There’s a reason why Christians like to hold up signs at sporting events that read, “John 3:16.” Those 25 words express the mystery and beauty of the gospel of Christ more clearly and tenderly than almost any other Scripture passage you could think of. It helps people remember what Jesus is all about and gives them a simple but powerful vocabulary for sharing their faith.
To a learned but simultaneously ignorant Pharisee named Nicodemus, Jesus once gave an insightful explanation of his divine mission on earth: “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” (John 3:16). Jesus’ words elegantly express two important but seemingly contradictory truths. First, God’s love is universal. It is for everybody, literally the whole world. But it is also restrictive—only those who believe the gospel will have eternal life. This is the grace/faith tandem; both are true.
What you need to know is that the proclamation of God’s unlimited and universal grace is what creates the very faith in people’s minds and hearts that they need. Only believers in Jesus can enjoy a guilt-free and hope-filled life; only believers in Jesus will enjoy an eternity in heaven.
You, yes you, are an important part of God’s communication network. Do you know someone who needs to hear 3:16 on 3/16?
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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