Monday, February 16, 2015

John 3:16 in a way I never thought of before

So, I've been doing my new way of Bible journaling and I've been going through the book of John since that's what we're talking about right now at my church. Last week I was in John 3 and was floored at how, though I've known John 3:16 for most of my life, I had never considered the context it was in. Jesus is talking to Nicodemus here and when he had told Nicodemus that he must be born again, and Nicodemus questioned it, wondering how this could be, Jesus answered with this:

 For only I, the Messiah, have come to earth and will return to heaven again. And as Moses in the wilderness lifted up the bronze image of a serpent on a pole, even so I must be lifted up upon a pole,  so that anyone who believes in me will have eternal life.  For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
 “There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don’t trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God.  Their sentence is based on this fact: that the Light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the Light, for their deeds were evil. They hated the heavenly Light because they wanted to sin in the darkness. They stayed away from that Light for fear their sins would be exposed and they would be punished. But those doing right come gladly to the Light to let everyone see that they are doing what God wants them to.”

We miss that Jesus is saying this. He sees the desperation of mankind firsthand, because he is here walking among us. He sees the things we keep in darkness, rotting away our souls because they do not see light. Here he recognizes not only His purpose and mission, but pauses to comment on the love His father has not only for him, but for us. In the midst of commenting on the darkness in us, Jesus speaks of God's immeasurable love for us - that he would do everything necessary to buy us back. There is no ransom He will not pay to get us out of darkness.

For God so loved this mess, He gave everything for her.

Jesus says here: He sent me to buy you back.

I wish we did a better job communicating this to the world. That it's not about following rules or being good or getting things right. It's about being prisoner to our own darkness, and someone coming who can set us free. All because of love. Not obligation or duty or to drag us around as a slave afterward. He simply loves us that much, and wants us free from darkness.

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