The Greatest Love Story Ever Told - Hope 103.2

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

The John 3:16 Podcast explores the wonderful majesty of the Most Famous Verse in the Bible.

By Ben McEachenFriday 19 Jan 2024John 3:16PodcastsReading Time: 3 minutes

“The gift of God’s Son, Jesus, has always been Plan A.”

“The same love the Father has for the Son is the same love he offers to you and I.”

Cass Kwakye from Whitley College in Melbourne, Australia, is a New Testament expert.

And she loves John’s Gospel.

And how the most famous verse in the Bible – John 3:16 (NIV) – declares God’s “Plan A” to everyone.

Of a similar mind is Tom Habib from Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia

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In the John 3:16 Podcast, Cass and Tom guide us through the most famous verse in the Bible – 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.

Wait. How did we get here?

To understand John 3:16, it helps to grasp its context.

The first two episodes of John 3:16 Podcast cover the build-up from the start of John’s gospel to the conversation recorded in chapter three between Jesus and Nicodemus, a Pharisee and leader of the Jewish people.

While this conversation at night includes “For God so loved the world…” it also has plenty of other surprises and challenges.

Jesus appears to shock Nicodemus by telling him he must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.

Hard to forget Nicodemus’ response: “Can [someone] enter their mother’s womb a second time and be born?”

Jesus doesn’t need to answer that startled question.

Instead, he tells Nicodemus being born again is tied to the transformative work of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus references the Old Testament, particularly prophecy in Ezekiel 37 (NIV) about a new spirit being put on God’s people.

He also alludes to the incident in Numbers 21 (NIV), where Moses lifted a bronze snake on a pole and anyone who looked at it was saved from death by snakebite.

That was a bit of an odd yet potent event of rescue. Jesus declares to Nicodemus in John 3 that he also will be lifted up, and whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life. 

For God so loved the world

The verse begins with the word “for,” which clarifies the motivation behind God’s plan of salvation and the crucifixion of Jesus.

As Cass explained, this simple word emphasises that God’s love for the world is not a mere reaction to sin or a back-up plan.

Rather, it is an eternal and pre-emptive love in which God did not change his mind about humanity.

He invites us to change our minds about him.

“The gift of God’s Son, Jesus, is actually and has always been Plan A,” Cass said.

“And God is always motivated, he is actually self-motivated by love.” 

God’s love for the world is a radical concept that transcends racial or cultural boundaries.

“When we are talking about the world, we are talking about all of humanity,” Tom said.

“God’s love isn’t limited to one people, one ethnicity, one group.”

As the one and only Son of God, Jesus embodies this divine love and reveals the fullness of God’s love to humanity. 

Tom highlighted that the world, in the context of John’s Gospel, refers not only to the created world but also to humanity in rebellion against God.

How wide, deep and vast is God’s love

The impact of John 3:16 extends far beyond the confines of a single sentence.

We are confronted with the magnitude of God’s love for humanity. A love that embraces all people, regardless of their background or past.

John 3:16 reminds us that God’s love is not limited to a select few but is available to all who believe in the one and only son. 

The transformative power of this love is seen in Jesus’ death on the cross, where he meets death itself and transforms it into new life. 

The gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus, trusting in his sacrifice, challenges our limited understanding of God’s love.

In a powerful, positive way.

The way to letting our hearts open to the immeasurable immensity of God’s love and allow it to shape our lives. 

May we be inspired to share this love with others, as we experience the fullness of his grace in Jesus.

Listen to the full first episode in the player above and subscribe here to John 3:16 Podcast. 

Feature image: Photo by Canva Pro