Did you just complete the sentence?
If you grew up in the church, you probably did. You probably had to memorize, or have at least heard it often enough to remember most of it.
For those who didn’t, this is the start of the famous verse on those signs you see at sporting events.
It’s John 3:16,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
We twist this verse all around a lot of the time. Taking it out of context, making it fit our needs. Treating it as a cute little quote from Jesus.
But it should slap us in the face.
Nicodemus (a Jewish leader, a Pharisee) has come to Jesus to understand who he is. To ask some questions.
Jesus references some obscure messianic texts, which won’t make sense for another almost 3 years, then breaks into this famous verse.
Excellent! Yay! What does he love?
“God loves the world”
Wonderful! What great news! Is there a catch?
No… God loves the whole world. He loves the world that has rejected Him, run away from Him, forgotten Him, ignored Him, left Him, hated Him… He even loves the world that kills Him. Every inch of this world, every person, every thing, every cell He created He loves.
He loves it so much He sent His only Son to show us how to come back to Him.
Later in the chapter Jesus says this,
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.
We like the dark. We can hide stuff in the dark where no one can find it buried in the deep dark recesses of our closets. Stuff we’re ashamed of. Stuff we’re afraid of. Stuff we cannot let go of.
But Jesus comes to bring light. To expose the things we hide, to bring it out into the open so we can deal with it and become better people. But greater than that, the light helps us see who we are as children of God, loved and welcome to join with Him.
God loves YOU.
Jesus came to make this known by showing us our faults and showing us God loves us anyway, despite them and to help us get over them.