What’s the best known Bible verse? I’m not sure, but I’d guess, for Christians, John 3:16. It’s a favorite memory verse for children’s Sunday school classes. It’s a verse that articulates the substance of Christianity. It’s a verse that unites us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” While growing up, I said this so many times using the King James Version of the Bible that it’s difficult for me to use any other version when I think of this verse.
The verse appears immediately after the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus as discussed in yesterday’s post. In fact, it sounds a lot like the last thing Jesus said to Nicodemus. In one of the several times and ways Jesus foretold his death and its meaning, he said to Nicodemus in John 3:14-15 (NIV): “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
John 3:16 underscores the importance of what Jesus told Nicodemus and tells us. To be part of the kingdom, we must be “born again.” We must be “born of water and the Spirit.” Sometimes, we may think the story of Nicodemus and John 3:16 are separate passages of scripture. But no. They are right there together.
God loves us so much that he allowed Jesus to die for our sins and create a kingdom of eternal life. We become part of that kingdom through our rebirth of water and the Spirit.
There’s another verse in John 3 that we should remember. “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (3:17)