Read: John 3
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT)
John 3:16—it’s the whole Bible in just one verse. The verse is so simple that any child can memorize it, yet it is so infinitely profound and irresistibly powerful that it can totally, radically transform your life. That’s right, this verse is not just an amazing statement about God’s universal love for all mankind, it is about God’s personal love for you!
God so loved the world, but he didn’t just look at it as one big mass of nameless faces. When he looked at the world and loved it, he was looking at you. Max Lucado, who wrote an entire book just on John 3:16, said,
“If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.”
God has a crazy love for you! He really does. St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, one of the most influential figures in church history, said: “God loves each and every one of us as if there were only one of us.” Think about that: If you were the only person on this planet, God would have loved you so much that he still would have given Jesus to die for your sins. There would still be John 3:16 if you were the sole human ever created.
One of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning, told the story of an Irish priest on a walking tour of his rural parish, and he happened upon an old peasant man kneeling by the roadside, praying. The priest was impressed: “You must be very close to God.”
The peasant looked up from his prayers, thought for a moment, and smiled, “Yes, he’s very fond of me.” This simple man had a profound sense that he was loved by God, and that was all that mattered! From that story, Manning developed a personal declaration: “I am the one Jesus loves.”
That is in no way arrogant; it is actually quite Biblical. The Apostle John identified himself throughout his Gospel as “the one Jesus loved.” That came to be John’s primary identity in life. If you were to ask John, “Tell me about yourself,” he wouldn’t have said, ‘Well, I’m a disciple, an apostle, and the author of this incredible Gospel.” Rather, John would have simply said, “I’m the one Jesus loves.”
Now if John could think of himself that way, so can you. John 3:6 gives you permission. So I hope you’ll practice remembering that this today: “You are the one Jesus loves!”
“We have a share in the special love of Jesus. We see evidences of that love…in the precious blood that He so freely shed for us…Behold how He loves us!” ~Charles Spurgeon
What If God Took Over?
Do you ever wonder if God really does love you? I do. The cross is a continual reminder for you and me that when he stretched out his arms so his hands could be nailed to that wooden crossbeam, it was as if he were saying, “I love you this much!” Then he bowed His head, and died. And there is nothing today that can separate you from that love. Let the power of God’s love absolutely, profoundly change your life today—you are the one Jesus loves!