First Lutheran Church Plainville, Kansas
Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. St. John 3:16
That is the theme verse for our Vacation Bible School this year: Miraculous Mission: Jesus Saves the World from Concordia Publishing House. VBS will be June 3-7.
Think about the world for a moment: 7 continents; 195 countries; 7.5 billion people.
How do you manage something so big? How do you stand out in such a crowd?
Now expand it out; that it’s not just the 7.5 billion alive and walking around today; but it is the millions upon billions upon trillions who have ever walked the earth; all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
How can a God have so much love for so many people? Most of us have a few close friends and our families, and really don’t give a hoot about the rest of the world; and yet here we see that God doesn’t just come to save a few, or to save a set number, however large that number may be; but that God sends His Son into the world to save the entire world; even those who we might not care so much about. Not all will go to heaven of course, that is only for those who believe, but the invitation is extended to all.
That is the amazing thing: Jesus Christ comes into the world to open up salvation to all people: the Canaanites who fought Israel in the Promised Land; the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Romans who used their power to dominate Israel; the barbarians and the Turks of the Middle Ages; and even today, those who mean the Church harm, Christ died for them all, that should the day come when they confess Him as Lord, they too would enter into eternal life.
It is an incredible realization to sit back and think about all the people who have ever been on earth, who are on earth, and who ever will be on the earth, and know that they are all covered by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is seemingly impossible to contemplate that God could have so much love to go around to so many people, spread out over such an expanse of space and time. And yet, He does love each and every person who has called earth home, so much so that Christ died for them.
And yet, in the midst of such a large and expansive love, there is one important thing to remember: that if there were no one else on earth who needed to be saved but you, God would send His Son into the world just to save you.
At a workshop some years ago, the presenter had us place our own names into the verse, so that it read like this: For God so loved _____, that He gave His only Son, that _____, who believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
That is the other amazing thing about this verse: first that God could love the whole world so much that He would desire to save it, but also that God should love you so much, that He would desire to save you.
In a world of 7.5 billion people, you may feel lost, as though you do not stand out at all; wondering how could God possibly know who you are, as opposed to putting you in with the whole bunch on one side or the other?
And yet, in a world of billions, you are loved by God as though there were no one else. That is the depths of God’s love: He loves billions upon trillions individually.
Please remember to pray for our Vacation Bible School; both those who learn and those who teach and help, that many may know the depths of God’s amazing love!
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt