2023 Advent Devotional - John 3:16-17 (Day 29)

The Gift of Love
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

I don’t know about you, but John 3:16-17 has never been on my “list” of Christmas-centric verses in the Bible!  When I think of verses that are “Christmas specific”, I always go to Luke 2, or maybe one of the prophets.  But this Advent, our theme is “The Greatest Gift”.  I mean, we give “gifts” based on the idea that God gave us Jesus.  So, when we were putting this all together, John 3:16 came to mind.

“For God so loved the world that He GAVE…”

There it is!  And there are several thoughts about this.  

First of all, God, is a “giver”.  Is that how you think of Him?  One Who gives gifts?  Many people don’t think of God this way.  Maybe they think He’s a taker.  Or a demander.  Or someone who isn’t interested in OUR good.  But here we see that God is a giver of the GREATEST gift!  Second, “God is love”.  His Nature, His Character is love!  Now, there’s a LOT we could say about that as well.  And many don’t believe that God IS love and that He desires to give it to them.  Plus, the world, the flesh and the devil has redefined love to mean something other than how God defines love.  The “love” fallen mankind defines is self-seeking and self-centered.  God’s love is very, very different!  

Third, God is LAVISH in His giving!  He is GENEROUS!  The “Gift” He gave was COSTLY!  He gave His Son, Who Gave His life, so that YOU could receive YOURS!  So, God gave up everything so you could have everything!  

Now, you’ll notice that I’ve included verse 17 in our text for today.  Notice what it says:

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

So, that means, first, God’s motive wasn’t “condemnation” but “salvation”!  How do we see that expressed in the Gift of Jesus?  Well, God IS a God of justice!  And that’s a VERY good thing!  Sin, requires justice.  Sin is NOT what “should be”.  And justice seeks to right that wrong.  Jesus, took on Himself the justice OUR sin deserves so that we wouldn’t get “justice” but “salvation”.  We would experience life and restoration and reconciliation.  These are all benefits of the Gift of Jesus.

Now…how do you respond to such a gift?  

First of all, receive it!  

Second of all, thank Him for it.  

Third, allow His gift of love and grace and mercy and reconciliation and life and truth and peace and joy and hope and provision and direction and meaning and purpose bring YOU to love Him back!  

His gift is transformational!  It changes our heart and mind and our actions.  It changes the way we see ourselves and others.  It enables us to love, not like the world or our fallen flesh defines love.  It enables and empowers us to love like Jesus; sacrificially and generously.  And we don’t do it because we feel obligated or we “have to”.  “We love, because He first loved us” - 1 John 4:19. And THAT is how HIS gift is shared!  The beautiful thing about THIS gift, is you don’t have to wait until Christmas to share it!  Each day is an opportunity to share God’s greatest Gift with those around you.  So, who will YOU share God’s love with today?  Who will YOU share Jesus with?  

Heavenly Father, help me share Your Gift of Jesus with someone today!  In Jesus Name!  Amen.
 - By Pastor Tim
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