disbelieve to your own peril.
We need to be careful at this point. It’s easy to think on the above as a threat when, infact, it’s John’s precise manner of writing that makes the message seem somewhat cold. This is Good News. The point is not, “Believe or die.” It’s, “Believe and Live!” Jesus paid the price for all sins but but only those who believe this are actually saved. The divinity of Christ is essential here since only a perfect God could pay the atoning price with His life. If you can’t get a hold on that, then nothing else that you believe really matters in the end. As for me, I believe in Jesus Christ.
btw. Here’s a link to the entire 3rd Chapter of The Gospel According to John. (ESV)