HOW GOD LOVED THE WORLD Most of us know the Gospel story well. Jesus stepped down from heaven and lived a perfect life… …a life without sin. …he never did anything evil or wrong. …he never wounded people. …never hurt them. In fact, he gave his entire life serving people. Healing, bringing wholeness, and loving them. But also challenging the evil in the world and in religious order itself. He gave his entire life for this. There’s a familiar verse; probably the most famous in the entire world. It’s John 3:16, and reads: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 Often, we think of that phrase, “so loved,” to mean “a lot…” As in, “God loved the world SO MUCH that…” This is certainly true; but it also means much more than this. There is a secret tucked away many of us miss. It primarily means, “in this way…” So we could say, “For God loved the world in this way…” God loved us by sending his only Son to die in our place. He loves us. And not just in poetic phrases that sound nice on Sundays, but in an exceptionally real and raw way. God gave his Son to save people who would murder him. When we say things like, “God loves you!” Did you know we’re actually referring to a love spoken in blood? Jesus’ gruesome death in exchange for our salvation is how the Father loved you and me. So how profound are Paul’s words: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 God loved us in the most sacrificial way possible. Consider Jesus’ death as an example of how intense our love for people should be and answer these questions: Do you love people in action or just with your words? Are you willing to love people in ways that cost you? Do you value human life to the degree God values human life? Where are you out of step with the way God loves us? How can you be a messenger of God’s radical love today? Jesus went to the cross for us, not because we’re such nice people, but because we’re such desperate people. Dear Lord, Thank you for your love for us. I ask that as I help others they see your love. Help me to love as you do. Help me to value life as you do. In Jesus name, Amen.