John 3:16 – “For this is how 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.”
This is the most recognized Christian Bible verse in the world. Most children who come from a Christian background know it and have memorized it. John 3:16 is a message from Christ Himself of how much God loves us.
In this passage, Jesus, the Son of God, is talking to a man who wants to know how to be saved. Jesus responds that we must be born again! Confused, the man asks Jesus how he can be born again. Jesus says that this man is not to be born again in the flesh, but born again in spirit.
Salvation by Christ’s definition is a rebirth of our spirit. Our old spirit must be put to death and a new one born in its place. In the Christian world, we call the death of our old spirit and the birth of our new self redemption. Our newly born spirit grows; we call this growth and development sanctification.
Scripture references eternal life. This new spirit, our new self, will live for eternity. So important are you and I to God that He provided a way for us to be with Him forever. Forever is a long time.
What do we do to help our spirits grow? There are several options, but one I want to mention is illustrated in Jesus’ story about the good Samaritan. The good Samaritan helped someone, that much we know. Do you know that the person he helped probably would not have helped him in return? Samaritans were not well liked by Jews at that time in history.
Likely, if the Samaritan was the one beaten up and in a ditch, he would have been left there to die. In the story, two members of the church, a pastor and a team leader, for various reasons, literally walked right past the man who was beaten up. A Samaritan, someone not liked in society, saved the wounded man.
If you know this story you know I am narrowing down the message, but the point of it is simple. The Samaritan loved someone who would hate him so much that he gave up his time, his money, his energy, and helped a man who would not have done the same for him. God loved us, the sinners and pagans of the world, so much that He sent, and ultimately sacrificed, His Son for us.
How can we each apply this message to our own lives? How can we be Good Samaritans in our daily travels, responding to the unexpected misfortunes of others, no matter how society labels them, with love, respect, and compassion? We can, if we love.
– Scott Beiermann