The most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16. Martin Luther called it “the gospel in a nutshell.” This is a verse for all seasons.
John 3:16 is a verse for the Advent season. It says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” God loves the world. God gave Jesus Christ to the world. In Advent, we anticipate God’s loving, giving Christ to the world. The love of God which sent Christ to us, as sinful persons, is the same love Jesus himself showed to others—to all others. No wonder the hymn says, “Love came down at Christmas.” As the Puritan Thomas Watson said, “And behold the infinite love of Christ, that he was willing thus to condescend to take our flesh.”
This is Advent love! We anticipate God’s infinite love in becoming a person in Jesus Christ! God gave Christ…for us! As Watson put it: “He was born of a Virgin, that he might be born of God; he took our Flesh, that he might give us his Spirit. He lay in the Manger, that we might lye in Paradise. He came down from Heaven, that he might bring us to Heaven. And what was all this but Love? If our Hearts be not Rocks, this Love of Christ should affect us.”
Is the love of Christ affecting you this Advent season? We’ve all heard the song: “What the World Needs Now is Love.” Yes, we need love. What we need most is God’s love, given to us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus embodied God’s love by loving us and dying for us that our sin may be forgiven and we may know that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts” (Rom. 5:5). Know you are loved by God today!
Dr. Donald K. McKim currently lives in Germantown, TN and is an Honorably Retired minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Some of his publications include: (with Jim West), Heinrich Bullinger: An Introduction to His Life and Theology (Wipf & Stock, 2022); Everyday Prayer with the Puritans (P&R, 2021); Everyday Prayer with the Reformers (P&R, 2020); Living into Lent, new edition (Westminster John Knox Press, 2020); Everyday Prayer with John Calvin (P&R, 2019). Several of his other articles can also be found at The Presbyterian Outlook https://pres-outlook.org/