Daily Devotion 19 January 2021
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021: John 3:16
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life’.
What should you tell your child when she asks you on the way home from church, “Mummy, what did God stand on when he was making the world?” A Sunday School session about the creation had obviously raised a lot of questions and I wasn’t sure how to answer my three year old. But I do believe that it was because of God’s love that the world was created and his love has been there for the whole of his creation ever since.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life”. This is one of the best known and loved verses in the Bible. Martin Luther called it the ‘miniature gospel’. Others have called it the ‘gospel in a nutshell’.
It tells us Jesus’ whole purpose in just a few short words. “For God so loved the world” – not particular bits of the world, not special sections of society, the whole world. Whatever colour, gender, class or creed; heathen as well as believers; the good, the bad, the rich, the poor, whether we are young or old, sick or healthy, angry or joyful, kind or cruel, God loves us all. He loves those who love him, and he loves those who hate Him. That’s all enormously important. It means we don’t have to earn God’s love. Whoever we are and whatever we do, he already loves us, and there’s absolutely nothing we could do that would change His love. It’s so amazing to know that God still loves us even when we make serious mistakes, and that his forgiveness is always there when we ask for it sincerely. People often say that God loves the sinner, while hating the sin, and I’m sure that’s true. Of course we’re all sinners, we sin far more often, I think, than we realise, and the weight of our own sin is a burden we all carry. God knew our burden of sin was so heavy that we needed someone to bear it for us and he knew that his Son Jesus was the only one who could do that: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son”
When we believe in Jesus, when we believe that he died to save us from our sin, we experience the joy of freedom from that burden. And with that freedom comes the promise of eternal life and a foretaste of that life here and now. If we don’t accept that Jesus died to take away our sin, we have to continue to carry it ourselves. So those who fail to believe in Jesus can’t experience the joy which comes when the weight of sin is lifted, a gift God longs to give us. All we have to do is believe in Jesus.
We thank you, O Lord, for all those good things which are in our world and in our
lives through your great love and mercy.
Save us from being ungrateful.
Save us from magnifying our troubles
and forgetting our blessings.
Give us strength of spirit
and joyfulness of heart, we pray;
and by your help may we learn
to trust in your promises and goodness,
incarnate in Jesus, and to know that in the end, love must conquer all.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
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