John 3:16 is perhaps the most memorized verse in the entire Bible. I’ve seen “3:16” posted at football games, on the back of trucks, even on T-shirts and hats. I first learned it as a child in Sunday school: “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” (John 3:16).
This famous verse was first spoken during a private nighttime conversation between a very religious individual and Jesus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, one of the strict religious groups that existed in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. He was also part of the Sanhedrin, the highest council in the Jewish government. Yet this very religious, important, and educated man was struggling to understand Jesus’ teaching that we must be born again. Certainly Nicodemus had a valid question. How can anyone be born a second time?
As a parent, I remember every single one of our children’s births. Our birthdays are listed on every important document. It is the moment that marked our entrance to this world. But what Jesus referred to here was a second birth, a spiritual birth. He said that unless you are born again you can’t see the kingdom of God.
Jesus challenged the belief that you could ever become good enough for God. Many still today assume that their religious tradition or even their respect for Jesus or the Bible will guarantee them entrance to heaven. But Jesus told Nicodemus, a respected religious leader, that he was missing something. Without a spiritual rebirth, “no one can enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This rebirth is possible only through faith in the message about the Person and work of Jesus (John 3:16).
We are all sinners in desperate need of a Savior. Salvation comes only through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Because of who He is and what He has done for us, anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will have eternal life. God gave His only Son, His most precious possession, so that our sins would be fully paid before God.
God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, died and was resurrected so you and I could experience new life. He came for you. He came for me. He came so we could live. If you haven’t done so already, will you receive this most important gift today?