God’s love unmeasured

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:16-18, New American Standard Bible

This message is hugely savaged by commentators old and young, neophyte and expert. Many will say that this is their favorite verse because it speaks of God’s great gift and great love. However, the intent and even the speaker is not properly ascertained. “For God so loved” is often thought to be an expression of how much God loved (or loves), but the operative word “so” is properly the adverb “thus”.  The writer the is attempting to say this is how God loved the world, in that he gave his only son.

Furthermore the model or example of giving life is to be related to the bronze serpent the desert episode which appears also right here in the context of John 3:16

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

John 3:14, NASB

Giving up a son is a powerful precedent

Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn”, declares the Lord, “because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.”

Gen 22:15-17, NASB

Not only does God prefigure the giving up his son but he makes Abraham’s giving up his son to be the avenue of great blessing to Abraham’s descendants in the years to come.

Childbirth as an effective solution

The gift of a son is often momentous: Seth replacing Abel (Genesis 4:25), addressing Hagar’s affliction with the birth of Ishmael (Genesis 16:11), reversing the childlessness of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17:16), transforming a barren womb with Samson’s birth (Judges 13:3), and the establishment of eternal government by David’s son (Isaiah 9:6-7).

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”

Isaiah 9:6-7

It is without a doubt the profoundest expression of love is to give a life, and since God is love it must be obvious that he does not love the world with “part of his heart” or with less than all of his resources. The idea that God loved the lost world “so much” that he gave his son must make us inquire about how much love is directed towards the saved world. Divine love is immeasurable.