Every day I start my devotional life by praying, "Father, I come to meet with you. I pray that You will meet with me, Your much loved son." (I also pray similar prayers to Jesus, His much loved friend and servant, and to the Holy Spirit, His much loved vessel).
Then I usually recite a personalized version of 1st John 3:1, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God." To "lavish" means to profusely pour out or rain down. It's the idea of something excessive--in this case loving. (The Greek word for lavish in the Bible is "didomi").
We've all had moments when we have "lavished" our love on someone. I lavished love on my wife when I saw her coming up the aisle at our wedding. I lavished love when I saw each of our two children at their births. Now, after 40 years of marriage, I lavish with feelings of love every time I look at my wife.
So how does God "lavish" His love on us? And just how great is that love? The answer is surprisingly familiar, perhaps overly familiar: "For God so loved the world that he 'didomi' his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will never perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
That's right! The Greek word "didomi" translated "lavished" in 1st John 3:1 is the same Greek word translated "gave" in John 3:16. God loves us so much that he "lavished" us with Jesus. He has profusely poured out and rained down on us something excessive – His own much loved Son.
So the next time you read or say John 3:16, try it this way: "For God so loved the world that he 'lavished' his one and only Son on us, that whoever believes in him will never perish but have eternal life." That's a lot of love.
Until every church disciples every man…