Ahhhhhhh, finally a verse you already know, the beloved John 3:16 is our “F” verse. It was very likely the first verse you ever learned if you attended Sunday school as a child. If you have recently given your heart to the Lord, it may have been the verse that was first shared with you. Let’s take a closer look.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The following is a revised version of a post published in May, 2013 entitled “Lost in the Woods, A Fresh Look at John 3:16.”
That’s right pick it up, look at it, turn it around, now inside out. Can you see anything you might have missed before? Are there any phrases that pop out at you, that can speak to you in a new and different way. What I saw when I tried it this morning was a very tightly knit verse that completely and compactly gives us God’s plan of salvation for the world, for you and I. It’s all there. . .who, why, what, when, and how. It’s all we need to know to make our way back to God and literally have eternal life.
But there is more. . .With my picking and poking, I found some amazing revelation. God’s love is far greater than our love for our children and grandchildren, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. He thought of us, created us, created a world for us, created everything in it for us. We are his project, his plan, his purpose. All of His dreams and hopes and plans are wrapped up in us.
And there’s more. . .The Greek word for perish is “apollumi” which actually means “to lose or be lost.” To get a picture of John 3:16 revealed by this interpretation of the word, come with me into a journey by way of your imagination:
You are lost in the forest, wandering aimlessly, lost and alone. There are many twists and turns, rocks and stumps to trip you. That tree suddenly looks very familiar. Perhaps you are going in circles. You thought you were making progress, but you are back right where you started. “Help!” you yell. It’s soon going to be dark. and there are going to be scary animals, bears, coyotes maybe even snakes crawling around on their way to dinner. Your imagination starts to run wild. Your breathing becomes heavy, you are frightened and sweating.
Then you hear a quiet voice saying your name. You turn and look to your left. It’s not quite dark yet, and you can barely make out a face. He is coming to you, and He is calling your name again. He just asks you to believe in Him, and He will lead you out of darkness and away from all of the scary things. He will make sense of all of the twists and turns, and as daylight comes, He will show you His beautiful creation. He will lead you out of the woods into a beautiful meadow where you can discuss your dreams and plans and His dreams and plans for you and marvel that they are so much alike. And then He shows you how to take the next step and the next and then He shares even more of Himself with you until you can barely breathe with the wonder of it! This is eternal life.
Even though, you may know the verse very well. Meditate it today. You might try taking it phrase by phrase. “For God so loved the world.” Say that ten times and let it speak to you. Then take the next part, “that He gave His only begotten Son.” Say that one ten times, and then, “That whosoever believes in Him;” and then ten times for, “Should not perish (should not be lost.) And finally, say ten times, “but have everlasting life.” Get pictures of each phrase and as it speaks to you, it will become fresh, new and life-giving. Then say the whole verse ten times. You are going to have a fabulous day with the Lord today! It is wonderful to know that eternal life starts now!
I have added salvations for “S” on the prayer wall. All of us know people who need the Lord. As you pray today, remember those who need the Savior and don’t know Him yet. You may be the only one praying for that person, and prayer moves the hand of God.
This post is also linked with Inspire Me Monday.