One of the most important verses by far in the Bible is in chapter 3, 3:16.
The first time I was ever exposed to John 3:16 was back in the 70’s. There was this crazy guy that would show up at sporting events all over the world, he would strategically place himself where TV cameras would spot him. He always wore a rainbow wig and held a JESUS SAVES or John 3:16 sign (for anyone under the age of 40 Google the name Rollen Stewart). Sadly, as a kid, I would ask what was John 3:16 but all I was told was that it was a Bible verse. I never bothered to look up the verse, not until 3 decades later.
The chapter opens with a Pharisee named Nicodemus who comes to visit Jesus at night. I Love how Nicodemus starts off the conversation by telling Jesus things that he already knows but Jesus knows the heart of Nicodemus and hits Nick with “unless you are born again you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Like Nick, I was confused by what Jesus meant . Nicodemus’ question is silly, but I thought that if I was a good person and did more good than bad that maybe just maybe God would let me into Heaven. Now, if anyone could have made it by works or by the law, it would have been Nicodemus. If anyone could present his righteous credentials before God, it would be Nick.
Thankfully Jesus gives Nicodemus and everyone reading this verse the way to heaven! Can it really be that simple? That if we believe in Him that we will not perish but have eternal life; I will never forget the first time that a believer broke it down for me, how the significance of the sacrifice that Jesus made for me and believing in that sacrifice meant eternal life or eternal death. He said that its like we are in prison being asked whether or not we will accept a pardon. That is the gospel. It is not telling a man that he is on trial. He is already condemned. He is already in prison waiting for execution. But the gospel tells him a pardon is offered to him. The point is will you accept the pardon? The gospel is to save those who are already lost.
And finally probably because of the significance of 3:16 the chapter ends with the selfless dedication of John the Baptist. What I learned was that in verse 34-36 John basically confirms John 3:16. “For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. 36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”
This chapter is so rich I have only scratched the surface! Take the time to really study the words in Chapter 3 you will be blessed over and over again!