|Friends, maybe you’ve seen informal evangelists at football or baseball games holding up a sign: “John 3:16.” Did you ever wonder what that means?
Well, we hear this verse from the Gospel of John in today’s reading: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
I think it’s good that those people hold up that sign, because in many ways that is the whole Gospel, and even the whole Christian tradition, in miniature. Every cathedral, every church, every poem, every drama, the life of every saint—that’s what they’re all about.
Christianity does not announce, primarily, our virtue; it doesn’t sing our praises; it doesn’t exult in human civilization. What it primarily does is announce that message: that even in our sin—you might say, especially in our sin—God loved us. And so what did he do? He broke open his own heart and he sent his own self into our humanity to heal us and offer us eternal life.