“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 (Jesus speaking)
I’m guessing that you recognize the first part of this passage. It’s the “John 3:16” that has shown up on so many stadium banners over the years.
The reference to “begotten,” as I said a few days ago, comes from the second psalm, upon which one of these daily devotionals focused. The portion of this psalm relevant to our passage today is:
“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”
– Psalm 2:7 (emphasis added)
In ancient Jewish thought, “sons of God” was a synonym for angels. What made this son of God unique from other angels, therefore, was that he was “begotten.”
As we’ve seen before, this reference to “begotten” in the second psalm was a veiled reference to the resurrection of Messiah:
“And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.'” (Paul preaching to a synagogue; all caps quotes Psalm 2:7)
– Acts 13:32-33
Paul is explaining that when Psalm 2:7 said “today I have begotten,” it was prophesying of the day God would raise Messiah from the dead.
This Messiah came to save the world…and save the world He did! Because of Him, a human being dying today is born again – that is, born to a new life which is after this one, will exist in heaven, and will last forever.
Between now and the time of our death, we are living in the earth which is subject to the judgments of God. Christ puts us on the path of the righteous which leads away from judgment and toward blessing.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, show me how to take steps on the path of the righteous today…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)