This morning we read the second half of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus.
“11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “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.
17 “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. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” NRSV
John 3:16 may be the most succinct statement about who Jesus is in all the Bible. We will let it stand in its own accord.
There are two other key elements in these eleven verses. Thei first focuses on who Jesus came to save. Jesus came to save the world! Not just Americans, or people who speak English as their native tongue, or just white people, or just straight people, or just people who salute a particular political position. Jesus came to save the world. Those individuals who do not get this fall into the category of the second key element in this passage.
“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” People who fail to recognize the full extent of God’s all-inclusive love and redemption through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus love living in darkness.
To focus on John 3:16, out of its context, is to love darkness rather than the light.
Be the light of Christ wherever you are, and you will be a blessing!