Monday, April 18, 2011

The Numbers of Hope

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish.", John 3:16.

Best selling Christian author Max Lucado wrote an entire book focussing on this single Bible verse. In 3:16 - The Numbers of Hope, Lucado approaches this verse that he refers to as the "Hope Diamond" of Bible verses. Actually this "book" was really a melange of two quite different book-lets. The first 100 pages contained Lucado's meandering, easy-going discussion of John 3:16. Nothing too deep, just enjoyable affirming reading. To bolster this short manuscript, he has sort of haphazardly appended a 40-day devotional focussing on various aspects of the life of Jesus from His birth through His death and ascension.

The discussion on John 3:16 is hardly a detailed exegesis. It is basically a folksy, lilt through a meadow. But, hearty fare is not what Lucado is all about for the most part. Actually I found the devotionals much more personal to me and the best part of this work. One of them really resonated with me and made me think. He entitled it "Two Thieves - Two Choices". When Jesus was dying on the cross, His cross was erected between those of two common thieves. Unlike Jesus, they were paying a just penalty for their crimes. Lucado brought out the point that the two thieves are very much like us. They have a decision to make. Two choices. One choice is to embrace Jesus and meet with Him in paradise upon death. A second choice is to mock him and reject him and live apart from him in Hell upon death. The two crosses on the hill next to Jesus symbolize His greatest gift to us. The gift of choice.