Sitting with the Shepherd
John 3:16 NKJV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 6:28-29 NKJV
Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" (29) Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
John 3:16 is perhaps the most frequently quoted verse of scripture in the Bible. So we have to be careful not to just skip over it as something that we already know, and therefore requires no further contemplation. The love of God is all inclusive and deeper than the deepest ocean. Paul prayed that someday his followers would "be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge." (Ephesians 3:18,19)
Our part in the eternal equation known as the Gospel is to simply believe. This will mean becoming so confident in the sufficiency of His love that we will entrust ourselves completely into His care (believe.) Jesus Himself told His followers this directly when they asked Him what they must do.
Why is it that we have to complicate it by immersing ourselves in fleshly efforts to please Him and require others to do likewise? It is true that when we decide to follow Christ we must repent, obey and we must commit. But these acts are accomplished as a result of our faith or genuine belief. It was by faith we were saved and not of works. It is by the same faith that we can surrender and allow Him to live through us unhindered by our efforts. Like Mary the younger sister of Martha, we must simply sit at His feet until we understand that.
Galatians 2:20 NKJV
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 3:2-3 NKJV
This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
Questions for Personal Reflection or Discussion
1. What is your first impulse when someone makes reference to John 3:16?
2. Why is it that we must contemplate God's love rather than take it for granted?
3. How can you better accomplish the work of God that Jesus spoke about?
My Father in heaven, Sovereign God of this universe thank You for Your love that compelled You to send Your Son to redeem my life from imminent destruction, and usher me into the Kingdom of God. For this I am eternally grateful. I confess that too often I presume upon Your love and take it for granted rather than appreciating it for the magnificent force that it is. I confess that I am deceived at times into thinking that I need to work harder rather than believe deeper. Grant me the grace to better comprehend the width and length and depth and height of Your love that I may be filled with it to a greater capacity and that it may overflow into the lives of those around me for Your glory, honor and praise. Amen