DECEMBER 3

For God So Loved

Bible Reading: John 3

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.”

She had been on hospice care for many months before I started in my job as hospice chaplain.  Her life had not been easy, and it was said that she was a little “round around the edges.”  But our hospice team had cared for her with tender-hearted compassion, taking great care of both her and her caregiver.  The kindness they showed worked to open a door…

Not being a spiritually minded person, she had never wanted a visit by the chaplain, although she was growing increasingly aware of the nearness of her death.  My co-worker nurse made a deal with her.  What if the new chaplain were to come with me to visit?  If you don’t like him, you won’t have to see him anymore.  She agreed. And afterwards agreed that I could keep on coming.

I soon found out that she had never attended church and she had never read the Bible.  She had no idea what God was like and didn’t understand the differences between all the various religions.  I began conversing with her about such things—God, creation, sin, Jesus, salvation, and heaven—and found a Bible for her.  A large print Bible wasn’t big enough, so I found a giant print version.  I directed her to the gospel of John and challenged her to answer to questions as she read: 1) Who is Jesus? And 2) What does he want you to do?  I was pleasantly surprised later to hear of how she had read through the gospel account and then kept on reading through the Book of Acts! 

Week after week, I visited her, inviting her to trust in Jesus that she might be saved and assured of a home in heaven.  Her health continued to decline and her pain level more difficult to manage.  It was not too many weeks before she died that she prayed, expressing her faith in Jesus as her Savior!  At that moment, according to the promise of God, she “passed from death to life” (John 5:24)!

According to the Bible Gateway website, John 3:16 is the most searched for of all Bible verses.  No verse is more memorized or more cited or more quoted.  It’s simple enough for a child to understand yet profound enough to engage a well-studied theologian.  At its heart, it speaks of the love of God for lost sinners, a love so great that it worked to bring Jesus to this sin-cursed world.  A love so great that it put Him on a cross, to pay the penalty for sins not His own.  All this working to rescue us from perishing in a “punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9)!

Praise God for the truth of this amazing verse!  This world is not very lovable.  You yourself were “alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21).  You were doomed.  But there is a God, and He so loved you that He gave His Son to rescue you from hell and deliver you one day to heaven!  Praise Him for it! Thank God for such a wonderful gift! Find a way to share this wonderful verse with someone!

HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Songwriters: Stuart Townend
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group, Capitol CMG Publishing

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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