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 (John 3:16).
No doubt, I am a football fanatic. High school, college, pro — I enjoy it all. Maybe you have noticed an interesting sight on many televised games. That sight is “John 3:16” displayed on a poster somewhere in the stadium. Good choice; this verse is the gospel summarized. It is one verse with three nuggets in it.
“For God so loved…” is nugget number one. The love of God is gold to us. Let us draw our attention to Romans 5:7-8 which says, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet preadventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” A lot of information can be gleaned from these two verses.
Notice the cultural significance of the content of these verses. In the Roman culture, a righteous man was a decent man, but he was not that important. Few people would die for him. On the other hand, a good man was decent and somewhat important. He may be considered worthy to die for by a larger number of people. Look now at how far God’s love will go for us.
We were not righteous. We were not good. Despite knowing the sinful things we would do in our lives, God loved us anyway — and still does.
“…that he gave his only begotten Son” is nugget number two. Our Heavenly Father is a giving Father. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” God gave the perfect gift to an imperfect people. Indeed, Jesus is the epitome of perfection. He was the perfect sacrifice and is the perfect Savior.
“… that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” is nugget number three. God has a purpose for everything He does. The purpose of God is evident in this line. He doesn’t want us to perish. He wants us to believe in Jesus and what He has done for us. After all, Jesus is the way to eternal life.
So, the next time you see a “John 3:16” poster on a televised football game, remember the three nuggets contained in this verse. The love of God, the gift of God, and the purpose of God are neatly wrapped up in this verse. Enjoy the football game. Embrace the verse!
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.