John 3:16 Signs & Sporting Events – “It Doesn’t Mean Anything.”

John 3:16 inscribed in sidewalk at Lubbock University - Texas
This should be part of our daily walk.

John 3:16

For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

John 3:16

Yes, you see it written on plaques in churches but also on posters at train stations, on t-shirts at the mall, and on signs held up by fans in sports stadiums.

And with good reason.

This is the line from the Bible that most defines Christianity for many Believers.

God Loved the world so much that He sent his Only Son, Jesus Christ, to live a life of humility, poverty, and ridicule culminating in torture and painful death to prevent us from an eternity of the same.

Perhaps it was His hopes that by showing us a glimpse into Hell as seen through the sufferings of Christ, we would be saved from eternal damnation, an eternity of carrying our crosses and suffering unrelenting, everlasting defeat, torture, and death.

But why would anyone advertise a John 3:16 poster in a train station, or purchase a John 3:16 t-shirt at the mall, or  display a John 3:16 banner at a baseball game?

I remember my husband and I sitting on the couch watching a professional ball game together when the camera panned over the crowds to rest momentarily on a man and what I’m guessing was his young son holding a poster board sign with childish handwriting in big letters proclaiming:

JOHN 3:16

There was nothing else on the poster board as far as words, but it was decorated with obvious time and care chosen over professional expertise.

As the camera paused (or was it that it just seemed to suspend itself momentarily over the smiling pair and their John 3:16 sign?) my husband said in disgust, “I don’t know why they bring stuff like that in to a ball game.”

I was cuddled safely in his arms and I looked at him questioningly but without saying anything.

“I looked it up once. It’s even about sports! It doesn’t even mean anything!” he continued.

At the time, I didn’t know what John 3:16 was either. I remember asking my husband what the Bible said about it, but he couldn’t remember. He just knew it didn’t have anything to do with sports.

And I let it go at the time without questioning him or investigating further for no other reason than because that’s what I did then.

But the sign and that conversation always bothered me. There were a few conversations over the years which stand out in my mind, things that should have been huge red flags even from before we were married, words and actions that I should have taken note of and run for the hills upon witnessing them, but I didn’t. I was weak, and I wanted to believe in him. When we met, I was 22, fresh out of college, and settling down seemed like it was expected and the right thing to do – the fact that he wasn’t the right one was never a long consideration, and so I ignored conversations like the John 3:16 doesn’t even mean anything one.

God however, kept that conversation alive in my heart and in my mind.

I did look John 3:16 up eventually,

For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

John 3:16

I guess in some ways my husband was right.

John 3:16 wasn’t about sports. I couldn’t read that verse and learn how to pitch the perfect curve ball. I couldn’t open the Bible and magically perfect a triple axel. I couldn’t recite John 3:16 and suddenly overwhelm others with lightening fast reflexes in a karate tournament or impress onlookers with my 3-point jump shot or even not get nauseously dizzy on the high dive platform.

John 3:16 isn’t about sports.

But without it, sports are nothing.

John 3:16 is the reason we are given Hope, Hope that reaches beyond winning tomorrow’s game. It is Hope for winning a Blessing in this Life and an eternity with the Trinity in the next.

John 3:16 is about Life and Love and Pursuit of a Goal beyond the clock’s buzzer. John 3:16 is about Goal of forgiveness and perfect love and faith and hope and everlasting triumph.

And that makes John 3:16 a poster worth holding up in any stadium. Marrying someone who doesn’t understand this, dating someone who doesn’t care and isn’t willing to find out is like showing up for the Olympics figure skating doubles with a partner who doesn’t believe in ice. You have nothing to stand on.

Today, I will pray my ex-husband understands that. Will you join me in praying for your ex today?

How does John 3:16 apply to areas of your life where others might think it wouldn’t? How do you teach others about this passage? Would you hold up a sign in a stadium full of people? What would you do to spread the Word?

For more posts on John 3:16, try “The Importance of the Gospel of John 3:16” by clicking here.

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God Bless…

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