I spent last week studying for this week’s section of our current, ongoing study through the book of Hebrews. We’ve been studying Melchizedek, and quite honestly, his place in Scripture is about as difficult as his name.
I worked through a hard passage and ended at the same conclusion where I always end up. It’s happened so often that, if I don’t end there, then I go back and check my progression through the passage because I probably missed something.
Here it is – the conclusion I reach on virtually every Bible lesson I teach – God loves you and wants a relationship with you through His Son, Jesus.
That’s the whole message of God’s Word – from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21 – from the days of Adam about 6,000 years ago until the days of Messiah’s reign sometime in the future. The whole thing is the story of how He expressed that love and made that relationship possible. I reached that end this time and thought, “That’s the same conclusion I reach every time. Why keep studying? I know the point of the book… God loves me and wants a relationship with me through Jesus.” We can learn this truth reading John 3:16; why spend hours studying?
Let’s use a thread to represent this statement. We’ll call it our John 3:16 thread because you can simply read John 3:16 and know everything you ever need to know, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” It’s simple and direct; with a few abbreviations we can even make it fit within the 140 character limit of Twitter.
Yes, this one statement has enough power to change the world. But it’s only a thread; it’s only a single strand of power and truth.
When I questioned why Jesus might possibly be troubled, I found it was because He loves us and wants a relationship with us.
When I wondered why Jesus had to go against all conventional wisdom, I learned it was because He loves us and wants a relationship with us.
When I struggled to understand Jesus’ parables, I found buried within them that God loves us and wants a relationship with us.
When I wondered what it meant to soar on wings like eagles, I realized we only can do so because God loves us and wants a relationship with us.
When I freaked out because a great cloud of witnesses surrounds me, I learned they are there because God loves us and wants a relationship with us.
When I was curious why the Bible sometimes calls Jesus the Rock, I discovered it’s because God loves us and wants a relationship with us.
When I wanted to know more about the name Immanuel, I learned it’s His name because He loves us and wants a relationship with us.
When I wondered why Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah had to suffer, I realized it’s because He loves us and wants a relationship with us.
Those are only the topics I’ve blogged about. More are in my books and many more sit on my shelves from old studies I’ve written and taught. Maybe someday I’ll get more of them posted here. Things like finding this message hidden in the garments of the priest in the Old Testament.
Or finding it in the complex person of the priest Melchizedek, which is where I found myself last week.
These topics all contain the common message of our John 3:16 thread. Each one is a powerful message of grace, love, and relationship restored. God wove each of these threads and countless more into an intricate and deep blanket that spans thousands of years and reaches every person of all time. We call that blanket the Bible.
The John 3:16 thread is enough but the whole design is so much more.
The world is a hard, cold place. When I need warmth and comfort, I’d rather wrap up in the whole blanket than try to curl up in a single thread.
The pits of inadequacy, despair, and depression can be deep, dark, foreboding places. I need the whole blanket to pull me up out of the pit. I may lose my grasp if I hold onto only a single thread.
The enemy’s attacks come at me from every direction. A single thread may not block every fiery dart but if the whole blanket covers me completely then the power of the Word can stop every attack.
Weaving it in to your life
The John 3:16 thread is all you need in your life. It’s simple and reveals God’s plan for our relationship. So much more awaits though when you start searching through the rest of Scripture’s pages to find that thread woven throughout the whole story, from beginning to end. I encourage you to open His Word, start studying it, and weaving His threads together into your own life so you’ll have the whole blanket when you need warmth and comfort, a pull out of despair, or defense from the enemy.