For God so loved the world… John 3:16
so adv 1. In the way or manner indicated. 2. to the extent or degree indicated or suggested. 3. very or extremely. 4. very greatly. 5. most certainly…
Immediately before speaking the familiar words of verse 16, Jesus had expressed the horror that salvation would entail, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Reading how God so loved the world takes an added dimension when it is placed in this context.
Go back to your Bible, and as you read, substitute the word “thus” or the phrase “in this way” for “so”. The depth of the love of God takes on a new weight when considered in this light. Rather than the abstract God so loved the world, we are confronted with Because God loved the world, the Son of Man must be sacrificed on their behalf. We’ll never read ‘so’ in the same way again.
Grace and peace to you.
It is a fact of life that the most familiar things in our lives tend to fade to background, receiving little attention and often being taken for granted. We assume we will awaken tomorrow and that our significant others will continue to love us as they have. Our lives in Christ are not exempt from this trend; truths that we are most familiar with receive little meditation.
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.
Verse 3:16 in John’s gospel is recognized as the most familiar verse in the Bible. It was probably the first verse that you committed to memory, and since it pops up at ballgames each week, it is probably has reached the most people outside of the faith community. It is a simple, straight-forward truth, foundational to the Christian life.
When was the last time you spent an extended time of reflection in this verse?
I’m willing to bet that it has been some time, if ever. And yet, this truth lies at the heart of the Lenten season. God’s sacrificial love is evidenced in the Cross and the resurrection of the Savior. It is the promise from which we draw strength in the storm and pass on to our children. It is everything.
My Lenten reflections for this season are going to be rooted in this passage. The Spirit has brought this back to my attention for a reason and the approach to Easter is a perfect time to meditate on its many and varied messages. I hope you will join me.
image mandy jansen