Christmas in a Nutshell
At Christmastime, we usually focus on the facts surrounding Jesus’ birth. The angel told Mary and Joseph about the baby, they travel to Bethlehem, find no room in the inn and have to make due in a stable, and Jesus is born and placed in a manger. The Christmas story focuses on the angels, the shepherds, and the birth of Jesus. And rightly so.
The accounts of Jesus’ birth found in Matthew and Luke tell us what happened but not much about why it happened. These accounts focus on the facts, which, of course, we need to know. The book of John tells us nothing about Jesus’ birth, but it does tell us some important things about why God sent Jesus into the world.
We probably don’t consider today’s text to be specifically Christmas verses, but they tell us repeatedly why God sent his Son into the world. This passage uses Christmas language—(.16) “he gave his only begotten son,” (.17) “God sent … his son into the world …” (.19) “light is come into the world.” So these verses deal with the reasons God sent Jesus into the world. From a certain point of view, these are Christmas verses.
John 3:16 has been described as “the Gospel in a nutshell.” Today, let’s focus on Christmas in a nutshell from this passage.