Letter To Our Children

by Pastor Joe | April 18, 2024 | Letters To Our Children


April 18, 2024


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16


Hello friends!


John 3:16 is probably one of the most well-known verses in the Bible. John’s name and numbers pop up in all kinds of places, especially at sporting events. Christians often share John 3:16 with others who have yet to turn to Christ in repentance and faith.


Nonetheless, John 3:16, like every Bible verse, comes out of context and is rightly understood out of that context.




If you read John 3:1-21, the context of John 3:16, the main character is Nicodemus. Nicodemus took the law of God very seriously. He was a member of the Sanhedrin—the highest religious authority in the world at that time. He would have been considered a master teacher of the Old Testament. On the surface, he appeared to do everything right and wanted to do everything right. He would have been a perfect model of moral excellence and religious observance. He would be the high school equivalent of someone who could run the mile in under 5 minutes, was the first chair on drums, had a 4.0 GPA, and was the homecoming King and class president every year!


Why Was He This Way


Nicodemus thought that to be right with God, he had to separate himself from the people of the world. He wanted to be clean; he thought they were dirty. So, he didn’t talk to them, touch them, eat with them, or open his life to them in any meaningful way. Staying away from the world was how Nicodemus understood obedience to God and how to be good. Avoiding the world is how he thought he could please God and earn God’s love, salvation, and blessing—however, Jesus’ words from John 3:16 point in a different direction.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God Loves the World Nicodemus was Trying to Avoid


The point is pretty simple. God loves the world that Nicodemus vigorously tried to separate himself from. Nicodemus did it to earn God's love, earn God's favor, earn God's blessing, and salvation. Isn't that striking?! Nicodemus was working extremely hard to avoid the world when God loved the world and gave His only Son on behalf of the world—Jesus, to pay for the world's sins. Jesus wanted the world rescued, so He gave Himself for it and did not isolate Himself from it.


The gospel is offensive to the self-righteous and a stumbling block for those who are proud or self-confident of how good they are. At the same time, the gospel is received gladly by all those whom God has humbled to know there's nothing they can do but cast themselves on His mercy in the free, gracious gift and righteousness of Jesus Christ alone through His death and resurrection.


May God give us grace to love the world as He did.


Christian, we are so well loved.

Pastor Joe