For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Hello everyone, I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is our most precious gift, given by our Father above, and the focus of our verse this week: John 3:16.
This passage, which is part of a conversation between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus (a member of the Jewish ruling council), beautifully and succinctly explains the extent of God’s love for us and Jesus’ purpose for coming into the world.
While we were created in the image of God, our sin has separated us from Him through our rebellion and rejection of His goodness in favor of our selfish desires. The consequence for this behavior is death and eternal separation from God. But God, in his love, gave us a gift of restoration through the sacrifice of his Son.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Jesus lived a perfect life and died a sinners death so that we may live eternally in the presence of God. He paid our debt and conquered death so that we, whoever believes in Him, may live!
As we move into 2021, the whole world has changed in a year. Our priorities have changed, the way we interact with others has changed, and how we love others has been redefined. As Christians, our job – the Great Commission – still stands. I’d argue that our job should feel more important than ever. The entire world is reacting to a fear of sickness and death – while we hold the key to eternal life. We are called to share that message of hope, which is available to everyone who believes.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This life on earth is short. As the days slip away, each bringing its own challenges and worries, we can trust that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. As such, we shouldn’t worry about viruses, sickness, or death; rather we trust in His authority and respond by asking God how He would have us bring healing to the world. Jesus modeled this by loving the poor and marginalized, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, teaching about the Kingdom of God, and many other ways before his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. To “go and make disciples” demands both action and words, in a posture of Love.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
God has placed you on this earth in a specific place and time for a specific purpose. A purpose not fully understood this side of the grave but I sure do find joy in living for Christ and trusting Him. I can cast all my anxieties on Him because he cares for me! This gives me strength that surpasses understanding during this time of uncertainty that we are all experiencing.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
What does it mean to “believe”? If I am hungry and believe that food will nourish my hunger, I eat. When I am tired and believe that rest will revive me, I sleep. When I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, I respond by placing my trust in Christ and living for Him rather than myself, which is corrupted by sin.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
My prayer this week is that you may be empowered through the Word of God to speak boldly of the truth found in Jesus. That your fears and anxiety are laid at the cross as you trust in Him. That this trust will give you strength and perseverance to overcome the many hurdles and uncertainties that you are sure to encounter as you carry out the good works that God has planned for you in this new year: 2021!
May this Christmas gift be a blessing to you as you anticipate the plans God has in store for you. May if overflow into the world around you through the proclamation of His wonderful promise of eternal life!
In Christ’s Strength Alone,