As I have worked on this series about John 3:16, I’ve learned a lot. This is in spite of the fact that some of the individual topics I had already researched and written about. There’s just something about looking at things all together that gives one a new perspective. I’m in awe about how beautifully John’s Gospel swirls around our relationships with Jesus and our Father…..one thing just flows into another and the faithful reader is left humbled and awestruck, and in the end with a profound sense of ineffable love. God is truly great.
When Jesus calls to Mary outside the tomb, she responds by exclaiming, “Rabouni!” which means “teacher” in Aramaic. Perfect. That’s exactly what Jesus is. He’s the Master Teacher and John 3:16 is a perfect example of His genius. In one sentence, Jesus tells us who He is, why He is there and how it may benefit everyone. Everything else in the Bible merely serves to flesh this one statement out. It’s all about God and the intimate relationship He desires to have with every single person on earth. So, this final post in this series isn’t about the impossible task of defining God in a brief blog post. It’s about how Jesus did it in one sentence. Like I said, He’s a genius that way.
The sentence begins as the Bible begins, with “God…” Okay, that’s not exactly true, it begins, “For God…” but we have to take into account that Jesus’ thought process began a few verses back and He’s, in part, explaining some earlier verbage. God is definitely the subject of the sentence and where we begin when looking at it. I mean, even taking that “For”, “Since”, “Afterall“, “Because,” in account, we end up with the sense that what comes next (“God…”) is indisputable. So, it begins with “God…”
God loves. More than that God so loves. He’s not just fond us and the rest of the world, He really loves us. There’s this technique used by writers in Greek in which words and concepts occur in each sentence by order of importance. God is of utmost importance and the primary idea we need to know about God is that He loves.
Whom does God love?
God loves the whole world, the entirety of all that He has created, the sun the moon the stars the planets, the earth and all that is in it, and especially you and me and the rest of humanity. A believer is rightly humbled as one ponders the immensity and precision of all of creation and then realizes that God loves him or her most of all. That’s true, you know. God loves you most of all. Just as He loves every other person most of all.
How do we know?
We know that He loves us because he gave Jesus, His Son to us. That Jesus came to meet us on our own terms is more than we deserve. That Jesus then died that excruciating death for all the sins ever committed and ever to be committed in the world just for us is unfathomable. But Jesus didn’t stop there. He rose from being dead in a demonstration of who He is and the power he possesses as the Son of God. After that he rose bodily into heaven to prepare it for us and in order that we may be empowered in our lives on earth.
Why would He do that?
We need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to believe any of this. We hardly live in a Utopian world. It’s full of sin and evil, dangers and temptations and so are we. But God still loves the world and He still love us. Further more, we have a difficult time even looking at pictures taken from scenes in movies depicting the crucifixion that still don’t paint the trueness of this horrific atrocity. In fact, most of us have a hard time even wrapping our minds around the fact that anyone could do that to another person let alone that the Son of God would volunteer for such a grizzly death on our behalf. Then after all of that, we are then supposed to believe that three days later, Jesus rose from the dead fully healed? That’s impossible. Then it gets better. Jesus walked around teaching for another forty days after that before rising bodily into heaven for our benefit? Who believes that kind of story without the aid of the Holy Spirit? No one does. And that’s the point. It’s all about God and what He is continuously doing for us.
We, you and I need to believe all of this and know that it is true in our heart of hearts. This is our hope. this is our source of strength. We know that God is right here with us and for us wanting us to see Him and even to touch Him to further our strength and our faith. That’s when we discover what eternal life is. It’s the right now of God. There is no past and whatever happened. There’s no future that is set in stone. How could there be without a past to determine it. There is only the eternal present God for those who place their faith in Him.
And Jesus said all of that in one sentence. To truly do it justice, one would have to write a book.
I hope this helps.
- Jesus and The Wedding at Cana: The First Sign (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)