16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NASB)
This single verse of scripture is possibly the single best known verse by everyone, everywhere, ever. I’d bet you and or you Sunday school class can recite it by heart in one form or another. Even if you can’t recite it from heart you know the gist of the scripture I bet. So, what is the general idea of the scripture, John 3:16? Most people probably would say, “God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for my sins so I can have eternal life through salvation” or something like that. Well, you get partial credit but you’re not entirely right.
Reread the scripture again. God didn’t just love you so much that he sent Jesus to die just for your sins. God so loved the world. Yes, the entire world, so everyone right? Nope, still only partial credit, but now about 75% rather than just 50%.
The Greek word for World is Kosmos (for more on Kosmos see the Greek Word of the Day HERE). Kosmos carries with it a much, much broader meaning than just the Earth. When the Greek’s said Kosmos they had a flavor of all creation, the entire universe, the totality of all that God made and pronounced good. It also means the totality of all mankind, all humans, as well. Everyone. God loved everyone enough to allow his only begotten son to die for them so that they might be able to come to him.
By the way, everyone means you too. It means the person you stood in line behind at the grocery store the other day, it means the rude guy in the coffee shop, it means the waitress who wouldn’t refill your drinks, it means the guy who cut you off in traffic, and all those people some Christians want to exclude from the ‘club’. The World is Kosmos which means every soul in every place, ever.
The good news is that no one on earth controls who does or doesn’t get in to Heaven. No matter what someone on the television might say they don’t have the ability to decide if you or I do or don’t go to Heaven. That task has been given to Jesus by God. It is for him to decide who gets in, not mine or anyone else’s. So, the next time someone has offended you just remember that Jesus died for them just as much as he died for you. But also remember the next time you do something wrong that Jesus died for you too because he loves you and thinks You Are Worthy.
Questions for Reflection
- Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Jesus has been assigned to judge all of mankind after they die? Why do you feel that way?
- If it is the intention of God that Jesus’ sacrifice be available for everyone why do you think some people say others are going to Hell? Is this something you and I can prevent, someone going to Hell? Why or why not?
- If God stated he sacrificed his son for the world, the Kosmos, what should we be willing to do to support God’s intentions here?