3:16: The Numbers of Hope
John 3:16 is the most oft quoted, mis-interpreted verse from the Christian bible. It is used by many as a sum total of what Jesus Christ offers all Christians. The verse is only 25 words long and yet for many it encapsulates almost too much to take in.
The verse: 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.
Max Lucado goes over this verse word for word, unpacking the meaning of this ultimate promise. The elucidation and analysis of this verse is both enlightening and inspiring. The author uses a breath of knowledge of other biblical verses to show that this statement really is the most hopeful, powerful, and generous in the Bible. He helps the reader understand that each word is carefully chosen to deliver a message that is both simple and direct. Lucado uses compelling examples from the life of Jesus, as told in the gospels, to demonstrate that Jesus lived his whole short life in service of this statement. The author shows us that many actions and statements from Jesus link back to those 26 words. The author’s contemporary twist on biblical stories and his modern interpretation brings the life of Jesus and his promise to all Christians to life so effectively that I found myself wishing that I had Max Lucado during my Catholic education.
The final part of the book is comprised of 40 short, 1.5 page, chapters that provide reflection on John 3:16 from different angles. These brief meditations are a nice way to spend a few minutes each day for a month and a quarter, coming to a greater understanding of this powerful biblical verse. This is a quick read and well worth the time for the inspiration and edification it provides.