For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Rollen Fredrick Stewart might not be a name you recognize, but if you’re old enough to have spent time watching sports in the 70’s or 80’s you’ll probably remember something he did. Back in those days he was known as the “Rainbow Man” or “Rock’n Rollen” and was famous for standing up at football games (and other sporting events) wearing a rainbow wig and holding up a sign that said JOHN 3:16. And that’s all it said! Just JOHN 3:16. It didn’t spell out the verse. It didn’t explain what it meant. It just assumed people would know that this was a verse from the Bible and would have had some idea what it meant.
This, Rollen said, was his way of “getting the message out that Jesus saves.” How effective was what he did? Probably not very. Though God is sovereign and can use many different things to bring people to himself, there was a major flaw in Rollen’s approach. He assumed people knew more than they do. Simply throwing up the words ‘JOHN 3:16′ without giving the content of the verse or making any attempt to explain what it means likely had little effect. Throwing verses at people is not the same as sharing the Good News with them in love!
There’s a sad epilogue to this story. Rollen Stewart’s life began to spin out of control in the late 80’s and 90’s. He was divorced three times, arrested on several occasions for bazaar behavior, and eventually became homeless. He is currently serving three life sentences in prison on charges of kidnaping. My prayer is that, with time on his hands, Rollen may yet come to understand in a deep way the words to the verse he once held up to the world – that God, out of love for sinners, has sent His Son into this broken world to save broken people who turn and put their faith Him for what He has done! So pray for Rollen. And learn the Gospel for yourself so that you can share what it means with others.
May God give us a deep and growing faith in the finished work of Christ!
Pastor S. Scott Lee