"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
The six words listed in the title above can better be appreciated by considering Genesis 22. God said to Abraham in verse 2: "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest . . . and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." Note the emphasis on Abraham's love for his only son. The place of sacrifice, Moriah, approximates Calvary's location (cf. II Chronicles 3:1). Isaac was to carry wood (Genesis 22:6); Jesus, a cross. Isaac plaintively inquired of his father, "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (v. 7). What was in Abraham's mind when he answered, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (v. 8).
God was pleased with Abraham's faith (cf. v.15). He promised Abraham that "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (v. 18). The very first verse of the New Testament identifies Jesus as "the son of Abraham"--Abraham's seed. We know that God the Father spared Isaac (Genesis 22:12) but not His own Son. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). He did "provide Himself a Lamb" as Abraham prophesied. Our text says, "He gave His only begotten Son." Jesus, John the Baptist proclaimed, was God's Lamb "which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
Our text is well known, but how many people really appreciate its content? Many are afraid of God. They do not want to "perish," but do they fathom God's inestimable love? Would that every person reading these precious words from the Bible would bow the heart, praise God for His priceless gift, and receive Him into his/her heart. PGH