John 3:16, without anything substantial to back it up, is the most memorized verses in all the Bible. Psalm 23 being probably the second. It is a wonderful verse that does a good job in summing up our faith. It does give reasons why God did what he did, God so loved the world…have eternal life. It is a tool that can be used for evangelism but the days of “End Zone Evangelism” is over. We cannot hold up a sign with “John 3:16” on it and think we are making a difference in the world. Nor should this verse be used as a hammer to bash people over the head with. We live in a different world now. One that doesn’t even understand what “John 3:16” means let alone how to look it up in the Bible itself.
My senior high Sunday school teacher read us this verse often but he reminded us to keep reading. Jesus’ talk with Nicodemus has other valuable wisdom in it. Verse 17 is almost as important in our evangelism as verse 16. John 3:16 gives us insight in God’s plan and gives us answers to the why question but verse 17 goes on to give us a little deeper detail.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. We live in a world that many followers of Christ condemn one another for this or for that. They quote scripture to remind people of how awful their sins are and how they need to change. Yet if the Son of God came into the world not to bring judgment but to offer salvation, then why do we, his followers, cast so much condemnation instead?
Why are we the first to judge others for their sins? Why can’t we be like the one who saves us? Instead of being ones who bring condemnation why cannot we bring the light into the darkness and let the light do the work?