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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Scripture Reading: John 3:16–21
“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. 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. 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. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 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)

You’ve seen the large signs often lifted up by fans in sports arenas, the signs that say “John 3:16.” Do those in our secular age who don’t know about the Bible wonder, “Who’s John?” I question the effectiveness of seeking to draw people into faith through such signs. I also get turned off by those who wave this verse around, guessing that they are promoting an exclusive way towards salvation.

Yet if one were to choose a single biblical text to capture the Christian message, John 3:16 is an excellent choice. It proclaims that God loves the world. God loves the world so much that God became one of us, the Word made flesh, to live and dwell with us, to give his life for us, to show us God’s saving love. God loves the world so much that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will not perish. God loves us so much that we will have eternal life. Such good news!

What news could be better? Fear of abandonment and death, pain over rejection, anxiety that our Creator or the universe is hostile, confusion over not knowing the way to life abundant—all these are dispelled by this good news.

Yet the familiarity of this message may have diminished its liberating power and comforting assurance. So I encourage you to meditate on this good news and what it means for you and for our world. Spend a moment reflecting on each of these phrases: God loves the world. God gave the world God’s only Son. Everyone who believes in Christ will not perish. We have the gift of eternal life.

Loving God, open me to receive and embody the good news of your love, for me and for the world. Move me to dance in your grace. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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