“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.”
God loves you. You hear it over and over, but do you really get it? Understanding and accepting God’s love may be an obstacle you need to overcome in your growth as a Christian. Think about John 3:16. It’s one of the most familiar verses in Scripture, yet one of the least appreciated. We know it by heart, but it’s become almost like one of the road signs we pass everyday on our way to work or school. We know they are there and we know what they say, but they’re so familiar that we dismiss them. We don’t think about them anymore. It’s the same with this verse. We just don’t stop to think about the awesome implications held in its words, and by not doing so, we overlook a basic fact of Christianity: that God loves us, that He loves you. He loves us so much and wants so badly to have an intimate relationship with each of us that He sacrificed His Son to accomplish that.
I never fully understood this verse until I became a parent. (I know a lot of you aren’t parents, but just go with me on this one.) I have two boys and I love them more than life itself. When they were born, I remember being overcome by this joyous, completely helpless love that I hadn’t known existed, a love that washed over me like a huge wave and just left me breathless. This wasn’t the first love I’d ever known, but my point is this: the love I feel for my children is different from all other love. Because of this love, I would give everything I have, including my own life, to protect them and nothing could move me to sacrifice them for someone else. I just can’t love anyone else that much.
I say all that to say this: God gave His precious, perfect Child for me and for you. He loves us that much. It’s a love that goes beyond our limited human understanding; even so, it’s there for the taking, just waiting for us to accept.
Do you understand why God would do that? Why He would give up his one perfect Child, let Him be beaten, spit upon and mocked, then hung on a tree like a common criminal? The answer is very simple. He gave the one Child to save all the rest of His children. He loves us, imperfect though we are, with the same all-consuming love that He has for that one perfect Child, Jesus Christ. He loves you that much.