3:16 – The Numbers of Hope

3:16 – The Numbers of Hope

Max Lucado updated 3:16 – The Numbers of Hope in 2022.  Thomas Nelson originally published the book in 2007.  Pastor Lucado currently serves as Teaching Minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.  First, the author notes, tracing problems to their beginnings serves as the best method to solve them.  And no single sentence contains more significance than John 3:16.  Because that Bible verse invites us to get to the root of the human story.  Newborn hearts are born of heaven.  Therefore, God handles the task, start to finish.  As a result, Pastor Lucado counsels, just stretch out on Christ and rest.  For God’s not just alive, but life itself: God is, without help.   Hence, when life appears to fall to pieces and seems irreparable, know that everything’s going to be okay.  Because God so loved the world.

However, Max cautions, an unhealthy reaction to fear hardens our hearts.  Yet, the presence of fear in our hearts doesn’t bother God.  Rather, it’s our response to fear.  But even though we run from the very God able to help us, He still loves, pursues, and persists.  Above all, your goodness can’t win God’s love, and your badness can’t lose it.  You can, however, resist God’s love.  In this current age of information, aka the age of confusion, we possess much know-how, but little know-why.  Thus, we need answers – and Jesus supplies them.  Jesus claims the frail, preserves the weak, and secures the weary.  Consequently, scarred and journey-hardened, we come to Jesus.  In John 3:16 – the numbers of hope, the word whoever invites the whole world to God.   We need not clean up or climb up.  Just look up.

In conclusion, Pastor Lucado observes, you regularly trust power you’re unable to see to do work you cannot accomplish.  Like trusting a chair to bear your weight.  So, through the power of the Holy Spirit, accept Jesus’ invitation to do the same with Him – just Him.  Look to Jesus and believe.  Certainly, this fails to digest well with our culture’s desire for self-sufficient spiritual food.  God-deniers, though, continue outside of heaven, outside the numbers of hope, and outside of God’s goodness.  We face death with fear or faith, dread or joy.  While God makes the offer of eternal life, we make the choice.

Max closes the book with these words of encouragement:

“Let John 3:16 become the banner of your life.  For God so loved me that he gave his one and only Son.  Stay strong in the love of God, my friend.  It is the message of 3:16 and the highest hope of humanity.  God loves his world, this world.  He is on a quest to rescue his children and bring them home.”

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Dave Henning

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