For God so Loved the World?
John 3:16 says:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
What a great single verse summary of the Gospel!
But, even though this one verse stands true on its own, there’s still a context we must consider: Jesus was talking to Nicodemus – a Pharisee who recognized by the miracles He did that Jesus was sent from God.
No there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” (John 3:1-2)
But, Nicodemus didn’t get the things Jesus taught, even though Jesus referenced the prophets to show they wrote about Him.
Nicodemus said, “How can these things be?” Jesus said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.” (John 3:9-11)
Jesus said, “Aren’t you the teacher of Israel and you don’t understand?”
So, He gave another example:
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him has eternal life. For God so loved the world that He sent His Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:15-16)
See, Nicodemus thought the Messiah the prophets talked about was coming to save the Jews. Jesus used this story from Moses, when God sent serpents to punish the people for their sin (Numbers 21:9), to foreshadow how God would deliver from his wrath a people that would include every tribe, tongue and nation on earth. (Revelation 7:9) That’s what is meant by “For God so loved the world”.
It doesn’t mean every person in the world, it means more than just Jews. God loves people from all over the world.
And in both verses 15 and 16, the qualifier is whoever believes will be saved and have eternal life.
The love of God the Father includes people from every nation, that He gave His Son as a sacrifice for the sins of His people.
He gave His Son as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of His people (Titus 2:14)
Whoever believes in the person and work of Jesus Christ would be saved from the wrath of God and have eternal life.
So take this Gospel message to every nation, that they would believe and be saved!
…when we understand the text