In Max Lucado’s 3:16, at one point he recommends that the reader substitute his or her name for “the world” in John 3:16, “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.”
It’s a great feeling to know that Jesus Christ died and rose to save me from my sins.
But did He really die and rise again to save me?
I once heard a saying, or it might have been on a greeting card or some such thing, that even if I was the only sinner in the world, Jesus still would have died to save me from my sins.
Ok, I understand the sentiment. God loves on intimate levels, as St. Paul uses the illustration of marriage to show Christ’s love for the Church.
But on this Easter Sunday I would like to bring our attention to something that is said quite a bit in the New Testament.
Christ died for all. Christ died for a lot of people. Christ died for a group, a multitude, a plurality.
Consider these quotations from the New Testament (English Standard Version):
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
I emphasized the plural words that illustrate what I’m saying.
My point is that in an individualistic society, it is not always helpful to emphasize the love of God
for an individual to the exclusion of God’s pluralistic love for all the world.
Let me put that another way. The Church of Christ is not made up of one person. It is not about individuals. It is about a community of believers.
God so love the world. (John 3:16)
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
He came not to judge the world but to save the world. (John 12:47)
This is why I emphasize the family aspect of church. This is what I love about my church. It is a family.
A family that Jesus Christ died and rose for.
Yes, Jesus died and rose for me. But Jesus also died and rose for you, and your neighbor, and the people you work with, play with, commute with.
Jesus died and rose for the world. And He offers the precious gift of eternal life to all.
©2009 True Men Ministries