“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 nkjv
The entirety of the Gospel is encapsulated in John 3:16 which is the most quoted and memorized verse in all the Bible. No other statement from the Bible so perfectly summarizes God’s redemptive plan and purpose in Christ for humanity. So many books have been written on this verse and yet there is more to say about this statement than there are words available.
The context of the verse comes on the heels of a conversation that Jesus had with an extremely religious man by the name of Nicodemus. The scripture tells us that he was a Pharisee and a “ruler of the Jews.” He was strict about keeping the Mosaic law: the Sabbath, tithing, circumcision, ceremonial cleanliness, eating the right food, and observing holy days. The title of ruler is often used in rabbinic literature for a “great man” or “prince.” Phillips notes “Rabbinical tradition makes Nicodemus one of the three richest men in Jerusalem.” He was a champion of the religious community, yet he apparently did not know how to have a personal relationship with God. This is seen in his confusion over the statement that Jesus made “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Since the fall of the human race in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3) mankind has been in search for a way into relationship with holy God. Yet because all humanity is completely lost, utterly sinful, and incapable of redeeming, saving, or bettering itself by religious ceremony or human effort we are thus hopeless and helpless. The good news expressed in John 3:16 is that God loved the fallen world with an incomprehensible and gracious love displayed through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! Paul wrote,
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
–Romans 5:8 nkjv
Try reading the text through, ten times, meditatively. With each reading put the emphasis on a different word. “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.” Then: “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.” Next: “For God so loved the world, that He gave…” And so on. The result will be ten meaningful meditations. The text is inexhaustible. All the highways of divine truth meet in this metropolis. It is the hub of all revealed truth.
If you commit to memory only one verse this should be it. This verse contains all the rich truth that is sufficient for every moment of every day. Read it. Memorize it. Know it. Believe it. Share it.