Are We Missing The Point?
John 3:16. Everyone knows it, right? This verse is predominantly printed on highway billboards and signs held high in the end zones of football games.
Why? Because John 3:16 gets used pretty much exclusively in the context of “getting people saved.” It’s a part of any gospel presentation worth its salt. It’s been said that these couple of sentences are a summary of the entire Gospel message.
Yet, in context, Jesus wasn’t speaking to a pagan in need of salvation. He was speaking to Nicodemus, deeply religious person who already had a relationship with God. Like Nicodemus, those of us who’ve spent a lot of time on the inside of the church run the risk of hearing Jesus’ words through the filter of what we already know. When we do that, we very likely will miss the powerful things that Jesus is saying to us. (Like this one: “Hey, stop trying to control God!“)
One of those messages that we “already know” about John 3:16 is that this verse concerns end things–judgement, salvation, and who will ultimately make it into heaven. That’s the reason we share this verse with people who aren’t Christian, right?