16God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. 17God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
At first thought, I am back in Sunday School reading and memorizing this scripture –at least the first verse, anyway. My version was actually from the King James Version…. “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.” Maybe you recall memorizing this too. In my mind’s eye, I remember the room and the teacher. I was perhaps about eleven.
At about that same time, one day, a friend and I went to an after school Bible Study. I don’t recall much of what was said, except that a nice lady was talking about Jesus and asked if we knew we were saved. Later, I just felt a little uncomfortable when the question came back around about my personal relationship with Christ. Perhaps it isn’t so much of the words that are familiar, but the feeling. Back then, it was the surprising feeling of being singled out for my questions. Today, it is the feeling of a pleasant surprise –the unbelievable knowledge that God loves me enough to offer me salvation.
John 3:16 is seen on billboards and tee shirts. It’s known all over the world. Arguably it is the most well-known scripture in the world, perhaps because it so profoundly sums up the message of the gospel.
When you think about it, it’s the astounding message of this simple verse that is most surprising. God’s love was (and is) so great that God would give up the earthly life of God’s son, Jesus, for our sake. God did this knowing that the world would hurt Jesus, kill Him and then argue over his existence for millennia.
The Brits have a word, “Gobsmacked,” which means “overwhelmed with wonder.” It isn’t just that it happened, it is that God would choose to save the world rather than judge us harshly. God chose to save us, rather than God’s self. I find it amazing, that God chose to come alive to be with us and to save us all. To this, I can still only say, that’s surprising and amazing. Because of this, I am overwhelmed with the wonder of God. I am Gobsmacked.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
How does the wonder of God surprise and amaze you? How can you take this wonder to share God’s love with those who don’t have a relationship with our Lord.
God of Wonder, Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus into the world. Thank you for all the ways that you astound and amaze me. Thank you for my life. Amen.