What does John 3:16 mean?

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

Verse Commentary:

This is the core of Christianity: that God loved the world enough to come in human form—Jesus, who died for us, so that anyone who trusts in Him will be saved from sin. This is certainly the most well-known verse in the Bible. It is probably the best-known and most-memorized part of any holy text in human history. The verse is a one-sentence summary of the gospel: the subject line of the entire Bible. The verse also reflects the way the gospel’s essential idea is clear, but there are layers of meaning and knowledge inside of it.

The opening phrase is traditionally translated as “God so loved the world that.” This is typically understood to mean, “God loved the world ‘so much’ that…” That idea isn’t entirely wrong, but the actual phrase means “God loved the world ‘in this way,'” with emphasis on what God did, more than why. Jesus is an expression of God’s indescribable love for “the world,” meaning all of mankind (1 John 4:9–10).

The phrase translated as “one and only Son,” or “only begotten Son” uses the Greek word monogenēs. This is a very precise word which John uses in other places in this gospel (John 1:14, 18; 3:18). the traditional English term “begotten” often makes people think of biology, but monogenēs does not imply it. The word literally means something of the same nature or substance. “In other words, the Son Man—Jesus—is of exactly the same divinity as God the Father. That makes this verse an important part of proving the biblical concept of the Trinity. In typical use, monogenēs is used to imply “the only of its kind” or “sole [only],” or similar ideas.

The life offered to those who believe in Christ is “eternal,” from a Greek word meaning “never ending.” The alternative to life in Christ is destruction: to “perish.” This passage explains that the purpose of sending Jesus was our salvation (John 3:17), but also reminds us that those who don’t believe are condemned (John 3:18, 36). There is no question that, according to the Bible, people can be saved only through faith in Jesus (John 14:6).


References to Jesus In The Psalms

Psalm 34

The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.

Psalm 34

John 19:28-37

The death of Jesus

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken,’ and, as another scripture says, ‘They will look on the one they have pierced.’

I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

Psalm 22

What Happened On Good Friday?

A Timeline of Jesus’s Last Day

After midnight on Friday morning Judas lead soldiers to arrest Jesus

Luke 22:47-53

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’

When Jesus’s followers saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, should we strike with our swords?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.’

See Also: Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:1-11

Friday Morning (4am to 6am)

Jesus was taken before Annas and Caiaphas.

John 18:13-14

and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Matthew 26:62-66

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent.

The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’

‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’

‘He is worthy of death,’ they answered.

See Also: Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65, Luke 22:54, John 18:12-14, 19-23

Peter Denies Jesus

Mark 14:53-54

They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

Mark 14:66-72

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.

‘You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,’ she said.

But he denied it. ‘I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,’ he said, and went out into the entrance.

When the servant-girl saw him there, she said again to those standing round them, ‘This fellow is one of them.’ Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’

He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’

Immediately the cock crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the cock crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.

See Also: Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:55-62, John 18:15-18, 25-27

6am to 8am on Friday Morning

Jesus’s Trial Before Pontius Pilate

Matthew 27:11-14

Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied.

When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor.

See Also: Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:1-22, John 18:28-38, 19:1-16

Barabbas is Freed

Mark 15:15

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

See Also: Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:18-19, 23-25, John 18:39-40

Jesus Carries His Cross with Help from Simon of Cyrene

John 19:17

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

Luke 23:26

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

See Also: Matthew 27:31-34, Mark 15:21-22, Luke 23:26-32, John 19:17

9 AM Friday Morning

Jesus Is Crucified

Mark 15:25-26

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: The King Of The Jews.

See Also: Matthew 27:35-37, Mark 15:25-26, Luke 23:33-38, John 19:18-22

Friday 9 AM to 12 PM

Soldiers Cast Lots for Jesus’s Clothes

Luke 23:34 

Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

See Also: Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:23-24

The Crowd Mocks Jesus 

Matthew 27:39-43

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’ In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, “I am the Son of God.”’

See Also: Matthew 27:39-43, Mark 15:29-32, Luke 23:35-39

Jesus Speaks from the Cross

Luke 23:43

Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

John 19:26-27

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

See Also: Luke 23:39-43, John 19:25-27

Friday – 12 Noon to 3 pm

The Earth Responds

Mark 15:33

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.

Luke 23:44-45

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

See Also: Matthew 27:45, 51-53, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44-45

Friday 3 PM

Jesus Dies

Mark 15:34-39

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).

When some of those standing near heard this, they said, ‘Listen, he’s calling Elijah.’

Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. ‘Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,’ he said.

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’

See Also: Matthew 27:46-56, Mark 15:34-41, Luke 23:46-49, John 19:28-30

Friday 3 PM to 6 PM

Soldiers Pierce Jesus’s Side

John 19:33-37

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’s side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken,’ and, as another scripture says, ‘They will look on the one they have pierced.’

See: John 19:31-37

Joseph of Arimathea Claims Jesus’s Body

Luke 23:50-54

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’s body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

See Also: Matthew 27:57-60, Mark 15:42-45, Luke 23:50-54, John 19:38-42

The Entrance of Jesus’s Tomb is Sealed with a Stone

Mark 15:46-47

So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Matthew 27:65-66

‘Take a guard,’ Pilate answered. ‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

See Also: Matthew 27:60-66, Mark 15:46-47, Luke 23:55-56