For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
This verse is usually shared or preached as a kind and gentle offer of salvation. But read the entire account in context.
These words were spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus, a the leaders of the Jewish religion. Nicodemus came to Jesus in the cool of the night and the cover of darkness to question the motives and mission of this new Teacher.
The first words recorded of Jesus in the encounter are the famous: unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). These words were ridiculous and offensive to Nicodemus who snorted back, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? (John 3:4).
Christ’s offensive words mounted until He demanded: Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? (John 3:10).
Don’t stop at John 3:16 … keep reading and you’ll see Jesus gets more offensive. His words are offensive to all who think their lives and deeds apart from Christ are good. Of these Jesus said they hate Him (John 3:20) because they love the darkness of sin (John 3:19) and their deeds are evil (John 3:19).
John 3:16 is comfort to the soul of the redeemed, but to the unsaved it will be as offensive as it was to Nicodemus.
The gospel of Jesus is the aroma of death to those perishing (2 Corinthians 2:16), but the aroma of life to the saved (2 Corinthians 2:15). If your message isn’t offensive to the pagan, you may just be what Paul called a peddler of the Word of God (2 Corinthians 2:17).