Summary: This is the intro to a series where we preached from a variety of 3:16s in the Bible. Here we examine the Love of John 3:16
We’ve all seen them, at sporting events and concerts. The obligatory John 3:16 signs. In case you are wondering that all started in 1980. A guy by the name of Rollen Stewart had been making a name for himself by appearing at major sporting events wearing a rainbow coloured wig and dancing wildly for the cameras. He was referred to as “Rainbow Man”. In 1980 following the Super Bowl, Stewart was sitting in his hotel room watching a Televangelist by the name of Charles Taylor and committed his life to Christ. Shortly after that he decided to add the John 3:16 sign to his “Thing”.
He claimed that he travelled 100,000 kms a year to various sporting events, including the Indianapolis 500, the Olympics, The Super Bowl and even showed up at Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding. He truly felt that what he was doing was a ministry that would lead people to Jesus.
Not everybody agreed. One sports director actually threatened to fire any cameraman who focused on Stewart.
But things spiraled out of control for Stewart, and his actions became increasing bizarre. His wife left him claiming that he choked her for holding her John 3:16 sign wrong, at the 1991 Masters he blew an air horn as Jack Nicklaus lined up a putt.
And in 1992 he was arrested after an attempted kidnapping turned into a hostage situation. He is presently serving 3 consecutive life sentences in California.
But it wasn’t just Rollen and his sign. You might recall Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow wearing John 3:16 printed on his eye black while playing College Football. When his team won the 2009 BCS (Bowl Championship Series) Championship game John 3:16 was the most googled term on the internet the next day. Shortly after that the rules were changed, forbidding college football players from having words written in the eye black. This is sometime called the “Tebow Rule”.
And on January 8, 2012 exactly three year to the day from that College win Tebow played his first NFL playoff game and led the Denver Bronco to victory over the Pittsburg Steelers. and here are some stats for that Game. Tebow threw for 316 yards. He averaged the highest single-game postseason completion average in NFL history and that was 31.6 yards per completion,
The second-quarter interception, which resulted in the Bronco’s taking a 17-6 lead, came on you guessed it the third-and-16.
But it’s not just football, pro-wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin has been known to wear an Austin 3:16 shirt, and some Christian Businesses try to include it, here is a cup from Christian owned “In and Out” Burgers in the states, and it creeps up on Road signs every once in a while.
Back in the day a buddy and I were hitchhiking from Sussex to Saint John, and so we included 3:16 on our sign. We walked a lot on that trip.
Just a year ago Keith Urban went to number one on the Country charts with this little ditty. (John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16)
John 3:16, in case you are wondering, is probably the most memorized verse in the Bible, it has been called “The Gospel in a Nutshell”. In the King James Version it says John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the New Living Translation it reads John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
The story has been told about President Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore and George W. Bush or you can simply insert the name of your least favorite politician.
Actually the first time the story was circulated was in 1990 in regards to George W. Bush’s Father the first President Bush. But the story is always the same that that particular politician is speaking at a gathering of religious leaders and as part of his remarks he comments on his favorite Bible verse and he means to say John 3:16 but instead he cites John 16:3 which says John 16:3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. Completely different meaning.
I guess we’ll stick with 3:16. But John isn’t the only book in the bible to have a third chapter with a sixteenth verse. And so this summer we are going to look at a variety of 3:16s throughout God’s word.
Now please understand that there is nothing magical about 3:16. Every Chapter 3 verse 16 in the bible doesn’t have something profound for us. The system that we have of Chapters and verses in the bible has only been around for the past 500 years or so. And they are pretty arbitrary and were just put in place to make it easier to find locations in the bible. So there aren’t 66 parts to this series, there are only 11.