In preparing for that message, I faced one of those challenges that many pastors face...many people who have been Christ followers for a long time face the same thing. It's the problem that comes with confronting Scripture that has become too familiar.
Have you ever just wished that you could forget everything you've learned about Scripture to this point so you could pick it up for the "first time" and read it? Can you imagine how blown away you might be at reading these words for the very first time with no prior knowledge...for God so love the world He gave...
As I shared yesterday, God had been waiting since the creation of mankind to utter those words to us. He had longed so desperately to reveal His plan and to rescue this relationship that was broken by our mistakes. Can you imagine how the words had rolled around inside of Jesus till that night when Nicodemus came and questioned Him?
"What does it take for a man to get to heaven?"
The answer comes from God...literally. But we've become too familiar with its words--this Grand Plan--too familiar with what it teaches us about God and Jesus and salvation. I wish we all could just forget what we "know" and hear for the very first time the great depths that God will go to to have us for Himself. Here it is in a less familiar translation of the passage. Read it again...for the first time... and thank God for all that He gave.
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.