Sermon Illustrations

In the city of Chicago a blizzard was setting in. A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner. The people were in and out of the cold. The little boy was so cold that he wasn’t trying to sell many papers. He walked up to the policeman and said, "Mister, you wouldn’t happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you? You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and it’s awful cold in there, of a night. Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay."

The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, "You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say John 3:16 and they will let you in." So he walked down the street, up the steps, and knocked on the door. A lady answered. He looked up and said, "John 3:16." The lady said, "Come on in, Son." She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace and she went off. He sat there for a while, and thought to himself, "John 3:16.... I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm." Later she came back and asked him "Are you hungry?" He said, "Well, just a little. I haven’t eaten in a couple of days and I guess I could stand a little bit of food." The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn’t eat any more. Then he thought to himself "John 3:16.... Boy, I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a hungry boy full." She took him upstairs to a bathroom and a huge bathtub filled with warm water and he sat there and soaked for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself, "John 3:16...I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know, I’ve not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out." The lady came in and got him, and took him to a room and tucked him into a big old feather bed and pulled the covers up around his neck and kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights. As he laid in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night he thought to himself, "John 3:16.... I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a tired boy rested." The next morning she came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food. After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and she took a big old Bible and sat down in front of him. She looked up at him and asked, "Do you understand John 3:16?" He said, "No, Ma’am, I don’t. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it." She opened the Bible to John 3:16, and began to explain to him about Jesus. The lovely lady told the warmed and fed boy that God is love. He loves to love. Loving means giving. When He saw the helpless state of all people on the earth, He sent his Son Jesus to this planet to help them. It didn’t matter if people loved Jesus or not, it made no difference what color they were or what they had done or even if they were homeless children. God just loves everybody. She stopped to ask the boy if he had ever lost someone close to him. “Well, I never had a mother or father but I did have a brother almost my age. We were always together. Then we got separated and I haven’t seen in for many years. I miss him all the time and wish he could sleep in my box with me. “ She said, “Good, you can really understand how hard it is to be without someone you love. That’s how it is with God. He gave us Jesus so we can be helped.” The lady told the little boy that the only way for the world to be better was for Jesus to die for everybody. “That’s the part,” she said, “where Jesus was killed along with two real criminals.” She explained that the next part of John 3:16 tells us how Jesus can help us. Each person must believe in Jesus, that he was God’s son and the medicine to cure sin sickness. She pointed that that Jesus would later die by being put on a cross, the way that bad people were punished. The only reason Jesus died like this was to help us. Right there in front of that big old fireplace, the little homeless boy thought, “John 3:16. I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe."