John 3:16 – THE Verse. Ask any group of people at church for their favorite verse and this one inevitably pops up. It even shows up in the end zone at football games. Many people connect with it. I didn’t.
John 3:16 reads “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That’s nice, Jesus with his great love lays down his life for the whole world, saving billions. I’m just one of the billions. It’s good, but not very personal.
One Sunday when I went to church at Shepherd of the Hills in the old sanctuary I sat in a row of pews I had never sat in before. Along one wall there were two rows of pews that faced directly into the sanctuary instead of looking forward at the altar. I think maybe they ended up with some extra pews and these were just plunked down in some empty space. We had arrived late and found seats in the back of these two rows. I’m six-four so I have a lot of leg. The space between these pews and the row in front was about a foot. I had trouble sitting down. As I sat in discomfort I’m afraid I didn’t pay too close of attention to the service.
I started thinking of some Old Testament Bible stories. God started the world by making just one person. Noah and the flood. In all the world only Noah was a good person. God could have just wiped the slate clean and started over, but when it came down to it for the sake of Noah he figured out a way to save him. God and Moses. God and David. God and any number of different people. It hit me then. That God wants to have personal relationships with people. And God has the ability to have personal relationships with billions of people without becoming impersonal. Suddenly THE Verse becomes very personal.
Jesus came to save the world. But, when it comes down to it, God loves you so much that if it was only for you that Jesus had to suffer and die, He would have done it. God knows all about you; the number of hairs on your head, every stray thought, all your actions good and bad. You are loved with a love that surpasses all understanding. You are loved enough that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for YOU.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.