Probably the most well-known and most beloved in the Bible, the Lord has used John 3:16 to win many precious souls to Himself.  He has used it to encourage and comfort believers.  Many people commit this verse to memory and think of it, or recite it, on different occasions.

It was to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews that the Lord spoke these precious words.  The Lord taught Nicodemus that men are spiritually dead because of their sins.  He read in John 3:3, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  It would take a new birth, or being born from above to give eternal life to sinful man.

The Lord went on to say in verses 14-15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  In this statement, the Lord speaks of His necessary death for the salvation of man.  He alludes to an incident that occurred in Numbers 24:1-9.  The people of God were murmuring against Him and against Moses.  The Lord sent fiery serpents to bite the people.  Numbers 21:6 tells us that the serpents “…bit the people; and much people of Israel died.”  Upon their repentance, the Lord offered a way of salvation from the bite of these serpents.  Verse 9 says, “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”  The Lord was showing Nicodemus that this incident was a type of His own death to save sinful mankind.  By being lifted up on a cross, the Lord would provide salvation to all who believe on Him.  We read in John 12:32-33 where the Lord said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

Let’s now read the words of the Lord in John 3:16.  That says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

  • There are 25 words in this verse.
  • The first 12 words speak of the Lord, His love, and His gift.
  • The last 12 words speak of the blessing of eternal life to any and all who believe in the Lord.
  • The middle word is “SON.”  That’s very appropriate because Christ is the center of all.

The fact that the Lord loves the world so greatly does not mean that the Lord approves of the actions of the world.  He does not!  However, regardless of the sinfulness of man, the Lord still loves the world.  In fact, He loves the world so much that He GAVE His only begotten Son.  Notice that God GAVE His Son.  The Son would have to exist for the Lord to give Him.  This is another proof of the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus before He was born into the world.

Whosoever” – What an incredible word!  It shows that salvation is offered to all.

Believeth” – All that is require of man is that he ‘believe’ or ‘trust.’  No work can be done and no work will be acceptable unto God.  Only the finished work of His Son on the cross will satisfy God’s righteous demands for the salvation of a soul.

Him” – There is no other means of salvation except through faith in the very Son of God.  The Lord Jesus said in John 14:6, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Should not perish” – It is not the will of God that any perish in their sins and face His judgment.  2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Eternal life” – What an incredible word!  To live forever in the presence of the Lord is almost too good to be true.  If the Word of God didn’t say it so clearly, we might doubt it, but here it is.  God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins, so that through faith in Him we can immediately have eternal life!

My friend, have you considered the value and preciousness of John 3:16?  Have you accepted this free gift of eternal life by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior?  If not, I encourage you, I URGE you to bow your knee to Him today, own Him as savior and Lord, and you will become a child of God and will live with Him and all the redeemed FOREVER!  Romans 10:9-10 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  (188.4)