For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17)




fourth sunday in lent

Sermon Starter

Probably the most well-known verse in the Bible is John 3:16. You probably know it by heart or you easily recognize it when you hear it: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” When things are well-known they can become stale. When you hear it you may automatically not pay as much attention as you would to something you’ve never heard before. This is normal.

Sometimes things we know well can take on new life when we hear them presented in a different way. This verse may seem to have new life to it in the way the original Greek words present it. The English of the translation we’re using, The English Standard Version, presents it the way we’re so often used to hearing it: for God so loved the world … It’s along the lines of, God loved the world, so He did something, namely, He sent His Son. Or perhaps along these lines: God loved the world so much that He gave His Son. These both capture God’s love for the world and what He did in His love; He sent His Son. The Greek has it more along these lines: God loved the world in this way—He sent His Son.

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.