17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:16 is one of the most well-known verses in the New Testament. I have seen it on billboards and on banners at sports events. I always wonder if the people who post it, or the people who read it, actually take the promise to heart or even know what it means!
Jesus came so that the world would be saved through his sacrifice on the cross. This passage follows one of Jesus speaking with Nicodemus, a Pharisee who came to Jesus at night because he was afraid to be seen by the other Pharisees, and telling him that he must be lifted up just at Moses lifted up the bronze serpent so that those who looked at him would receive eternal life.
What do we feel when we read this passage? Do we know it so well, that we take it for granted? Does it inspire us to think of Jesus’ saving act and turn our minds to prayers of gratitude? How deep is our belief? What are we willing to do in order to have eternal life?
Nicodemus went to Jesus in the night out of fear. Are we willing to witness our faith in the light, or do we hide it from others out of fears of our own?
Jesus only asks that we believe, and live our lives according to that belief. In the end, Nicodemus showed that he was one of Jesus’ disciples by bringing myrrh and aloes for Jesus’ burial. We have looked upon him lifted up on the cross.
How can we come into the light to show that we too choose eternal life?
Loving Father, you want all your children to be saved and so you sent your only Son, Jesus, into the world to accomplish this. May we never take this gift for granted. Amen.