God So Loved the World

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“Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.” John 3:16

This brief passage has become one of the most recognized biblical references in the culture. It seems such a simple statement, but it reveals nothing less than the full, complete meaning of the Incarnation. It tells us everything we need to know about the Nature of God. These few, uncomplicated words, describe, perfectly, the mystery of God’s love for us with a simple and confident clarity. These few words reveal the central insight of Christianity: that though we had turned away from God, his love for us was not diminished, rather it was increased by and through his compassion for us. The very next verse tells us that the Son, Jesus, did not come to condemn the world, but that through him it might be saved.

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The meaning of this passage comes profoundly alive for us in the light of faith. All of Jesus’ miracles, all of his wise words, his parables, his confrontations with the authorities, indeed, his arrest, his suffering, his death and resurrection find their ultimate meaning in this single passage. The Incarnation is the greatest act of love the world has ever known. It is the revelation of an unconquerable love, a love that gives reason and meaning to all of creation and to each and every single human being. It is the ultimate love note to creation. In the Incarnation, God sends his love to all of us, not just in the fragility of human words, but in the flesh.

Do you remember how you felt the first time someone told you that they loved you? Well, this passage, and the reality it speaks about, is God telling us of his profound, unconditional love for each and every one of us. How does that make you feel? Remember when that loved other told you that he or she loved you, how you knew at that moment that you would do anything, suffer anything for them? Well, a Christian who understands the full meaning of the love that God has expressed for us in this passage, is so filled with gratitude that he or she wills to do nothing less than that for God in return. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.