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John’s gospel post 24: Rescue plan

September 23, 2013

John 3: 16

And now to that verse. The one that many Christians assume everyone in the world knows. Around 30 years ago banners would just appear at football grounds saying simply “John 3:16”. As if the majority of spectators and viewers had the slightest idea what this cryptic message referred to.

For years though this verse has been regarded as the one that encapsulates the gospel – the good news of Jesus. We have been encouraged that we can have eternal life if we believe in Jesus – the Son of Man.

Now Jesus shares the plan. You can read the verse for yourselves, but let’s break it down. Verse 15 says those who believe [in Jesus] will have eternal life.

For God…. Now the reason behind Jesus’ mission:

God so loved. John loves to remind us in his writings that God IS love. Is that how you see him? Or distant, angry, judgemental, uninterested, or a delusion? God IS love. But what does he love? Beautiful people? Chocolate? Lions and tigers? Football?

No God so loved the world. Not the round thing made up of land and sea, but the people of the world. All of them. Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist etc. Hitler, Gandhi, Saddam Hussein and Mother Teresa. Lonely people, crowds of people. Nations and continents. Towns and cities. Male and female. Straight and gay. The unemployed and directors of banks. Disabled and able bodied. Usain Bolt and people like me. That is what is meant by the world. The whole population of this world together and individually from the moment of creation, through the centuries to now and onwards. That is how MASSIVE God’s love is.

But the verse goes on to talk about people perishing. There is something about the way we live which is destructive and leads to a disastrous end. God, says Jesus, wants that for no one. NO ONE! He wants us rather to have a life which is going somewhere. Eternal life. Life with infinite qualities.

God wants the best for us and he loves us. Which is a nice thought isn’t it. But suppose it were just a nice thought? Suppose God really wanted the best for us. Really wanted to rescue us from a fate worse than death, but there was nothing he could really do about it? Or nothing he wanted to do about it?

But this verse tells us what God wants to rescue us from, why he wants to do it, and – HOW he’s going to do it. The answer was to send his one and only son. The one who was there at the beginning, who created everything. He is God’s rescuer for mankind.

John the Baptist has already touched on this – “the Lamb of God – who takes away the sin of the world”. Jesus has come – to be some kind of sacrifice so that we can know LIFE.

There’s more than a hint of danger here though. God wants none to perish, but the answer is to believe in Jesus, the one he sent. The fact is that as John has already said so many did not even recognise him, even when he actually walked physically among them. What if God comes to offer rescue and we turn away?

You are loved by God. You may not think so but you are loved by God. 

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