"God So Loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." We continue our series of devotions called "Words of Christ" with these familiar words from John 3:16. This is the second devotion in which Jesus is discussing the topic of being born again with Nicodemus.
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
John 3:9-17, NKJV
As we continue our series of devotions called, "Words of Christ," we come to our second devotion in which Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus. Contained in these verses from John 3:16 are the very familiar words, "God so loved the world"--perhaps the first we memorized--from John 3.
Our focus in these devotions are on the words of Christ, and not necessarily on the occasion of these words in Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus. For another devotion from this text, check out my John 3 page.
In the prior verses from chapter 3 of the Gospel of John, Jesus explained to Nicodemus that he must be born again, not physically, but spiritually. To Nicodemus response, "How can these things be?" Jesus gives God's plan of salvation in greater detail.
Just as an aside, we must remember that these words were truly foreign to the ears of the Jewish people in Jesus' day. Even the disciples could scarcely understand, until after Christ had ascended, what these words really meant. In our day the term, "born again Christian," is rather familiar, but like the Jews of old, we often scarcely understand the true import of Christ's words.
Let us walk carefully through the words from John 3 as shown above.
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
That is the real difficulty, is it not? We are creatures of this earth and, as such, have learned a great deal about this world in which we live. However, we have very little understanding of spiritual things. Spiritual things which we cannot see, touch, smell, or taste, are a great mystery to us. Even in this, the 21st century, we are often clueless as to the real world which exists all around us--the world in which angels and demons walk and move. To understand this world, we must look to Christ, who though He was a man, was also God.
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Right here, early in Christ's ministry, He reveals His true purpose for coming to this earth. His death was not a secret or a mystery to Christ. He knew why He was here, and He knew what He needed to accomplish. The disciples, though Jesus spoke of His death, did not comprehend the depths to which Christ was referring until after His resurrection.
Christ is telling Nicodemus that He has come down from heaven--He is the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, Christ would be lifted up on the cross of Calvary so that any who believe on Him might have eternal life!
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not sent His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Here we have some of the most familiar words in Scripture, but let us not lose their import due to their familiarity. Jesus is telling Nicodemus that He is that only begotten Son of God and that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus further states that His purpose in coming to this world was not to condemn it, but to save it!
Why then are people condemned? Christ's death was sufficient to save everyone, but everyone does not come to Him. To reject Christ is to lose that opportunity of salvation for ever!
We live in a culture where the name of Jesus is simply a swear word to many. How sad! At a time when Bibles are prolific, so few turn to the pages of Scripture and learn with Nicodemus the words of eternal life.
Unless God opens our eyes, we are blind. Let us pray that God will open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, and our minds that we may see Jesus. Let us look to Christ as the only way, the only truth, and the only life. In Christ we have everything! Without Christ we have nothing.
God so loved the world! Go to Christ today and receive Him and your own personal Lord and Savior!
God Bless You,