Kevin showed me this you tube video that I have linked above. The late Red Skelton was a great comedian of my day. This is a rendition of a story he told about his teacher, Mr. Laswell. Mr Laswell felt his students had come to think of the Pledge of Allegiance as monotonous or maybe they just didn’t understand the meaning of each word. Mr. Laswell then when on to explain the meaning of each word in the Pledge of Allegiance.
As I watched this you tube video, it occurred to me that I quote John 3:16 as if it had no meaning. In a monotone voice I recite this verse by memory. I say it in the King James Version for that is how I learned it so many years ago while sitting in Sunday School classes as a child.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV
We see John 3:16 plastered on everything, billboards, football games, photo bombs, etc. You catch my drift. It is salvations story in a nutshell; yet, sometimes I wonder if it has become so familiar to us that it is monotonous. Just like the story of Mr. Laswell’s students.
Paraphrasing Mr. Laswell’s words, “If I may, I would like to recite John 3:16, and give you a definition for each word:
“For” – in this verse is a conjunction word introducing a reason of God’s love. A conjunction word is the glue that holds words or phrases together. Jesus was teaching Nicodemus that God has given mankind the only way to restore the broken relationship between God and Man. In verse 15 we read, “that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” Jesus begins verse 16 with a conjunction word. He was tying in the only reason we can have restored relationship with God is through God’s Son and here is the reason why. “For”
“God” – Theos – the supreme being who owns and sustains all things. Theos is used to distinguish the one true God.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4
“so” – thus indeed. It is a demonstrative adverb. Jesus was demonstrating to this learned sage just how much God loved the world.
“loved” – Agapao- to esteem, indicating a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in something or someone – to love with strong affection – to dearly prize. It is God’s willfull direction toward man. It involves God doing what He knows is best for man and not necessarily what man desires. Through Jesus His Son God gave us what we needed. We needed forgiveness as a free gift, but man always tends to want to work for forgiveness.
“the” – a determining word – it denotes uniqueness.
“World” – kosmos – an ordered system, an ensemble of ordered creation. The world and all its inhabitants are created by Theos – the one true God. He created it in an orderly fashion. We are His adornment; His decoration. Just look around and see the beauty God put in this world. He took great care to create us.
I think I shall stop at the comma. A comma in a sentence is a pause. It is a separation because you are about to start a new phrase. It is a natural break.
So I will pause and reflect on the great and faithful love of the Only God, my Creator. When circumstances in my life cause me to question the agape love of God, I am going to recite, “For God so loved the world,” and I will remember the definition of each word.