Most of the Christian world has memorized this verse. I have asked many about it and it seems they focus on one part while missing the other important parts. I believe that many miss the most important part of the verse. If you want to see why I believe that the verse is NOT about Jesus, read on!
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”Holman Christian standard version. (2009).
Notice that in this version, as in many other versions, Jesus is not mentioned by name? Yes, He is the sacrifice mentioned. Certainly, He is a very big part of this verse.
However, this is not about the sheep being slaughtered. The sacrifice is not even mentioned!
Here’s another version:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”English Standard Version. (2016).
What about the first government-authorized English Bible. How does it read?
“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.”King James Version.
So, we see that it’s not the “new” bibles that leave Jesus’s name out, it’s even the (almost) oldest English version of the Bible!
What is Important Here?
I think there are three things here that are most important, and people who focus on Jesus at the cross miss those points. This error allows them to become arrogant toward non-Christians, which is a very un-Christian attitude!
First: It’s about God’s love for the whole world. Not just Christians, not just those who read the Bible in English, but the WHOLE WORLD! Yes, that includes God’s love for every person throughout History and those in the future. He loves them ALL.
That also includes every Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Shinto, Tao, Jainist, Jew, New Age, Athiest and whomever I have not listed. That may be uncomfortable for you the reader, but the phrase “whole world” can mean no less.
Second: It’s about God’s “giving”. Note that God gave us something (actually, someone) here. God loved all the people listed above, AND he gave all of those people a gift. Shall I list them again? God gave all those people a gift! Think about that! Pray about that!
Third: One needs to believe in the Son. Not that He existed, note that scripture tells us even the demons believed Jesus existed and believed that Jesus was the Son of God, yet they were NOT redeemed by Jesus! So, believing He existed is NOT good enough. Believing that He is the Son of God and even God is NOT enough!
So, what do we need to believe?
In my time with God, He has shown me that we need to believe “in” Jesus, meaning we need to believe in what Jesus “did” for the whole world. (Not just for me, but for 100% of the human population over time). What did He do? He made me clean in God’s eyes, as Jesus paid the penalty for every mistake, every flaw, every sin I have ever committed or will commit!
Not only did He pay for all that, He tore down the Veil that has been between God and us so that we can sit down with God and share moments of time together! I am not God’s equal, and never will be. However, He and I can (and do) chat a lot. I have learned that His sense of humor is far better than mine, and He comes up with witty replies to what I say faster than I thought anyone could.
I am not clean in my eyes, nor in Satan’s. However, God sees me as the man I will become, not as who I happen to be in this moment. It’s like a coach looking at one of his/her athletes and seeing their potential when they look at them!
I believe, that Jesus made me clean in God’s eyes, and that I am free to be in a relationship with God. No sacrifice on my part is needed, no further price is expected. The payment for my soul is “paid in full”.
How about you?
Please comment and/or respond to what you heard inside of you as you read this! Let’s share!