JOHN 3:17


I’ve been thinking about starting a JOHN 3:17 campaign.

You’ve undoubtedly seen the self-styled JOHN 3:16 campaign — evangelicals’ most shopped-around logo. Go in your mind’s eye right now and see if you can spot that weird guy with the rainbow afro holding up a JOHN 3:16 sign from a seat where the center field camera, staring in at home plate for the next pitch, can’t avoid picking him up. Got it? See him there? One year he must have been there for the whole World Series. It really did get annoying.

Or how about Tim Tebow’s black eye patches with JOHN 3:16 emblazoned on them so that every close-up of his face was a photo-op for the verse that could save the world: “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.” Didn’t you ever wonder how many people might have gone to their Bibles or the Internet to see what JOHN 3:16 was all about? Or didn’t you wonder if somebody actually got saved based on looking up this verse? It is the most complete statement of the gospel in all of the Bible, and all in one verse.IMG_1273

But the lesser-known companion verse, John 3:17, is equally important: “For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” And given the current mood of the country, the judgmental reputation of Christians, and the tendency of people with toxic religious experiences to think that God is the great killjoy in the sky, who can’t wait to send us all to hell, this verse may be even more important than the former one. God did not send Jesus to judge the human race, but to save it. This is a much-needed loving statement of God’s grace. God loves us so much that in spite of His expectation of holiness, He provided a means by which He could save us instead of watching us perish in our sins.

What if we started plastering “JOHN 3:17” everywhere — see what kind of stir we could create?

Can’t you imagine some people going, “Hey, wait a minute. That doesn’t look right. Isn’t it supposed to be verse sixteen? John 3:16? That’s the way I learned it in Sunday school. Maybe it’s not a mistake. Maybe we should look it up.” Whoever does look it up is going to find a God of compassion, not a God who is mad at the world, and that’s the God we need for all time, but especially now, because that’s the God use have.

Why did God send Jesus? It’s all right here in verse seventeen. Because He loves us and made a way He could save us instead of judging us, by judging His own son in our place.

Let’s get it going! Let’s start a trend! John 3:17. No, it’s not a mistake; it’s the rest of the gospel.


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9 Responses to JOHN 3:17

  1. kellief4 says:

    That is an awesome idea!

  2. Already started! It’s been my favorite verse for a long time! As Steve Brown is apt to put it, it’s the “God’s not mad at you!” verse.
    Thx for joining,

  3. hahimes says:

    AMEN AMEN AMEN! I love that verse, and always wonder why it’s never shared along with the John 3:16 part. It is SO encouraging and loving and a reminder that our God is FOR us – not out to get us. Thank you – as always.

  4. John A Fagliano says:

    I googled the verse and found lots of creative images not of just the reference but the whole verse with it. Your idea of showing just the reference sounds good too. Curiosity may cause plenty to look it up if they don’t know it. For those who do know it and may have forgotten to apply it’s truth to their theology, it could work as a reminder to stop judging. I hope so.

  5. If one is going to follow that line of reasoning then one needs to continue on with the rest of the conversation in context between Jesus and Nicodemus –
    John 3:18:
    “There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don’t trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God.”
    John 3:19:
    “Their sentence is based on this fact: that the Light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”
    John 3:20:
    “They hated the heavenly Light because they wanted to sin in the darkness. They stayed away from that Light for fear their sins would be exposed and they would be punished.”
    John 3:21:
    “But those doing right come gladly to the Light to let everyone see that they are doing what God wants them to.”

    The point being that, while it’s both convenient and cute, it’s not very clever anymore – or even commendable – to post a Scripture reference in front of an audience, or tape it to your door, or paint it on your body, or display it on a bumper-sticker. etc…. if one is not prepared to fully engage anyone else who may inquire about it.
    And, quite honestly, how many people (from outside the church) are even “inspired” to ask about the meaning behind John 3:16, 17, 18… or any Scripture references peddled so zealously on TV screens or on billboards or through any other “non-religious” venues? Do you really believe that anyone, after seeing a Scripture verse displayed at the World Series, scurries to their Bible to find out what the verse says?
    These John 3:16 placards have become a joke but we Christians have managed to deceive ourselves into believing that we’re making heavenly inroads to lost souls because of them. We’re “witnessing” for God, woohoo!!
    And, yes, partially due to recent social and political activities all allegedly “in the Name Of Christ” we Christians have become a laughingstock or pain-in-the-butt to both the world and amongst ourselves because of our cardboard-thin religiosity and lack of substance or character.
    Fortunately, God can overcome our foibles and fantasies and reach the lost and hurting without the misguided intents and mediums of arm-chair evangelists.

    We must come to recognize that there is a lot of depth when dealing with the Word of God and that simply doling out Scripture verses on the fly rarely leads anyone from the snares of Hell.
    We must confidently know what we are talking about if we’re really going to discuss with others their inquiries about Jesus, faith, eternity, and the whole ball of wax.
    We must live what we preach and not be satisfied with simply posting John 3:16 or John 3:17 somewhere, and then believing that doing that speaks for us and absolves our requirement to “Go into all the world…”
    Perhaps a couple of better verses to point others – and ourselves – toward are:

    Luke 23:34, Isaiah 1:18, and Psalm 51 (among many more).
    Be prepared, though, to explain why you believe and trust in whatever Scriptures you espouse and express! That’s where the rubber really meets the road.

    jus a bit off-topic but my prayer for you:
    With Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) now beginning, rather than wishing for a “Happy New Year” it is customary to say, “Shana Tova u’metuka,” which means “Have a good and sweet year.”
    (The main goal is to have both a good year and live a good life, while also asking God that it be sweet.)
    May the entire Catch community and all our families all experience a good and sweet year — one that is filled with both contribution and satisfaction.

    Shalom, my friends… 🙂

    • jwfisch says:

      I agree. My point was to get us all thinking about verse 17 as well as verse :16. Of course, the whole chapter wouldn’t be a bad idea either!

  6. Crys on life's journey says:

    How confirming of your Catch this day. I read daily offerings along with the Catch . . . Today’s verse from BIbleGateway, You Got IT John 3:17. So comforting to know that this verse too will be shared more with those who don’t know the love our God has for us all.

  7. jwfisch says:

    That’s wild.

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