You can search the world over, but you will not find anyone like Jesus. At best, you will find charismatic teachers and thoughtful proverbs, but Jesus is the only One who died for us and has been raised to life for us.
One of the most well-known scriptures, John 3:16, is also the most unfathomable. “For 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” (John 3:16). It is the miracle we celebrate at Christmas, the giving of so great a gift, the miracle we will be celebrating for all eternity.
In John 3:16, we see three powerful truths about the nature of God: His nature is to give, love is His essence, and salvation is His desire.
First, God loves to give. At Christmas time we enjoy leftovers, finding a good shopping deal, and sometimes re-gifting what we had leftover or did not like from last year. But God does not give leftovers, In Christ, He did not save 50 percent nor did He pass on something He did not want. He sacrificed. God gave in the most painful way possible—He forsook His own Son in order to accept us as His children. There is no greater thing He could have given. When God gave out of love, He gave all of Himself to receive all of us. That is His nature.
Second, God’s nature is love. When Jesus said, “For God so loved the world,” He was talking about loving people who are arrogant, self-sufficient, indifferent to His love and idolaters—as we once were. God does not love because we first loved him or because we are so lovable. He loves because it is His very nature. What kind of Father gives His only child to die so sinners can know Him, even at the risk of many of those people ultimately rejecting Him? What kind of man faithfully gives everything he has to an adulterous woman? Only the triune God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob loves like that. It is a love that has everything to do with His nature, not ours.
Finally, salvation is God’s desire. The Bible does not say, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that everybody will have everlasting life.” When God gave His Son, He extended an invitation that could be denied, with the hope that none would deny it (1 Timothy 2:4). However, only those who respond to His love will be able to rejoice in eternity with Him.
This means that those who reject God’s invitation in Christ will not have everlasting life. Those who have tingly feelings about God only around Christmas time will not inherit His Kingdom. But those who seek Him and say, “Yes, Jesus did this for me, and I gratefully receive Him as my Savior and the great leader of my life,” these are the whosoever believe in Him in John 3:16.
God did not look down from Heaven and say, “Guys, I love you so much. Try your best and be good people. I hope you will make it up here.” If the Gospel is about being a good person—what a sad Gospel that would be! No, the Good News is about God becoming man to redeem a fallen world so that we might dwell with Him forever.
Christmas means nothing without Jesus. His kind of love spares nothing, but spends everything to bless the object of His love. His love compelled Him to do the unthinkable. What does your love compel you to do? Are you trying to be a good person or a follower of Christ? Are you living in freedom, or are you afraid of giving everything to Him? You can trust Jesus with your heart and life. He is the only person who died for you and defeated death on your behalf.
This Christmas, let us joyfully celebrate the only Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the King of all kings, and the Prince of peace who has brought us complete reconciliation. There is truly no one like Him!