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Known as the “Golden Text”, John 3:16, is probably the most recognized reference in Scripture. While many may not know exactly what it says, the reference has appeared all over TV, sporting events, commercials, and even on the bottom of In-NOut Burger cups and Forever 21 shopping bags. Tim Tebow, a famous Christian NFL quarterback, graduated from Florida State University. On January 8, 2009 during the BCS Championship game he wore John 3:16 under his eyes on the black used to help athletes with glare from stadium lights. Just three years later, on January 8, 2012, Tim Tebow was playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos where he passed for 316 yards, averaging 31.6 yards per pass, with CBS’s ratings peak for this game at 31.6. You can do a search for Tim Tebow January 8 stats for other 316 references.
Too bad the game wasn’t March 16. While John 3:16 is a wonderful and powerful verse, there’s another John 3:16 that would do us well to memorize. It’s found in FIRST John 3:16 - “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” While the references to Scripture were added later, it’s amazing to see how 1 John 3:16 makes reference to John 3:16 with Christ laying down His life for us. This is how we know what love is. Unlike John 3:16, 1 John 3:16 goes on to counsel us to “lay down our lives for the brethren.”
While many may wonder how it is they are supposed to do this, it’s really quite simple. Philippians 2:3 practically lays it out his way - “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Laying down our lives isn’t limited to that of a martyr, but that of one who puts others above themselves. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did? While this sounds simple on paper, it’s really quite challenging to put others above self.
How often have you seen a great parking spot only to find another person vying for that same spot, and instead of giving it to them you put your signal on 100 yards away to claim it for yourself? While I don’t think John or Paul were referencing parking spots, I do believe they were referencing words and actions we should follow as professed followers of Christ. It’s not natural for humans to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”
Usually we are quick to complain, murmur, and criticize one another. But, as we contemplate the life and love of Jesus, transformation does indeed take place. I’ve seen it in my own life and the lives of others. As we continue on in the Bible Reading plan, I encourage you to take time with Jesus. Sit at His feet, listen to His words, be challenged by them… be transformed by them… and let His light shine in and through you.
Pastor Jon Holland