Let’s see if I have this right: 16 “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
We’ve heard that, seen it displayed in the endzone, blah, blah, blah. But what does it mean? What’s behind it? What’s the big deal? When Christ left, he left in place a huge paradigm shift, a huge shift in what the center was, what life was about. It was no longer about self and honor, it was about others and service. Plain and simple, no other way to interpret it, no other way forward. The flaws of man were explained in the beginning and exposed as contrary to God through Christ. Yes, man has taken that message and screwed it up many, many times, yet the message remains the same and there are many people who continue to get it closer to right than wrong.
He was just beginning too: “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’*
When the friend comes. What a cool, disruptive, intense friend this is too. It’s amazing what happens when you invite Him in. Why in the world would Christ even play out this path? There has to be something behind it, a reason, a purpose, right? Why would it be that “even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”?** Why bother?
We do get stuck in how amazing we are. Yet we’re told to 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and medicine to your bones.*** We often fight the calling, fight the incredible wisdom and discernment that’s available to us. We think we are wise in our own eyes. We think we can do the best all on our own.
Dang it, there’s the reality though that left to our own devices, we’re pretty much adrift in a sea of ugly. For me, my thoughts aren’t pure. Plain and simple. I fight to do what’s right and am grateful that there is something more than me in the battle. I’m searching for it, pleading for it to purify my soul, to correct my stinkin’ thinkin’, to change my paradigm like Christ changed the world.
What happens if we ignore the tools? For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.**** Sad, but true.
Christ changed everything and did it on purpose. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.*****
Unfortunately, like getting busted for doing 20 over, there are consequences to the decisions we make. When everything else in the bible is true, we struggle with this truth: 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:17-21
* John 16:12-15 (MSG)
** Mark 10:45 (ESV
*** Proverbs 3:7-8 (ESV)
**** Matthew 7:14
***** John 3:17