For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)
Twice this year I had the privilege of going to Brazil to do mission work. I was blessed to be a part of a group that travels around Brazil and shares the gospel with thousands of people. When I went in May, we were able to be in the schools telling them of Jesus’ gift of salvation. I had several conversations where I shared the beautiful truths of John 3:16. I shared with them a new perspective on that verse—a perspective that brought tears to their eyes.
Nearly all of us are familiar with John 3:16. It is displayed at sporting events and preached from pulpits around the world. For many of us, it was probably one of the first verses we memorized. It tells the great truth about the gift of salvation that God has given to us through Jesus. It’s a simple, yet powerful verse.
John 3:16 tells us that God sent Jesus because He loved the world—referring to the people of the world. We read this verse and see the wholeness of the world, but we also must see the individual, personal love for us. Just as a forest is made up of many trees, the world is made up of many individuals. There is no one in this world that God does not love. He loves all the people, in every corner of the world. God’s love is not just global, but personal. We must look at the truths of this verse considering both the world as a whole and each individual in the world.
God sent Jesus because He loves each one of us individually. He came to save individuals—”whoever believes in Him” (John 3:16). God sent Jesus because He “desires all people to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). Hebrews 2:9 tells us that Jesus tasted death for everyone. No one is excluded when words such as “whoever,” “all,” and “everyone” are used. These words make it clear that God sending His Son was for each of us individually. God sent His Son for you and for me. If you were the only person in the world, God still would have sent His Son—He loves you that much.
I encourage you to put your name in the blank: “For God so loved ___________, that He gave His only Son….” Do you know that God loved you so much that He sent His Son to save you? Do you know that He sent His Son, not just for the whole world, but for you?
It’s worth repeating: Even if you were the only person on earth, God would have sent His only Son so that you could believe in Him and have eternal life. God so loved you.