“For God so loved the world…”

 

john316sign

Go to any big sporting event and you’re almost certain to see a sign that reads, “JOHN 3:16”:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

This verse is extremely popular, and for good reason. It is one of the core verses that explains salvation. However, this verse does not explain everything by itself. The surrounding verses explain a lot about John 3:16. Let’s take a look.

John 3:14-15:

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

Wait a minute – what does that mean, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert…” When did Moses lift up a serpent in the desert, and what does that have to do with anything about God giving his only Son for our salvation? Let’s take a look: we can find the answer in the book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Bible, in chapter 21:

Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert…” Imagine being one of the Israelites about to die, but just before closing your eyes for the last time, you look at the serpent and the pain begins to fade away and the healing begins to take place. How grateful you must be! What a miracle! The Lord has healed you through this man Moses! 

“…so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” One of the effects of sin is spiritual death. Sin sentences us to Hell, because Heaven is for the “poor in spirit” and “pure of heart” (See Matthew 5). Yet we need to remember, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” How can we gain eternal life?

LOOK TO THE CROSS AND SEE THE SON OF MAN LIFTED UP!

Crucifixion

The serpent saved the people of Israel from physical death, and Jesus saves his disciples from spiritual death. There’s no question why Jesus was crucified on a hill: people could see him from far away – nothing could hinder their vision of the cross. People couldn’t help but see the Son of God dying so that they might live forever in Heaven. Have you lost hope for yourself and feel as though your life has no meaning? Look to the cross! Do you struggle with this great sin or that? Look to the cross! Do you wonder whether God even loves you? Look to the cross!

But wait, there’s still more to understand!

You see, back in the time of Moses, the people of Israel numbered well over a million people, which means they covered a huge amount of territory. Surely, not everyone could have known to look at the serpent in the desert. Those who were healed had to go out to the edges of their territory and point people in the direction of the serpent. They had to tell people about the Lord’s gift of healing, so that all of the Israelites could be healed!

Today, there are millions of people who do not know the great love of God. Those who have been healed – or better said, those being healed – have to go out into the world and tell people all about John 3:16. Holding up a sign at a big game is a great start, but that can’t be the entire mission. We must go out and ask people whether they know about God’s immense love for each and every person. We must go out and invite people to begin a real relationship with Jesus Christ. We must go out and point people in the direction of the Cross of Jesus Christ!

One who has been healed wants others to be healed, especially if the dying are brothers and sisters. How will you point others to the Cross?

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I can see the love in Your eyes
Laying yourself down
Raising up the broken to life
— “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace),” Hillsong

This song is wonderful. Look at your Savior, who is love itself. Let His love fill you. Then be a bearer of His great love to the world.

Is Holiness Even Possible?

I read about the lives of the greatest saints – Francis of Assisi, Padre Pio, Augustine of Hippo, Mother Teresa, Maximilian Kolbe, Ignatius of Loyola, Thérèse of Lisieux, etc. – and see what great virtue they attained during their lives on Earth. Then I look at my own life and see my lack of virtue. I see my own laziness, pride, bad habits, poor character, lack of integrity, etc.

I’ll NEVER be able to get to the level of heroic virtue attained by the saints. I’ll NEVER be a saint. I’ll ALWAYS be stuck in this pool of sin, NEVER able to crawl out. The darkness will ALWAYS rule my life and I’ll NEVER be able to truly live in the light.

Child of God — STOP!! Realize your dignity!

These absolute words are the words of Satan, who wants you to think heroic virtue is impossible to attain. He wants you to think you will never be holy. Because it is in these very thoughts that virtue becomes impossible to attain and holiness never approached. DO NOT LET HIM WIN! Holiness is possible! Heroic virtue is something we can all attain!

Claim yourself as a child of God in the Name of Jesus Christ, who has already won the victory! Anytime you find yourself hearing these thoughts, simply exclaim:

“I claim myself as a child of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ! In the Name of Jesus Christ, I command you, Satan, to leave me at once! Jesus, come to my aid and win the victory for me! Redeem my life.”

Let the victory of Christ on the Cross be your victory everyday of your life. Flee temptations to sin and cling to the Cross; there – and only there – you will find freedom from Satan.

Cling

HIS GAZES FILLED US WITH PARADISE /// GOOD FRIDAY

HIS GAZES FILLED US WITH PARADISE

Sorrowful Mama, I see You kiss the lifeless eyes of Jesus,
and I feel pierced in seeing that Jesus no longer looks at You.
How many times His Gazes filled You with Paradise,
and made You rise again from death to Life;
and now, not seeing Yourself gazed upon, You feel You are dying!
– Luisa Piccarreta

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