The Way God Loves the World

by Jack Moraine

John 3:16-18 (NET) 
16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
God loves the world. What a statement this is! This verse is so familiar to many of our ears that when we hear these words they hardly register in any significant way in our hearts. We hardly pause to think about what this really means. If God really loves the world then this has tremendous implications for each of us individually, and for the church as a whole.

The reason for the manger –why Jesus was born -- and the reason for the cross – why He died – can be summed up in this one phrase, “For God so loved the world.”

What is absolutely astounding is that:
Of all the ways God could have loved the world, He chose the manger and He chose the cross.

He chose the incarnation. He came Himself personally.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God became one of us. He wasn’t born in a palace; He was born in a stable.  He wasn’t raised as royalty.  He was raised as a Jewish peasant in a town of little consequence and no reputation.

He didn’t come to condemn but to save (v.18).

It would have been easy for Jesus to be a “holier than thou” type of guy – because, after all, He was holier than all of us.  It would have been easy to stand aloof from the rest of humanity, to set himself apart and above it all.  But that’s not the Jesus of history.  That’s not the Jesus of the Bible.

A few years ago, I watched a special on television about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – thought by some to be the birthplace of Christ.  Do you know what human beings have done to that place?  We didn’t preserve the stable – instead, we built an opulent church, complete with gold inlays.  Could it be that we’re uncomfortable with the manger?

The message of the manger is that Jesus has come to be with us in the real world.  He’s come as Immanuel – God with us – in the broken, fallen, sinful world in which we live.  He’s come to be God with us in our pain, in our suffering, in our alienation and in our addictions.  This is how God has chosen to love the world. Listen to Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of John 3:17.

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.  He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3:17 (The Message)

The message of Christmas is that God has drawn near. God is with us. God loves the world.

And God drawing near is not just something that happened in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago.  It’s something that is happening here and now, today.  God is drawing near to you this advent season.  Jesus is still being born in the hearts of men and women who put their faith and trust in Him.

May your heart be full this Christmas as you receive Jesus, the gift of the Father’s love, for you.


  • Still your mind. Focus on the manger and the cross and pray this simple prayer, “Jesus, I receive your love for me.”
  • Then wait in stillness as you receive God’s love for your life. Pay attention to anything you feel the Lord speaking to you or showing you during this time.