If you’ve been in the church for more than 20 minutes or just watched a football game you’ve seen the sign or heard the scripture address “John 3:16.” And most of us (even those not lovin’ Jesus) can even recite it:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Yeah, yeah, we got it. But as I was contemplating this, I found myself asking, one, why is it always a fat dude with no shirt on in the snow who holds up that sign? And, two, why do we leave out verse 17?
Because 17 is where it gets radical.
All of John 3 is pretty radical anyway: thick-headed Nicodemus trying to figure out being “born again”, Jesus telling secrets and Johnny B (John the Baptist) setting his peeps straight. Read all of it when you can because we church-folk tend to gloss over it…
I think 16 makes us feel good and loved, and it sums up God’s motivation pretty well. But I also think we forget that Jesus just told thick-headed Nick He was going to have to die for the world (v. 15). We forget that verses 16-21 is Jesus talking about Himself not BFF disciple John talking about Him. And we neglect verse 17, the place where 16’s love manifests its power and Jesus tells us a secret:
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but in order that world might be saved through him.
In verse 17, Jesus let’s us in on the secret–the Father’s heart is not condemning.
What? I thought God and Jesus and all that stuff was about rules and conforming. I thought the whole idea was to feel bad for all your quote/unquote sins until you die… Uh, not so much.
It’s time His kids shared 17, not just 16. And it’s time we walk in the truth of 17–because that’s the where the love becomes relevant and relational.
So someone tell that guy to put a shirt on and write verse 17 on his sign. I’m tired of just seeing 16….