For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
John 3:16 is a much-loved verse. It’s usually the first verse on our lips when asked about the verses we have memorized. It is a simple verse, yet it is extremely profound.
Why did God send Jesus to die for us? He LOVED the world. He loved you, me, the sinners, the ignorant, the arrogant, the seekers, the rebellious—everyone. He LOVED us regardless of time milieu—those who were born, those who were still to come, those who had been born. He LOVED us regardless of race and religion, skin color and economic status, failure or success. He LOVED us.
And how about Jesus Himself? Did He feel forced to sacrifice Himself for us? In John 10:18, He says, “No one takes my life away from me. I give it up of my own free will. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it back. This is what my Father has commanded me to do.”
Pause a moment and breathe that in. God loved us so much. He sent Jesus to die for us. Jesus loved us so much. He chose to die for us.
Have we received this free gift of Christ? Is Christ living inside of us?
The verb used in John 3:16 describing the actions of God the Father in sending Jesus to us is “GAVE.” Giving means voluntarily handing over what belongs to oneself to another. Stop and think about this for a moment: the Creator of the Universe decided to give us something. It was the most precious thing He could give: His only Son. Now, why didn’t He just give the stars or mountains or fields or the largest river in exchange for our eternal lives?
Why His son?
In a transaction of worth—a transaction of redemption—one does not buy or give with a payment less than what the purchase is worth. We have heard it said: “An eye for an eye.” Justice for sin. The wages of sin is DEATH (Rom.6:23). Frankly, you and me are not the equivalent worth of fields or the stars or the highest mountains— even if God created us from mere dust (see Genesis 1). We are worth death.
BUT try to believe this: God loves us IN THE SAME WAY HE LOVES JESUS. In His eyes, we are worth His son. When Jesus prayed to the Father prior to His death, he said this: “I in them and you in me–so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23).
Let that sink for a moment: We are loved by God in the same way He loves Jesus.
Salvation seems so simple for us, doesn’t it? Yet it is full of the weight of death, pain, love, and life! The question now is: Have we fully accepted the sacrifice of Christ and made Him our Savior and Lord? Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Do we believe fully in this? Have we done this?
Death has no hold over those who believe in Christ. The life of Christ transforms our physical deaths into a beginning. Jesus, the Author of Life, gives us His eternal self, blowing into us His resurrection power. If we haven’t yet asked Him to come into our hearts, now is the best time to do so.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.