The Most Shareable Verse?
Read John 3:16-17 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 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.”
Why do you think John 3:16 is one of the most popular verses in Scripture?
There is a series of videos on TikTok when a guy goes around a store telling people that he’ll give them $50 if they can quote any Bible verse. In one of these videos, a couple racked their brains but couldn’t come up with one. The lady knew John 3:16 is a Bible verse but she didn’t actually know what John 3:16 says! That’s the thing with John 3:16, though. It has become so widely known that many people who aren’t even Christians or don’t know the Bible very well are aware of it. Even if they can’t quote it.
Why is this particular verse so well-known? I think it’s so popular because it is such a succinct presentation of the Gospel. It summarizes the key points of the Gospel in a way that’s easy to memorize and share with others.
The first person to ever share John 3:16 with someone was Jesus Himself! Of course, it wasn’t known as John 3:16 at that point. It was just Jesus continuing to explain the Gospel to Nicodemus. First, He explained why He came—because God so loved the world. God didn’t just love His chosen people, the Jews, He loved the entire world. He wanted everyone to be reconciled to God and be saved (2 Peter 3:9). So, God gave us His Son, Jesus. When Jesus said this, it reinforced His deity. Then, Jesus explained that in order to receive eternal life, we have to put our faith in Him, God’s Only Son.
Verse 17 isn’t as well-known as verse 16 but it is equally important. Jesus clarified that God didn’t send Him into the world to condemn the world. Condemn means to declare someone guilty and sentence them to punishment. Now, that might seem like a strange thing for Jesus to say because we know that people who reject Christ will be punished. So what did Jesus mean?
Jesus didn’t have to come into the world to condemn it—it was condemned already. Mankind fell back in the very beginning (Genesis 3) and we have been sentenced to death and have been slaves to sin ever since. So Jesus’ purpose in coming wasn’t to condemn it but to save it. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
If we believe in God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, we are no longer condemned so we will not perish but have everlasting life! What a gift! No wonder this verse is a favorite of so many. If you haven’t committed this gem to memory yet, I highly encourage you to do so because it is such a simple, yet profound truth and such a comforting promise. Plus, it’s a great verse to have tucked in your back pocket because you never know when God will give you the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone else. Be ready!
God, thank You for sending Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us from the sin that enslaves us. Thank You for the hope and comfort I have knowing that because I trust in You, I will not perish but have everlasting life. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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