We’ve all seen them. Those cheesy John 3:16 signs people hold up at games or on the
side of the street. Some athletes write the reference on their shoes. Some fans paint it
on their faces. The John 3:16 signs can be great but I think many times the heart behind
them can be off. When those holding them are questioned or made fun of, they respond
with anger than love. How ironic is this? It almost defeats the whole purpose of the sign.
Although almost all of us know the verse, we need to make sure we know the heart
behind it and that we are not missing the context.
It is actually found in a conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a
Pharisee who wanted to inspect for himself who Jesus was and what he was doing. He
went to him at night, probably because he did not want other Pharisees to see.
Nicodemus immediately declares that he knows Jesus is from the Lord because of the
signs he is performing. Jesus responds with bold statements that make no sense from a
world viewpoint. He tells Nicodemus that he must be born again to go to heaven.
Naturally, Nicodemus questions that because, if you’re thinking physically, that is weird.
As Jesus answers, Nicodemus continues to question and eventually, he shares with
Nicodemus, the following message:
“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of
Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be
lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
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. 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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness
instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light
and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever
lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have
done has been done in the sight of God.”
Nicodemus got to be on the receiving end of a statement filled with the intensity of
God’s love in the fact that he was willing to give his beloved son for sinful men. We also
see that those who believe in him no longer stand condemned; they are living in the
light. Those who do not, are living in darkness.
Those who are doing evil, do not want to come into the light because they don’t want
anyone to know what they are doing. This may be why some people can be so mean
toward those living in the light. That is why they may respond in anger when you share
the gospel. But God so loved the world that ANYONE who believes in him may receive
everlasting life. That is why, regardless, we are called to shine our light. That way those
living in darkness can come into the light and no longer be condemned.
Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be
hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its
stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine
before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Living in the light means shining it even though we may receive hate. It means being
light to those in darkness. And we do this by being in the world and by living in godly
character. Living by the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, gentleness, and self-control. We live in the light by interacting with the world;
knowing we’re not responsible for others' actions but we are responsible to bring the
good news. For God SO loved the world, that ANYONE who believes in him may
receive eternal life.