For God so loved the world is a summary of John’s understanding of God and of the Christian faith. Almost every word of the summary is important.
Here a few keywords.
- So – The Greek word can mean “so much,” but its primary meaning is “in this way” or “in this manner.” It is this meaning that is used throughout John’s gospel. While God’s love is indescribably infinite, the point here is not how much God loves but how God loves. God gave God’s Son.
- World – While the world is often pictured in John as hostile to God, it is also God’s creation. God loves his enemies, those who have rebelled against him. These words give witness to God’s model for Christian love.
- Gave his…Son – This is not God sacrificing or punishing Jesus for the sins of humanity. It is important to remember that if you have seen Jesus you have seen God. God and Jesus are one and the same. God does not punish Jesus but takes our sin into himself. Jesus giving himself is God’s self-giving love.
- Only – Comes from the Greek word for “unique” or “only one of its kind.” It is not referring to the birth of Jesus but to the uniqueness of Jesus.
- Believes – Comes the Greek word for faith, which is translated as “trust.” It is a dynamic word inferring action as opposed to a static word referring to what aspires to. Trust and obey, there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.
- Eternal life – Comes the Greek word for “quality” of life. It does not refer to an extension of life as much as it refers to “kind of life” one lives in relationship to God as seen and experienced in Jesus
Look for God’s love today. As you go about your day, pay attention to where you see God’s love for people, creation, and for you.
Where did you experience God’s love for the world today?
O God, thank you for your love in and through Jesus. I am grateful for your love in my life and in the lives of the people around me. I am especially grateful that you are helping me become more loving. Help me focus my eyes more upon Jesus, so I may love you more deeply in the people I meet along the way. Amen.