If you have ever watched sporting events, from time to time you may have noticed someone in a multi-colored wig or something like that holding up a placard that read, “JOHN 3:16.” Is this, you may have wondered, a coded message from outer space? Actually, it is probably the most famous verse in the B’rit Chadasha—the New Testament. The verse in question records the following statement of Jesus in the course of his conversation with a Jewish leader at the time. He told the rabbi,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
This verse, perhaps more than any other, encapsulates what believers in Yeshua call, “The Gospel,” which means, “Good News.”
There is a lot to unpack here, and the key to cracking the code lies in the context of the Jewish world from which it arose. We begin with a question, “What is good about the ‘Good News’?
Human beings generally have a sense that we are somehow out of alignment with our Creator, our environment, one another, and even ourselves. This is the human condition as we know it. We believe people are flawed but basically good, and yet we are oftentimes disappointed with our friends, family, political leaders, government institutions, and even ourselves. We often fail to live the good, positive, and happy life that we want. It seems that at almost every turn, we are faced with problems that need overcoming: sickness, business problems, relational failures, and more. We also seem to have an inborn impulse to return to a simpler life—a return to innocence. But we do not know how to recapture this wished-for goodness and peace in light of the everyday complications of our lives.
This where the good news comes in to help us and give hope. We can be different tomorrow because God has provided a way forward for each of us. He loves us like a father loves his children, but he wants to revitalize us to experience life as he always wanted us to enjoy. He created us to live healthy, wholesome, and productive lives. However, the Bible tells us that something disastrous happened after God initially made humanity in Eden. Our first parents grew far too independent from God and stepped outside of the Creator’s recipe for success in life (Genesis 3).
Unfortunately, today, we continue this pattern. This is why the God who loves us had to reinsert himself in human history to save us from ourselves. He did this through Yeshua the Messiah, the one he promised to Israel and the whole world. It is because of him that we can be forgiven of our failures and sin and become better tomorrow than we are today.
The good news is that God can heal us, and he offers to do so by sending a Messiah who has given up his perfect life in our place, to bind our wounds, heal us, and do for us what we are utterly incapable of doing for ourselves (Isaiah 53:5).
By placing our faith in Jesus, the Messiah, whom the prophets of Israel foretold, we enter into a relationship with God that is grounded by his unchanging love. As we learn to respond to that love, by living the way he created us to live, we begin a lifelong, liberating transformation.
God sent his Son to return us to the innocence and purity our souls long for, both for ourselves and in our relationship to our loved ones and society. Can we “return to Eden”? Not easily! But, by turning to Jesus and asking God to wrap His arms of love around us, our Messiah makes a path for us to live in God’s shalom for eternity.
Do you find your heart drawn toward this new life of forgiveness and peace? We invite you to read the other articles on this site and pray that God would reveal himself to you. However, if you would also like to speak to someone in person, please send us a chat, or submit a message to us on the contact page here.