By Chris WittsSunday 16 Feb 2014Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
I like the story of a young boy standing on a street corner in Chicago one cold night. He stopped a policeman and asked if there was somewhere warm he could stay for the night. The policeman pointed to a big house just down the street. “Just knock on the door and say ‘John 3:16’ and see what happens”. The boy was a bit confused,but gratefully followed the man’s instructions. He knocked on the door and a woman opened the door,and he said “John 3:16”. She said “come in,son”,and took the boy inside and sat him in a large chair next to the fireplace. She got him something to eat,ran a bath for him,and tucked him into bed with nice clean sheets. The young fellow was amazed at the ladies kindness,and was amazed at the words ‘John 3:16’. Before he went to sleep,he thought to himself “I don’t understand it… but it sure makes a cold boy warm and fed and bathed and rested”.
At breakfast the next morning,he asked the lady what it meant. She opened her Bible in John’s Gospel and told him how God loved him so much that He gave Jesus to die in his place so that he might have eternal life. The youngster gave his heart to Jesus. “I don’t understand it,but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe”.
This text in John 3:16 is one of the most powerful words you’ll ever hear.. “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”. It’s been called the world’s greatest text. Children learn it when they’re young,and preachers often speak about it. Believers who have walked with God for years still are amazed at its words.
One of the key words here is “love”. “God loved the world so much”. Our God is the initiator,who stands at the beginning of our salvation,loved us and gave us His Son. We use the word ‘love’ to describe everything from a great movie,to strawberry ice-cream,to an overseas holiday. The word is so over-used today that it has lost its meaning. But God’s love is something else. It’s stronger than death,and will not let us go. It passes all knowledge and rejoices in the truth. God’s love always protects,always trusts,hopes,perseveres,and lasts for ever. And this is how God showed His love for us. In the epistle of John we read these words “He sent his one and only son into the world that we might have life through him. He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9,10) It’s wonderful to know that God will never take back his gift. He will never say “Oh,I didn’t really mean you to keep it”. Jesus has been handed over to the world.
When I say God loved the world… that is a big picture being painted. The world is very large and there are lots of people living in the world. But He loves you and me,and Jesus did not come into the world to save a select few,or just the religious people. He came to save the whole world,the all-encompassing circle of men,women,boys and girls,who inhabit this planet. In giving Jesus to the world,God has given Him to all people universally,without distinction or exception. Even the worst criminal is deserving of God’s love. Think of it like this. God loves the world one person at a time,as though that person was the only one living in the world. The truth is that He has no favourites
This text mentions the words “perish” and “eternal life”. When we die,the soul lives on forever. The soul is immortal and programmed for eternity. It can be a frightening thought,but we need to think about it. What happens when I die? This Bible text says “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. God does not want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to repent of their sins and to believe in Him,to put their trust in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life now. 1 John 5:11,12 says “This is the testimony. God has given us eternal life,and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life”. These are life changing words that can affect where we spend eternity.