John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but one more powerful than I am is coming – I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
[Luke 3:16 NET]
This verse is a little Bible in itself, for it contains the whole gospel. It shows us the source of man’s redemption — God’s love. It shows us the measure of this divine love — God gave His only begotten Son. It shows us how the redemption was accomplished — by the sacrifice of Christ. It tells us how to be saved — by believing on the Son of God. It tells us who will be saved — whosoever believeth on Christ. It shows us what the salvation is — deliverance from perishing, and the gift of eternal life.
Any one who truly believes that God loves him is saved; the consciousness of this blessed truth is life in the soul. A story is told of a child in Luther’s time who thought of God only with dread, as of a terrible Judge. In her stern home God had been held before her only in this way, to terrify her. She had never heard a word about God’s gentleness or affection. But one day in her father’s printing office she picked up a scrap of paper and found on it just the first part of this verse, “God so loved the world that he gave” the remaining words were torn of, but even this mere fragment was a revelation to her. God loved — “loved the world” , loved it well enough to give something. What He gave she did not know, but it was enough for her to know that God loved at all, and that He loved the world enough to give anything to it. The new thought changed all her conception of God. She learned from this time to think of Him as one who loved her, and this thought brought sweet comfort to her.
We have the whole verse, and we know that God is love; we know just what His love gave — the most costly and most valuable gift in all the universe; and this revelation should fill us with unutterable joy.