John 3-4
(For God So Loved the World)
November 2nd

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Jesus said, "You're absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it's not possible to see what I'm pointing to-to God's kingdom."ť

- John 3:3 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

In these chapters John records examples of Jesus teaching with particular focus on two encounters with two very different individuals. The first encounter was with Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees. Jesus explained to him the concept of being born again, which Nicodemus tried to understand in physical terms and became somewhat flustered. In his elaboration on this point, Jesus included a statement that had become one of the most well-known Bible verses:

    "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 (NIV)

The following verses help to further explain this statement:

    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    - John 3:17-18 (NIV)

The second encounter was with a Samaritan woman at a well. Jesus asks her for a drink and then ends up explaining that he can give her water that will never leave her thirsty. Jesus revealed himself by telling the woman about herself. Because of this event, this woman and many Samaritans became believers.

Reflection and Application

This is an interesting contrast between Nicodemus, an expert in the law, and the Samaritan woman. It did not seem as if Nicodemus was buying into Jesus story, but given his training, he should have been among the first to recognize the Christ.

The woman, on the other hand, presumably had little or no training in the Jewish law and the word of the Prophets, as she was a Gentile. Yet, she understood and believed and became an evangelist. Maybe our education can be a stumbling block to our understanding. Not that we shouldn’t seek to read and understand the Bible and other topics, but we should be careful to not form too many preconceived notions regarding our understanding.

The single verse in John 3:16 is worth extended study. In fact, Max Lucado wrote a book with this title for just that purpose.

There used to be a person, or groups of different people who would hold up a sign with this verse at football games in the U.S. This person would sit behind the goalposts and hold up a large sign with John 3:16 written on it every time there was a kicking attempt. This way, his sign was on camera for a national audience, and helped create greater awareness of this verse. I remember seeing this as a teenager and going to the Bible out of curiosity to see what this verse said.

If I had to reduce the entire Bible down to a Twitter sized statement, I might just quote this verse, because it captures the whole message. Here is the same verse and following verses in different translations:

    "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him."

    - John 3:16-18 (MSG)

    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.

    For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    - John 3:16-18 (KJV)

    "Kwa maana Mungu aliupenda ulimwengu kiasi cha kumtoa Mwanae pekee, ili kila mtu amwaminiye asipotee, bali awe na uzima wa milele. Maana Mungu hakumtuma Mwanae kuuhukumu ulimwengu bali auokoe ulimwengu. Amwaminiye yeye hahukumiwi; asiyeamini amekwisha kuhukumiwa; kwa sababu hakumwamini Mwana pekee wa Mungu."

    - John 3:16-18 (Swahili New Testament)

God loves the whole world. Not just Jews or Gentiles. Not just the righteous. Everyone. He loves us so much that he sent his only son, so that we can believe in him and be saved. The rest of the Bible is the backdrop for this statement.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What experiences have you had seeing (or delivering) the birth of a child or an animal?
    2. How would you explain to a friend the concept of Born Again?
    3. How would you explain 3:16 to a friend?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, thank you for giving us your Son for us. Help us to accept his sacrifice for us.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Those seeking to be born again

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: (The Words of Eternal Life)

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