There are volumes of truth Jesus spoke to one man—Nicodemus—in this one single verse. Note that it was not a religious leader like Nicodemus who spoke these words but God Himself in the person of Jesus.
Consider the following analysis of John 3:16, written by a great saint many
God – The greatest giver
So – The greatest depth
Loved – The greatest compassion
The world – The greatest congregation
That He gave – The greatest gift
His only begotten Son – The greatest sacrifice
That whosoever – The greatest opportunity
Believeth – The greatest access
In Him – The greatest person
Should not perish – The greatest escape
But – The greatest contrast
Have – The greatest certainty
Eternal life – The greatest promise
This single verse shows that the relationship of God to humans is only possible through the Son of God. Imagine the Creator dying on behalf of those He created. This one verse is the sum of all the mysteries of God. Both redemption and judgment are found in this most famous of all scriptures. Martin Luther called this verse the “Miniature Gospel.” John 3:16 proves that God is not stern or harsh. He is not angry with the human race. The word “love” here is “agape” the strongest form of love in Greek. It bespeaks an act of the will, not emotion.
God, the Source of redemption, loved those He created. His is not emotional love, but the steadfast concern and compassion toward those who are helpless to save themselves. Mercy and grace sent the Son of God down to us. God desires the happiness of human beings, so He made the Gospel message plain and simple. Jesus didn’t die so that the Father would love us: Jesus came so we could unite with the Father who already loved us.
Five times in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as God’s “only begotten” Son. Jesus, as God’s only Son, shows His uniqueness because of His special relationship with the Father. This verse shows that a personal relationship with God is only possible through God’s Son. In most any culture, an ultimate sacrifice is the sacrificing of an only son in order that others might live. It is a concept that all ethnicities can comprehend.
The “whosoever” of John 3:16 verifies that the Gospel is universal in scope. It is the same “whosoever” of Revelation 20:15.
What must we “whosoevers” do?
Believe. Trust Jesus. God has made His plan of salvation very simple.
What will we avoid if we do?
Damnation: the natural consequence of unbelief in the Son of God. To “perish” proves that the greatest of all punishments await those who do not believe in the Son of God.
What is our reward?
Eternal life with the Father and the Son.
The same words echo in our ears today that were spoken to Nicodemus two millennia ago. Only by His new birth can we enter into God’s kingdom.
How simple the plan. How simple the choice.
What choice have you made concerning the message of John 3:16?