University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow made it more famous when he wrote it on his eye black for a game during the 2009 college football national championship. As a result, some 94 million people googled the verse: John 3:16.
As popular as the verse is with both Christians and non-Christians, John 3:16 is not your typical verse associated with the birth of the Christ-child:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him would have everlasting life.
But it really should make its way into that Christmas genre of verses we think of during the season we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Why? Well, mostly because it’s the reason that a baby came to earth. So let’s pick apart this verse and look at the action verbs in it:
Loved the world . . .
even the unlovable
even the wretched sinners
even those who hated him
even those who nailed him to a cross of torture
Gave His Son . . .
with no strings attached
that no amount of money could buy
that no one else could possibly give
that no amount of money can buy
Offers eternal life . . .
to all who believe
to a world who rejected the Savior
to the undeserving
to the marginalized, the law breakers, the murderers
to you and me
to society’s worst offenders
There’s really just one catch: You must accept the offer. Again . . . everyone receives the invitation.
The gospel is misunderstood to some people because they are offended if there are actually things that are right and wrong! Today’s version of salvation, the works-based one, says that all roads lead to heaven. But if that were the case, the Bible is wrong about the only way to receive the gift of eternal life . . .
Believe and accept it.
If every religion in the world leads to salvation through whoever its worshipers call “god,” why would a Father send his son do die? Sure, we’d all like to sit on a cloud listening to an angel strum a harp for eternity, but that’s not the gospel.
John 3:16 clears up all that. The gospel is free to everyone who surrenders his/her life to Jesus and the grace he offers. It means sacrifice, humility, servanthood . . . all those things the world counts as weaknesses. But that’s why a little baby was born. That’s why Jesus left the splendor of heaven to die a horrible death.
Know His great love and sacrifice by searching your heart. Because God is your Creator, He is calling you to himself. Answer that call and find the grace you don’t deserve.