So, there’s this verse that practically every child who was raised in the church knows backward, forward, upside down, and maybe in a second language that they don’t even speak. But when I started thinking about God’s love, I just started thinking that they chose to teach us this verse for a reason. So, you may have figured it out by now but even if you know it by heart let’s go there first:
“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.” John 3:16
Despite (or maybe because of) that being drilled into me at VBS, it still feels special. In that verse, Jesus is talking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus who had come to talk to Jesus, in awe of His teaching and power to perform miracles. Basically, Nicodemus knew Jesus had an in with God. Jesus tells him he must be reborn and then hits him with the verse above (okay I left out a little in the middle. As always, I recommend checking it out here.). In the next chapter, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman and, breaking all cultural norms, gives her a similar invitation. It’s so cool to me that those stories are almost back to back because what it shows us is that it doesn’t matter where we are on the social/economic/moral/whateverelse scale – Jesus is inviting both the top of society and the lowest. None of that before matters because, like Nicodemus, we have the chance to be reborn and find our identity as a child of God. And no matter who you are or what you’ve done, you are SO loved by God. So loved, in fact, that He gave up His only son just so He could spend eternity with you. And, yeah, dying on the cross was painful but the beauty of that love is He would do it again because that’s how big He loves you.
Maybe you’re not so sure about all of this yet. Maybe you feel like your sin is too big. Maybe you’ve been busy or distracted and it’s been a while since you let yourself get really connected to Jesus. Maybe the love expressed in John 3:16 feels a little foreign or intimidating right now. There are so many other maybes to put here, but I’m here to say I know the feeling. Sometimes, I get so caught up in my head that I choose to ignore God’s love in favor of my own insecurities or shame. “God’s grace may be resistible in the short run, but, in the long run, God’s love is inexhaustible,” is a quote that I found in the back of an old Bible that always reminds me that no matter where I’m at, God’s love is bigger.
So, I end with two ideas if you’re looking for extra ways to put today’s devo in action:
- Go back to the verse above and replace “the world” with your name. Spend 30 extra seconds resting in God’s grace and peace as you start your day.
- Keep an eye out today and count 5 ways God’s showing you His love
- If you’re feeling really ambitious, share with a friend – who knows, maybe you’ll become one of their ways