I have been thinking about how this month of March is the 3rd month of the year and how Easter falls in March this year, leading my mind to 03/16. As we are in the week before Holy week I thought how common the verse John 3:16 is, appearing on T-shirts, billboards, signs and at big events. That verse:
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.
Sometimes it is in the very thing we see the most, or can recite is the very thing we take for granted, miss the point and miss the magnitude of how important it is. So often it is said, you don’t know what you have until you lose it. My prayer is that we will not take this message from God for granted, that we would instead look at it with fresh eyes. Eyes open to the beautiful treasure of love for you and me, and gain wisdom and knowledge of the love Christ pours out for us. Celebrating the true joy of Easter and eternal life!
Lent has always been a special time to me, I loved going to church for the evening Lent services as a child. There was something so calming to me about sitting quietly and still in the evening at church. Those of you who knew me as a child knew I rarely sat still or quietly! My love for this time of year continues. Jesus is so amazing and beyond words, although I didn’t know all the things I know now about Jesus, the Easter story amazed me.
The story of Jesus being welcomed and praised by the people, praising their king, the hope they longed for. Only for them to completely change their mind and turn their back on him, to treat him horribly, utterly disrespecting him. WHAT? How fickle the behavior of humans, changing based on emotion and judgements and selfish desires. One moment praise and approval, the next complete disdain and hate. And all the while, Jesus taking one step at a time through the town knowing exactly what was coming next. Jesus, looking in the eyes of the people that were joyfully cheering for him now; knowing those very people would be casting harsh judgement and condemnation of him, taking him to the cross in a few short days. Even his close companions would abandon him!
Thinking about John 3:16, and God, for some reason have been given a negative connotation in many circles, somehow portraying God as sending Jesus to condemn sinners, the truth is the exact opposite. As the next verse John 3:17 goes onto say For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Jesus came to save!!!! He came to SAVE! He came for you and me! He came specifically for each one of us. With love in his heart for each individual, wanting no one to perish.
Jesus totally amazes me, because through all the mistreatment and pain he suffered he did not allow emotion and hurt to distract him from his purpose of coming to earth. His love continually poured out, he knew the pain ahead and still kept on. Letting nothing stop him from saving those he loves. Praying in the midst of excruciating pain. Asking God if there is another way, and then accepting God’s answer that he must continue with what was ahead. Jesus kept on for you and me! Kept on to the death leading to the glorious resurrection! Claiming the the victory of eternal life for you and me!!!!
Jesus came to us, and then did what he came to do! Scripture says of Jesus, of his anointing, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1 HCSB” Providing a way for us to be redeemed, binding up our brokenness and giving us whole and abundant life. The Message words John 3:16-17 this way, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”
He dwells in our hearts, he walks beside us, he knows us better than we know ourselves. He holds out his love for us waiting for us to open up to receiving his love. He has redemption and restoration for our hearts. And the most amazing thing is that His love never runs out, and in fact, grows and blooms in our hearts as much as we will allow, to overflowing! Let us celebrate this gift as Easter approaches spending time in prayer, seeking to know this love more and more!
Up for a challenge?
In the next days leading up to Easter I challenge myself and you to set an alarm for 3:16 in the afternoon. Make it a time to stop and pray to God asking him to deepen our understanding of the gift of Jesus’ love and for us to share this love, to share Jesus!
Share your thoughts in the comments! #20sweet16 #john316 #Jesussaves