The winter was harsh, and people were scrambling back home as fast as their legs could carry them, eager to return to the comfort and warmth of their own homes. As snow started to fall slowly and the air turn icy-cold, people gradually left the streets for the cozy warmth of their firesides until the streets became almost deserted without a single soul in sight.
Amidst the quietness of the now heavily snowing outdoors, a little boy stood at a miserable corner of the street, selling newspapers to any good soul who may be willing to make a purchase and spare the boy some income for a living. As time passed, the boy felt the icy-cold air piercing deeper into his body until he could no longer take it anymore.
He looked around and spotted a heavily-clad policeman patrolling the cold streets as part of his duty. He walked up to the policeman and said, “Sir, you wouldn’t happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight, would you?” His voice quivered under the chilliness of the winter wind. “You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley, and it’s awfully cold in there for tonight. It sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay,” the little boy continued.
The policeman looked down at the little boy with eyes full of pity and compassion. How could he allow such a little boy to stay in the chilly outdoors in the middle of a harsh winter? He thought to himself for a while and then replied, “You go down the street to that old house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door, you just say ‘John 3:16,’ and they will let you in.”
And so the boy did as he was told. He mustered all the strength that he had left in him, walked down the street and came to the entrance of the house. He walked up the steps and knocked on the door, and an elderly lady answered. He looked up at the lady and said, “John 3:16.” The lady then said, “Come on in, son.”
She welcomed the little boy into her house and brought him to her living room, where she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace. With a sweet smile on her face, she went off. The boy sat there for a while and thought to himself, “John 3:16…I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm.”
The old lady came back after a while and with a sweet, motherly voice, asked him, “Are you hungry?” The boy looked at her for a while in surprise, then he answered, “Well, just a little. I haven’t eaten in a couple of days, and I guess I could stand a little bit of food.” The lady smiled in return and brought him into the kitchen, where she sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. Surprised at the amount of food laid before him, he ate and ate until he could not eat anymore. Then he thought to himself, “John 3:16...I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a hungry boy full.”
After he had eaten to his satisfaction, the old lady took him upstairs to a bathroom, where there was a huge bathtub filled with warm water. The old lady left him with the same sweet smile on her face. He got into the bathtub, sat there and soaked himself for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself, “John 3:16…I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know, I’ve not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.”
The lady returned after a while and dressed him up with fresh new clothes. She then led him to a large, comfortable room, tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night, he thought to himself, “John 3:16…I really don’t understand it, but it sure makes a tired boy rested.”
The next morning, the lady came back up and took him down again to the same big table full of food the night before. There, on that same table, lots of food was laid out before him again. After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.
She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face. “Do you understand John 3:16?” she asked gently. He replied timidly, “No, Ma’am, I don’t. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it.” She opened the Bible and turned to John 3:16, then she began to explain to him about Jesus. Right there, in front of that big old fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there and thought, “John 3:16…don’t understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.”
You know, even many of us today don’t understand it either, how God was willing to send His only Son to die for us, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing. Many of us don’t understand the agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched Jesus suffer and die. Many of us don’t understand the intense love for all of us that kept Jesus on the cross till the end. Many of us don’t understand, but it sure does make life worth living.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”