Lesson 15

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 3:17 For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 3:18 He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn't believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only born Son of God. 3:19 This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. 3:20 For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, for fear that his works would be reproved. 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done with God." 

 Today's Lesson

John 3:16 is the most well known verse in the Bible. It has been called "The Gospel in One Verse." It is a wonderful verse, but it is even more wonderful when it is understood in context.


Jesus has told Nicodemus that in order to enter the kingdom of God that a man must be born anew of the Spirit. No one can know the things of God except He that has come from God. And, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness to save the people who believed, even so, God will lift up the Son of Man so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. With this context, Jesus continues the thought.


God loved the world so much that He was willing to give His only Son. Whoever believes in His Son, Jesus Christ, will have everlasting life. Jesus did not come to judge or condemn the world. The world has already been judged and condemned. The world and the people in it already have the terminal disease. They are dying. Jesus came into the world that they might have life. He came with the cure for the disease. Jesus is like the doctor that has the only cure for disease from which you are dying. You don't have to go to that doctor. But, if you don't, your fate is sealed already.


Put another way, Jesus is a light that comes into a dark world. Men have a choice. They can come toward the light, or they can choose to stay in the darkness. There are some people who would prefer to stay in the darkness, would prefer to remain ignorant. But, to the blind that want to see, Jesus is the light that brings light to darkness and ignorance. The man born anew of the Spirit of God will be drawn to Jesus as a moth is drawn to the light on a calm, summer night.


God was willing to send His only Son not just for those that would come to the light; He was willing to send His Son even to those who would choose to stay in the darkness. God is revealing His own nature. God is a God of grace and mercy. His grace and His love extend to those who do not deserve it and to those who do not appreciate it. God is holy and just, but God is also merciful.


Not only is God merciful, but God acts. God so loved the world that He GAVE. God initiates. God does not sit idly by and allow His creation to receive its just rewards. He does not allow His people to die of the disease that they created. He acts to save them. He takes upon Himself the responsibility to redeem them. Though we had rejected Him and turned from Him to follow our own ways, God acts to call us back to His kingdom.


The light has come into the world. The Word is made flesh. God sends His Son into the world even today. Will men believe?


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