“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 (ESV)
You know, in today’s culture we really can’t comprehend how extremely radical what Jesus said in John 3:16 would have been to the first century Jew. Jesus just said He loved the world … the entire world … that meant both His favored nation of Israel and all those filthy people of the Gentile nations. How could that be?
And yet as Romans 11 so clearly reveals, Gentiles were more receptive to the work of Christ Jesus than the nation of Israel …
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? Romans 11:11-15 (ESV)
But can you imagine the stumbling block that would have existed for the Gentile If Jesus had simply been killed, stoned, by His fellow Jews? His death would have simply been seen as some sort of Jewish martyrdom on behalf of his fellow Jews. But God had a different plan …
And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Matthew 20:17-19 (ESV)
Note the hollow excuse the chief priests and scribes give Pilate as to why they won’t execute Jesus … and the reason the Romans instead needed to do it …
Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. John 18:31-32 (ESV)
Not lawful for them to put anyone to death … didn’t seem to matter when they were about to stone the adulteress to death … and that was according to the law … at least partially since the adulterer is MIA.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” John 8:3-5 (ESV)
Note what the Law states …
“If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10 (ESV)
And let’s not forget how the deacon Stephen died as Saul (later to become Paul) watched …
Yes, Jesus loved the world … and the world … both Jew and Gentile … needed to put Jesus to death … according to the words of prophecy Jesus spoke.
God’s will, plan and purpose will not be denied and His prophecies will be fulfilled.
For that I am eternally grateful and thankful … praise God!!!