"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
(John 3:16-17, ESV)
It has been said that John 3:16 tells more about God and His plan for the world than any other verse in the Bible. God gave the most extravagant thing He could to demonstrate His love for sinful man. God's love was so great that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus, who willingly went to the cross to die for our sins (Matt. 26:39, Jn. 10:17-18, Heb. 10:5-7). In Hebrews 10:5-7, the author quotes from Psalm 40, a Messianic Psalm David had written one thousand years earlier. Christ's death fulfilled God's plan. The Old Testament sacrifices could not offer complete cleansing from sin. They could only create a consciousness of sins, making them aware of their transgressions. The picture of what was to come reminded the Old Testament worshipers of the longing and need for a permanent solution for sin. So, Jesus became a sacrificial lamb that takes away the sin of the world. There was no other way for sinful man to be saved (Rom. 5:8-10, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Jn. 4:9-10).
John MacArthur states, "The Son's mission was bound up in the supreme love of God for the evil, sinful word of humanity that is in rebellion against Him. The word "so" emphasizes the intensity or greatness of His love. The Father gave His unique and beloved Son to die on behalf of sinful man. And in response to God's love, those who believe are not condemned but are promised eternal life (eternal life refers not only to the quantity but divine quality). The word "believe" means more than a mere intellectual assent to claims of the gospel. It includes trust and commitment to Christ as Lord and Savior and results in a new nature that produces a change of heart and obedience to the Lord."
As Martin Luther once said, "A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing is worth nothing." Jesus gave His life. He sacrificed everything. The chorus of an old hymn says it best:
"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow."
The question we need to ask ourselves is: Have I accepted this wonderful gift? If so, let us live or lives in thankfulness for the gift of salvation, the greatest of all gifts. May we walk in the truth of God's Word and may we answer the call of discipleship for Jesus Christ and commit ourselves to be a bold witness for Him.