16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17 NIV)
John tells us that “God so loved the world…” Later in John’s life he wrote that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) There is a continuous theme that runs throughout the Hebrew Bible and into the New Testament and that is God’s love. There is a beautiful word in the Hebrew Bible, what we Christians call the Old Testament, that is used some 248 times to speak of God’s unique love. The word is “chesed.” It is translated into English as “mercy, lovingkindness, love, and goodness.” I love Psalm 136:1 and Lamentations 3:22-23.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 NIV)
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)
In the New Testament, like here in John’s Gospel, we are told that God has loved, and continues to love us with a special kind of love…”agape love.” It is a love without condition, a love with no strings attached. God loves you and me, not because we have done good, look good, or are good, but because He has chosen to love us.
Jesus came into the world to move this special kind of love out of the realm of the theoretical into the practical. As Jesus loved those that others didn’t, the world witnessed God’s love in action. As Jesus loved those who didn’t deserve love, the world witnessed God’s love in action. Today God continues to love us all. Remember? Jesus didn’t come to condemn, but to save the world. If you are reading this then you need to know that God loves you and He has blessed you. He’s given you eyes to see, a mind capable of reading, and an opportunity to thank Him for His love demonstrated through the life, death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus.
My prayer today, Lord, is that I will draw my significance, my peace, and my purpose today from the fact that You have chosen to love me.