For God so loved the world

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17

Every organisation these days seems to have a mission statement. A quick Google search turned up millions of different examples, including Wal-Mart (“To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people”) and Disney (“To make people happy”). Many people take mission statements very seriously. On an episode of “People Like Us,” the headmaster and senior management team of a school are struggling to write a mission statement, producing much hilarity in the process. Some churches even have mission statements.

If Jesus was to have a mission statement, today’s verses would be quite apt. They tell us who sent Jesus and why he was sent. John clearly states that God sent Jesus to live amongst us. Why? Because, as perhaps the most famous verse of the Bible states – he “so loved the world.” John makes it clear that Jesus is God’s only son, making it particularly significant that he was sent to be with us. These verses also tell us that God sent Jesus in order that anyone who believed in him could have eternal life, and live on with God in heaven for the rest of eternity. John also counters one of the many objections to Jesus; people often regard the church as being quick to condemn, but this was not why Jesus came. God’s judgement is, as we saw yesterday, entirely fair and just, but what God wants more than anything is for the people he has created to believe in Jesus, so that they might be saved. Also clear in these verses, John makes it clear that it is through Jesus that we are saved. This, of course, is a reference to Jesus death on the cross and subsequent resurrection.

For me, these verses neatly encapsulate the gospel of Christ – God sent Jesus because he loves us, and those who believe in Jesus will be given eternal life, through Jesus’ actions. So often we get bogged down in deep theology, but this is the true heart of our faith. Let’s thank God for his love, for sending his son, and for the sheer simplicity of his gospel!

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