God So Loved the World

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

John Stainer became one of England’s most influential musicians in the nineteenth century as organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (and professor of music at Oxford University). Born in 1840, he used his prominence to enrich the life of his nation, writing music that could be played and sung by musicians and singers at all skill levels, amateur or professional.

He also wrote the book, The Music of the Bible, as a teaching tool and source of encouragement for Biblically-based music and worship.

Stainer achieved his greatest public success in 1887 with a work focusing on the death of Jesus, called “The Crucifixion.” (The words had been compiled by W.J. Sparrow-Simpson, the son of a colleague at St. Paul’s.)

Much of this work directly set Bible passages to music, but it also included hymns to be sung by congregations (to encourage participation). Although condemned by some critics for being simplistic and too emotional, the work became an instant success with the public. And not just for musical reasons. For Stainer had reminded listeners of the life and death of Jesus in ways that few could forget.

While the work in total provides an unforgettable and profound depiction of Jesus’ life and death, the most impact was generated by the chorale, “God So Loved the World.” Here Stainer simply set the words of Jesus (from John 3:16) to music. In this form, it has been sung throughout the world, with the stirring message of God’s redemptive love. Of His plan of salvation.

Think about this message in your life. Jesus came to this earth, just for you. And He died just for you. He demonstrated just how much He loves the whole world. How much He loves you.