S (Scripture): John 3:16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
O (Observation): My commentary helpfully points out that: “John is emphasizing both the degree to which God loved the world as well as the manner in which He chose to express that love.” And while we typically see the phrase “only begotten Son,”‘this translation points a slightly better understanding that this phrase was meant to bring…Jesus is God’s Son in a unique, one-of-a-kind sense.
As Jesus talks with Nicodemus in just the third chapter of this Gospel, the author of this Gospel seems to be laying more foundational elements of who Jesus is and what his purpose is on earth. Jesus is coming to let all people know, starting with Nicodemus, that a new day has dawned…and that people should not be afraid, but rather rejoice!
God has come to earth not to destroy or shame us, but to bring us life eternal! This has always been God’s way…new life when we need it the most.
A (Application): I know the Bible cannot be simplified into a simple phrase, nor can the Christian faith…but these two verses provide an extremely compelling case for giving a summation of our faith.
(I know the Spirit isn’t mentioned, but perhaps implied in that after Jesus’ ascension, the Spirit burst forth onto the scene in a new way. Jesus did promise an Advocate…)
In any case, these verses stave off a road for the judgmental Christian, and yet also provide a foundation for our faith: Jesus is Lord. Jesus brings new life. Jesus does not condemn us.
I still believe we need correction and exhortation to drive us to this Good News of who Jesus is…but that correction does not need to be a threat of eternal condemnation. I don’t see the evidence for that.
Instead, my faith in the Triune God can begin with the words from John 3:16-17.
How about you? What verses point to the foundation of your faith?
P (Prayer): Lord, we thank you for sending your Son to be our hope and our guide. Amen.