Summary: Nothing can compare to the love God has shown us in Christ.
John 3:16 is, perhaps, the most familiar verse in the Bible. Here in the United States many people can quote the verse. Of those who cannot quote it, many are at least familiar with the reference, if only because they have seen it displayed so often in the end zone of football stadiums. Yet, I am afraid that perhaps we have allowed familiarity to lead us to take for granted the wonderful truths contained in this verse.
My hope and prayer is that in our time spent considering the message of John 3:16, we will not only become more familiar with this wonderful verse of Scripture, but that we will become personally familiar with the God about whom it speaks. The message it shares with us about God can change your life!
John 3:16 tells us about the greatest news ever heard -
"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."
In this verse, we are told about...
...the greatest love ever shown,
...the greatest gift ever given,
...the greatest opportunity ever offered, and
...the greatest future ever imagined!
Let*s look at what this verse says about the greatest love ever shown.
1. The God Who Loves Us
God loves you and me! What a thought! The wonder of this statement becomes even greater when I realize the glory of the God who loves us.
God’s glory is how we describe the sum effect of all of His attributes. Grace, truth, goodness, mercy, justice, knowledge, power, eternality - all that He is. Therefore, the glory of God is intrinsic. That is, it is as essential to God as light is to the sun, as blue is to the sky, as wet is to water. You don’t make the sun light; it is light. You don’t make the sky blue; it is blue. You don’t make water wet; it is wet. In all of these cases, the attribute is intrinsic to the object.
By contrast, man’s glory is granted to him. If you take a king, remove his robe and crown, give him only a rag to wear, leave him on the streets for a few weeks, then put him next to a beggar, you’ll never know which is which. Because with man, there is no intrinsic glory. The only glory a king has is when you give him a crown and a robe and sit him on his throne. He has no intrinsic glory.
That’s the point. The only glory that men have is granted to them. But the glory that is God’s is His in His essence. You can’t "de-glory" God because He is, by nature, glorious! You can’t touch His glory. It cannot be taken away. It cannot be diminished and it cannot be added to. It’s His being.
Now what is amazing is that this God, whose glory is unlike anything else in the entire universe, has seen fit, because of His love, to reveal Himself to us in the person of His Son - Jesus Christ! Speaking about Jesus, the apostle John said, "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth," (John 1:14).
But the wonder of God’s love is revealed all the more when I think not only of His glory, but also of His grace.
In showing His love for you and me, this glorious God has revealed Himself to us, in the gracious attempt to relate to us! And just as God reveals Himself to us through Jesus, He also relates to us through Jesus!
The apostle Paul declared, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich," (2 Corinthians 8:9).
You see, Jesus Christ was God come to earth in human form, to do for you and me what we could not do for ourselves. He came to deliver us from the burden of sin so that we might know the blessing of salvation.
A few years ago, the newspapers reported the story of how on March 5, 1994, Deputy Sheriff Lloyd Prescott was teaching a class for police officers in the Salt Lake City Library. As he stepped into the hallway, he noticed a gunman herding 18 hostages into the next room.
Thinking quickly, Prescott (dressed in street clothes) joined the group as the nineteenth hostage, followed them into the room, and shut the door. When the gunman announced the order in which hostages would be executed, Prescott identified himself as a cop. In the scuffle that followed, he fatally shot the armed man. The hostages were then released unharmed.