Whoever is such a generic term. It is a pronoun emphasizing “who”. I was surprised when I looked up the definition to see that this pronoun, whoever is typically used expressing surprise or confusion.
Let’s think about that in relation to a Scripture verse that we, Christians know well.
For God so love the world that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have ever lasting life.
This powerful verse has spoken to the hearts of many for generations.
The Powerful Message of Whoever
For some of us, the whoever hits us a bit harder than surprise or confusion, but more in the realm of stunning. In last week’s blog post, Our Testimony Truly Has Power To Impact Lives, I told my “pre-Jesus” testimony. Pre-Jesus I lived excessively rebellious and with no concern for Jesus and anything good and true.
So when Jesus started drawing me to Himself when I was 30 years old, I was unable to grasp that His offer of salvation and eternal life could ever be to someone like me. I knew I was not good enough. It was so hard to fathom that Jesus came for whoever. No stipulations. He simply wanted to give everlasting life to whoever.
You see Jesus doesn’t categorize like we do. One of His character traits seen all through His life was that Jesus was no respecter of persons. Peter even said as much in Acts 10:34.
Then Peter began to speak:
“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.”
Acts 10:34 (NIV)
The idea that Jesus came to offer the gift of God, eternal life, to “whoever” is threaded through the fabric of John’s gospel. John captured the essence of Jesus’ heart for “whoever” in his gospel, more than in the words, but in His actions.
Who Was Jesus Talking To When He Spoke John 3:16?
When John spoke the words in John 3:16, He was in a conversation with a man named, Nicodemus. Nicodemus, a highly educated Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews, scholars categorized him as the religious elite. The religious community esteemed him which probably offered him a degree of respect outside of his religious circles as well. We might think that Nicodemus “had it all together.” Of course, Jesus offered him the gift of eternal life. Nicodemus was the kind of man we expect Jesus to extend His offer to.
However, the next story in John shows Jesus offering the gift of God, a drink of living water to another whoever. This whoever was a woman who had everything going against her.
- In Jesus day, women ranked as second-rate citizens, so obviously not highly esteemed.
- This woman was a Samaritan. Samaritans were hated by the Jews and avoided them at all costs because they believed Samaritans to be unclean. Thus contact with them tainted their ceremoniously clean status.
- Her reputation reflected to her and everyone else her true status of ‘not good enough”. This woman had so many husbands she probably thought “who’s counting.” Yet Jesus offered her His gift that would spring up into everlasting life, the same gift He offered the well-respected religious leader, Nicodemus.
Jesus Does Not Show Favoritism
Let’s not stop there.
The very next story at the end of John 4, a nobleman comes to Jesus. He, like Nicodemus, would have been highly esteemed and respected in his community based on the fact that he was a nobleman. This noble man asked Jesus to heal his sick son. Jesus healed his son.
In the following chapter, Jesus went to a man who had been lame for 38 years. John 5:3 tells that he lay among a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed. Gerald L. Bochert in The New American Commentary of John 1-11 stated that Jesus went “where the helpless dregs of society lay in a pathetic state. Most ‘proper’ people probably avoided places where they had to pass among the sick and suffering because it was an uncomfortable setting and because of the potential for violation of ritual purity rules.”
But not Jesus – He shows no favoritism or partiality.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek,
for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”
Acts 10:34 (NKJV)
The Lord does not hold out for those who have it all together. He came for those with the messiest lives as well, offering the gift of God to whoever. I love that about Jesus! If He only extended His offer to “whoever has it together,” I would have been left out!
The truth is,
We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags. . .
Whichever category you fall into, Jesus came for you because He is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t matter how good or how bad you lived. Jesus offers eternal life to all. We all have reason to be thankful for the gift of eternal life.
If you haven’t ever said, Yes Lord! to Jesus, His offer is to you! There is no better time to begin your journey with Jesus than today. Your journey can begin today. All it takes to receive eternal life, is to say, “Yes Lord” and just start daily walking with Him.