Twitter is an online news and social networking site where people communicate in short messages called tweets. Initially, tweets couldn’t be longer than 140 characters, but a couple of years ago, the limit was doubled to allow users to be more expressive.
John 3:16 is arguably the most familiar verse in the entire Bible, and it’s definitely “tweetable.” One of the reasons for its popularity is that it’s understood by many to be the most concise expression of the Christian faith. And perhaps it is.
Unfortunately, taken on its own, this verse has not always been a word of grace but instead a word of fear. We tend to focus on the second half of the verse, paying more attention to what it says about us than what it says about God. And what we hear is this: if I don’t believe the right things, I will not receive the gift of eternal life.
Perhaps John 3:16 needs to expand its character limit, too. In the push for conciseness, we lose something important: this verse comes from a passage that is making a point about God’s unconditional and unending love for the whole world.
Holy Love, thank you for coming into this world not to condemn but to save. Amen. — LS