For God so Loved the World?


Full Text

The text was John 3:1-21 which includes John 3:16. The scene set up is Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night and a conversation happens. Nicodemus drops out of the conversation exasperated. And then it turns into a one sided conversation.

This sermon reads that one sided conversation of Jesus as starting out with a barbed question that He can’t believe Nicodemus doesn’t know these things, goes through the question How can you understand heavenly things, and ends with a realization that the only way to believe is through the cross. It reads Jesus’ words as a record of Jesus’ own self understanding. According to His human nature, we know that Jesus grew. Luke puts its that He grew in wisdom, stature and favor. Did that growth stop?

The story immediately before Nicodemus is Jesus clearing the temple. A righteous and good act, but one that could easily be placed in with the OT acts of the Snakes in the desert that Jesus refers to in this text, or the call for the sacrifice of Isaac which is recalled in any giving of an only son, or the summary of the 10 commandments. Is that was God sent his son into the word for? To add one more judgement or law or method of death and condemnation?

Jesus comes to the conclusion in an emphatic no, not judgement but salvation, not enthonement but being lifted up. He comes to this conclusion based on his knowledge of who the Father is – for God so loved the world. Before the cross, that Loving Father might not have been so evident, or it had to be taken even more on faith. Faith that Hebrews ascribes to Abraham at that very sacrifice. The cross stands as the witness to just how much God loved this world.

Becuase of that cross we are no longer in the dark. We can walk in the light. Just believe the testimony of the one and only Son – God loves his creation this much. We can refuse and bring judgement upon our selves. That is the choice of the cross. Believe the testimony, or don’t. Our reaction doesn’t change the facts or the reality. Our reaction only moves us into the light, or confirms the darkness of our souls.