Wednesday 02 July 2014

Bible Book:

“Jesus said, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.’” (vv. 16-17)

John 3:16-21 Wednesday 2 July 2014


As in yesterday's passage Jesus is continuingto speak to Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. Nicodemus is a Pharisee whohas come to Jesus at night-time so that his colleagues on theJewish governing council don't see him speaking with Jesus.Especially as they have just had a heated discussion with Jesusbecause he's upset everyone at the temple (John2:13-20).

Nicodemus recognises Jesus's authority by the miraculous signshe is performing. But as a Pharisee his most pressing need is tomake sure that he escapes God's judgement. The Pharisees preachedthe strictest interpretation of the law with their own rules andregulations, which were designed to ensure that no one could becondemned by accidentally breaking the law of God.

But Jesus presents a much simpler way of avoiding condemnation -Nicodemus must simply believe in him (verse 18). He has not come tojudge and condemn but to rescue.

Where then does judgement lie? It is not the judge who is toblame, but the people who choose to love darkness more than light.Those who do good do not mind being seen; only those who are up tono good wish to remain unseen. People condemn themselves by wilfulunbelief and bad behaviour. God, on the other hand, loves us.

John 3:16 is perhaps the most prevalent Bible reference you willsee. People wear it on t-shirts and hold it up on placards atdemonstrations and football matches. Yet if it remains as a Biblereference and people never look it up, they remain none the wiser.And they are left to understand Christianity only by the impressionthey get from Christians … who are often quicker to condemn othersthan perhaps God is.

To Ponder

  • Over the next few days, every time you judge somebody for theiractions, ask yourself how God feels about them.
  • Basil Fawlty would have found his hotel, Fawlty Towers, mucheasier to run without the guests in it. How much does this apply tothe Church? And what does your answer tell you about your view ofjudgement?
  • Should the Church point out people's sin or point out God'slove? Either way how do you think it's doing?
  • How many different helpful phrases can you think of whichcontain the word 'light'? Which, if any, give a new insight intoGod?
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