“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Following the discourse with Nicodemus, we come upon some of the most well-known words of the Bible. While John 3:16 is the most frequently memorized and quoted passage in the Scriptures, do we really understand the meaning? Jesus has just had an incredibly challenging conversation with Nicodemus. If we are honest with ourselves, we can see our sinful tendencies in Nicodemus: self-reliance, pride, hard-heartedness, spiritual blindness, and sheer confusion as to the ways of the Lord. Jesus cuts right through all of that and reminds us that he became the incarnate Son of God so that we may know God’s love and receive eternal life through his Son.
One of the greatest challenges in our world today is loneliness. While we are quick to assert that this problem stems from Covid-19, there is significant research suggesting the loneliness pandemic started long before the health crisis. Cell phones provide constant contact through Facetime, text messages, and every realm of social media. Despite increased connectivity via technology, however, loneliness only seems to get worse. Even with the constant barrage of interaction, people don’t feel truly known and loved. They only put up the best pictures on Facebook or the best thoughts on Instagram. Like Nicodemus, they hide in the shadows and reveal only what they want others to see. Facetime and other apps provide valuable contact when we’re miles apart, but it just isn’t the same as sitting side by side. The deepest parts of us want to be known, truly known, so that we can be truly loved.
The Father knows how much the human heart desires intimacy. He sees through all of our facades and right into the core of our being. He sees the messiness, insecurity, fear, isolation, and sin we hide from the world. And yet, God still chooses to pour out his love upon us, and he provided the perfect remedy to every one of our dilemmas. He sent his one and only Son to live as one of us, to know our pain, our temptations, and everything else that pertains to life in this world. Jesus understands us because he has been like us. At the same time, he demonstrated perfect love on the cross. In the ultimate act of self-sacrifice, Jesus took the sin of the world upon himself and died the most painful and gruesome death so that we could have relationship with the triune God and enjoy eternal life with him.
You are loved by a perfect and holy God who chooses to pour out his love upon you. If no one else in this world loves you, you can rest assured that the heavenly father always has and always will. In addition to that, he wants to live in relationship with you, to eliminate loneliness from your life. You are never isolated from God. He lives in you and will never leave you nor forsake you. You are known. You are loved. You are marked and sealed as Christ’s own forever.
What more could the Father do to prove his love for you?
Reflect & Respond:
Are you living in this love of the Father? Do you know at the core of your being that you are seen, known, and wanted? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the Living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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