John 3:16 is a verse that features heavily in Western culture, particularly American culture. You might see it on a placard at a baseball game, written on the face of a football player, even stenciled onto a park bench.
It’s a great verse. And it sits at the very core of the Christian faith. But I’ve always thought it a bit of a shame though that the heavy presence of “John 3:16” means that John 3:17 sometimes misses out.
Here is a message that our hurting world needs to hear…
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)
This verse is also at the very core of the Christian faith. Jesus did not come to condemn us, he came to save us. Confession time… When I was a chorister [*pause for gasps and ridicule*], I remember singing these two verses in a beautiful and powerful piece of music by John Stainer called The Crucifixion. You can listen below (the clip does not feature me by the way!).
As we approach Christmas and reflect once more on God sending his son into the world, I thought it would be good to blog about the Lantern song “Amazing Love”. Like Stainer’s anthem, it draws heavily on John 3:16-17, but utilises guitars, bass and drums a bit more than choristers (noted though… an ex-choirboy does sing on it). It talks about the hope, love and light of Jesus bursting through the darkness of the world. God’s son surrounding us with his glory, to save us through his mercy. It’s a song of worship to a God who came to earth in the form of Jesus to make His hope, love and light available to each one of us.
And after proclaiming the truth of Jesus and why he came into the world, it turns to praise. With a hat-tip to the great hymn writer Charles Wesley and his hymn “And can it be“, the lyrics, “Amazing love, how can it be? Christ our God is alive and we are free” simply sing out words of praise and worship for who He is and what He has done.
So praise God this Christmas… because God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.